When I started practicing, there was no music in the studio. Ashtanga, in general, is practiced in silence. You follow the sound of your own (or your neighbour’s) pranayama. A few vinyasa teachers would put in their favourite CD, hit play and teach the class. Certain songs by Dum Dum Project still make me cringe.
I have to admit, one teacher’s habit of playing Madonna’s entire album, Ray of Light, did help me learn the opening chant for my traditional Ashtanga practice. It took about a year to get the pop music arrangement out of my head.
The on-going debate about music or no music is still pretty strong in the world of yoga. Some say it’s distracting, others can hardly practice without it. Many teachers are proud of their playlists. To be known for “good music” makes yoga teachers happy.
I recently read a study about the prevalence of ADD/ADHD amoung adults in urban areas. The study detailed how many people today need white noise in order to focus and concentrate on any task at hand. By white noise I’m not referring to the mathematical definition but sort of a focused noise pollution. Like the sound of the television as you drift off to sleep.
As an Ashtangi, I’ve come to terms with playing music in my classes. Students like it. And, I spend hours making sure the music I choose enhances the yogic experience.
Some love it, some hate it. Whether it’s Massive Attack, Nirvana, Deva Premal, Snatam Kaur or the sounds of traffic outside, doesn’t matter. Your pranayama, that strong and steady breath, guides the moving meditation in your practice.
Ultimately, the music comes from within.
This remix by Pogo, is a fun white noise. For something even more fun, click here.