Yoga has long been considered an extremely beneficial practice to boost both physical and mental wellbeing. “The purpose of yoga is to build strength, awareness and harmony in both the mind and body” explains Natalie Nevins, a board-certified osteopathic family physician and certified Kundalini Yoga instructor in Hollywood, California. The practice has seen a surge in popularity among many adults and children. According to CNN, the practice of yoga rose from 3.1% of the overall child population in 2012 to 8.4% in 2017 and from 9.5% to 14.3% in adults in the USA, equating to about 4.9 million children and 35.2 million adults doing yoga in 2017.
While there are more than 100 different types, or schools, of yoga, most sessions typically include breathing exercises, meditation, and assuming postures (sometimes called asana or poses) that stretch and flex various muscle groups. “As an osteopathic physician, I focus a lot of my efforts on preventive medicine and practices, and in the body’s ability to heal itself” says Dr. Nevins. “Yoga is a great tool for staying healthy because it’s based on similar principles.”
“The relaxation techniques incorporated in yoga can lessen chronic pain, such as lower back pain, arthritis, headaches and carpal tunnel syndrome” explains Dr. Nevins. “Yoga can also lower blood pressure and reduce insomnia.”
Other physical benefits of yoga include: increased flexibility, increased muscle strength and tone, improved respiration, energy and vitality, maintaining a balanced metabolism, weight reduction, cardio and circulatory health, improved athletic performance and protection from injury
Aside from the physical benefits, one of the best benefits of yoga is how it helps a person manage stress, which is known to have devastating effects on the body and mind. “Stress can reveal itself in many ways, including back or neck pain, sleeping problems, headaches, drug abuse, and an inability to concentrate” says Dr. Nevins. “Yoga can be very effective in developing coping skills and reaching a more positive outlook on life.”
Yoga’s incorporation of meditation and breathing can help improve a person’s mental well-being. “Regular yoga practice creates mental clarity and calmness; increases body awareness; relieves chronic stress patterns; relaxes the mind; centers attention; and sharpens concentration” says Dr. Nevins. Body- and self-awareness are particularly beneficial, she adds, “because they can help with early detection of physical problems and allow for early preventive action.”
Yoga usually involves paying attention to your breath, which can help you relax. It may also call for specific breathing techniques.
But yoga typically isn’t aerobic, like running or cycling, unless it’s an intense type of yoga or you’re doing it in a heated room. Yoga, just like any other sport or activity requires the right equipment and clothing to ensure the safest and easiest practice. You can get the best quality yoga accessories and clothing at Ana Heart: https://anaheart.co.uk/
To enhance the yoga experience, music is often incorporated into yoga session to heighten concentration and offer a more enjoyable session.
The benefits of yoga music vary, depending on the individual. Traditionalists don’t listen to music with their yoga practice. However, many other people are open to enhancing the connection between sound and movement. They want to explore how the combination affects the body, mind, and spirit.
Examining the Benefits of Yoga Music
For anyone who has eased into an asana to the strains of an Indian flute, it might be surprising to learn that classical yoga is not performed to a soundtrack. Traditional yogis still feel this way: yoga is a pathway to greater enlightenment. Consequently, one needs to listen to one’s inner voice, not to external influences.
As the practice evolved, many people were unaccustomed to complete silence. They had difficulty letting go and embracing such an intimate focus. Soft, instrumental music provided a bridge by which to introduce yoga to the Western world.
But, other ancient practices involving sound exist. For example, Shakti Yoga, a practice believed to be centuries old, uses chants and incorporates elements of Tantra Yoga to stimulate the chakras and prepare the senses for higher consciousness.
The general benefits of yoga music include: the ability to fully relax, improved balance and concentration and a foundation to help clear the mind of thought. It also helps revive the listener and aides them to move from one state to another as well as ahceiving a particular state of mind when using specific tones or waves.
The connection between music and yoga has become so prevalent that there are now many music festivals offering yoga experiences. Further still, music festivals dedicated to yoga have been gaining popularity all of the world.
You can listen to an extended playlist of yoga music below
Keep in mind that what may sound pleasant or relaxing to some might be grating noise to others. This is why the research of sound and its effects continues.
Various studies and applications exploring the benefits of yoga music, chants and other relaxing sounds have been conducted by Dr. Gunther Hildebrandt and Dr. Mia Olson who have studied biological rhythms in relation to music and our healing process as well as the principles of yoga with music practice to help students perform better. Dr. Alfred Tomatis developed the The Listening Program, a method that uses auditory stimulation to curb undesirable impulses, reduce the symptoms of disease, and promote relaxation.
How Various Instructors Use Yoga Music
For a yoga instructor, the music that accompanies a routine is a personal extension of his or her yoga philosophy.
Shiva Rea is deeply involved in the selection of yoga music in her routines and on her site. On her website, Rea shares that “the CDs are offerings from our heart”. One of her yoga specialties is yoga trance dance, and music plays an integral part of the routine. On the disc Yoga Trance Dance, Rea choose dynamic music by artists Ben Leinbach, Geoffrey Gordon, and Jai Uttal, among others.
Other Works of Interest
The topic of the benefits of yoga music and the impression of sound on the mind, body, and spirit is quite popular. You might be interested in what others have to say on the subject.
Ted Andrews shares his philosophy regarding the power of music in Sacred Sounds: Magic and Healing through Words and Music. This book focuses on various forms of vocalization, including chanting and song, and the direct effects to the body.
Dr. June Wieder examines the relationship between tonal vibrations and the spine in her work, Song of the Spine. She introduces a form of therapy called bone toning.