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You know what they say: Practice what you teach, teach what you practice. This applies to the music I choose for my classes as well.
BY MAGAZINE COLUMNIST EMMANUELLE LAMBERT
Saying I love music is hardly news material. After more than a year (!) of writing about it and its multidimensional nature, this should come as no surprise to you. Hopefully.
I have already written about how I love going to yoga classes and flowing to a brilliantly thought out playlist supporting the whole practice.
But guess what? Only recently have I started to create my own playlists for my own classes.
Before going even further, let me remind you that I am a very humble burgeoning yoga teacher. I mean, I got certified last July, for guru’s sake. This is a teeny tiny period of time to be teaching, and I am by no means claiming to be an expert on what works or doesn’t work as far is music in yoga classes in concerned. In short: all views expressed are my own, etcetera, etcetera.
The right song cracks me open
Let’s get back for a while to the Practitioner Me point of view. Yes, I love music in yoga classes. That said, it can either enhance your practice or ruin it. If you play me the same old record of so-called “yoga music”, good chances are that I’ll grit my teeth the whole class. I love me some yoga music stuff, guilty as charged. But I am demanding, I want high quality, and not all class long thank you very much.
The best yoga classes I have ever taken were supported by a great list (ok ok, I know, all yoga classes are the best classes I have ever taken – could we please get real?) The one time I broke down in savasana? That was because it was accompanied with the Beatles’ Let It Be. Cracked open, that’s what I was. Of course, let it be! *Cue George Clooney* What else?
Music ill-considered flattens my yoga cake
Coming back to Holy-Cow-I-am-a-Yoga-Teacher Me. Before I got certified, I cover-taught a certain amount of classes. If you don’t know me by now people I teach primarily Vinyasa Flow Yoga, a household style in the US, a virtually unknown, eyebrow-raising style over here in Brussels, Belgium.
So at first I figured no music. People are not used to having music in classes, they are not used to the flowing vinyasaing thing, they will not be my regular students, music would only unsettle them. I am not even mentioning how long it took me at first to prepare one class. I will be brutally honest here: adding music on top of sequencing, and, you know, being stressed out beyond measure, would have been an elephant on my yoga cake.
No music, except in savasana, this I could handle.
Teaching as a real person
Then last month I started teaching my own classes, and ran a beginners course throughout September. The way I worked with my (wonderful) students left little to no room for music. Except, again, in savasana. Some, ahem, yoga music, the kind of yoga music I use for myself and love.
Now I teach open classes, and surprise surprise, I teach with music on. From the first open class, I’ve had play lists ready. And being the type A I am, the next ones are ready too.
What made me take the plunge finally? I figured I was ready. I was ready to share more about who I am as a person therefore as a teacher. I figured I could control the music, not let it control the class. I figured that was another layer I could add to what I offered already.
You know what they say: Practice what you teach, teach what you practice. This applies to the music I choose for my classes as well. That’s what I do when I add what is now the cherry on the cake.
Om, listen and love
So what do I play during classes? I play what I would love to hear if I took that yoga class, I play what rocks my socks off even when I don’t take a yoga class, I play stuff you can already find on my mp3 player or in my CD collection, I play stuff that I listen to and love.
I have actually rediscovered a few things I had forgotten were there, and it’s no pressure, only fun. You can bet there’s some British indie rock band in there, as well as some US folk singer and Icelandic weird band. At some point, there might even be some crazy hip hop stuff coming up. And yoga / new agey music, if I want to.
I am not saying every thing will work. Lately I’ve been listening to L7’s album Bricks are heavy, but that doesn’t mean I would have Shitlist on a yoga class playlist. Although, come to think of it, that might be fun.
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© 2011, The Magazine of Yoga, LLC.