Stepping into any yoga class, it’s common to include some music into your yoga practice. Music combined with yoga practices can help the mind to find stillness, and help you get into the mood to get on the mat. It can be hard to take your mind away from your busy life for an hour, and music can help with that transition into a more mindful state.
Music can affect the whole brain, and help it relax, in a similar way that meditation does. It can help the mind slip into a state where happiness and stillness is created. Music can help you to get into the groove of your yoga practice, and link your mind, breath, and body to a beat.
The benefits of a regular yoga practice are great for your body, including increased strength, flexibility and circulation - and there’s also great benefits for your mind including lower stress levels and increased focus. A good music playlist to your yoga practice can help you reap these benefits even more.
Here are the ways in which music can help your yoga practice.
Both practicing yoga and listening to music are actually very similar activities. They can both improve your wellbeing and make you feel positive. And much like yoga has psychological benefits, studies have found that music does too. Music has been shown to decrease anxiety and lower levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, in the body - sometimes in higher levels than taking anti-anxiety medication.
Listening to music can also allow you to enter a ‘flow state’ which is a state of consciousness that allows you to feel and perform your best. When your brain is in a flow state, it moves into a borderline state between alpha waves - which you might recognize as being associated with daydreaming and REM sleep. In short, this means that your brain switches off for a while from firing off beta brainwaves, and temporarily deactivates the prefrontal cortex, letting you lose yourself to the moment. This is an ideal state of mind to be in while you practice yoga, being fully mindful of what your body is doing with zero distractions.
Music can also help to set our mood for a yoga practice. Music actually influences and can change our emotional state when we listen to it. For example, listening to an upbeat song with a faster rhythm may inspire you to move faster as you connect with it.
Listening to music can actually help you take in more oxygen. This is because our bodies naturally connect with the rhythm, and we breathe in time with the beat. This can help you find more energy in your yoga practice, and stimulate your mind and set your mood. Studies have even shown that listening to music can help release dopamine - also known as the happy hormone!
Music can settle your nervous system also, which can help your body to relax, as well as reduce anxiety. This can in turn help your body to produce chemicals like dopamine and serotonin, leaving your calm and content, and connected with your body - the perfect state of mind for a yoga class. Music also helps lower the stress levels in the body, such as lowering your heart and respiratory rate, blood pressure, and levels of cortisol.
Music also helps support our health, which may be why you’re hitting the yoga matt in the first place. Music can help to boost cell growth and immunity. Additionally, because music helps to combat stress, our body is left with better digestion, circulation, respiration and more energy!
Music can also be the building blocks to connections, both between the mind and body, and with other people. Since the dawn of time, humans have had a relationship with music and rhythm. Music is seen as an expression and a way to connect across the globe. In a yoga class, music helps us to clear our minds and helps us be more present both with ourselves and with each other.
By Amy Cavill
Convinced? Try one of these new classes from the YogaDownload Electronic Music Series!
Copasetic Flow with Ali Dunacan w/ music by Sahale
Get into the Flow with Keith Allen w/ music by Sahale
Superflow 2.0 with Ben Davis w/ music by AnjunaDeep
Flow & Let Go with Kylie Larson w/ music by AnjunaDeep
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