Why Live Music Can Deepen Your Yoga Practice

Written by Angelica Olstad

As a musician, I've always been fascinated with the similarities of mind-body connection between practicing yoga and playing an instrument. I first started yoga as a college student pursuing a performance degree to help with performance anxiety, stress, and bodily aches.

It wasn't until many years later that I realized music could also have a profound and positive impact on my yoga practice. Live music in yoga classes has become a popular trend in classes, festivals, and events. As a musician and a yogi I fully support this new direction. Here's a couple of reasons why music in yoga classes can be wholly awesome.

1. Abandon abrupt changes. 

Sequences don't always go the way yoga teachers want them to. Sometimes you'll have to make on-the-spot modifications for a class, or you'll want to stop and explain a pose in greater detail. Working with a live musician creates flexibility in timing and accommodation for on-the-fly changes.

2. Set the mood. 

As a musician, being flexible and learning to adapt to your surroundings is very important. Similar to accompanying dance classes, music can help lift students through difficult sequences with upbeat music or create a restorative vibe with calm music. A sensitive musician can truly make a difference in creating the perfect atmosphere for a class.

3. Support the arts. 

The more live music is used in yoga classes, the more opportunities there are for musicians to perform and make a living.

4. Get deep. 

Listening to a live musician increases sensitivity to the music. Nowadays, recorded music is produced and perfected through technology that desensitizes listeners to the human imperfections that make live performances special. Like yogis, musicians practice for years to be able to play well and comfortably. Having a daily practice means riding the ups and downs of being "imperfect" and learning to accept ourselves for where we are and what we're working toward. Listening to live music is a great reminder of this practice.

5. Have a healthy weekend alternative. 

Instead of going out to see a show, spending tons of cash, and feeling super dehydrated the next day, live music yoga classes are a great opportunity to meet new people, feel rejuvenated and inspired. It can be a nice change-up from the usual beer and shot special at the local dive.

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