With springtime in full bloom and summer plans bursting to be experienced, I am finding myself recently with the car windows down, jamming out to my favorite tunes. You know the ones, the tunes that get you singing at the top of your lungs, the cure to turn any mood blues into the Moody Blues of dancing feet and swaying hips. Music is fun. It is exhilarating and very healing.
Sound is one of the first senses developed in utero. We are social beings very attuned to sound. Adding music into our yoga practice provides a healing experience, and it adds a level of novelty that nourishes our bodies and our brains. Novelty is the key to healthy growth, joy, and a sense of purpose in our lives.
Next time you find yourself on the yoga mat tune into these fun, empowering, and calming tunes and maybe add a little sway to your down dog, a little vibe in your warrior, some happy feet to your inversion practice, or a little slow down chill to your busy day.
Here are some tunes that will take your practice up an exhilarating novel notch or two:
~ Glory by Common and John Legend from the Motion Picture Selma
I love this tune. It is fun and empowering with elements and notes of jazz, spoken word, and hip hop. And, we get a sense of historical appreciation of where we have evolved from a society fighting for civil rights reminding us of Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks, those figures in our history that speak the values that guide us through our practice – love, presence, and peace. Peace out, shake out, and bliss out to this tune in your next Warrior II pose. Feel your power, the power of justice, equal opportunity, and universal love.
~ Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson (clean/radio version due to a couple of expletive words, try Kidz Bop Version, it is great, I promise!)
Get your Sun Salutation A and B on with this high beat funky monkey down dog bottom vibing tune. When listening to this tune you can go through 10 rounds of Sun A and B and probably will not even notice how exhausting that warm-up might be because you are jamming out to “I said uptown funk you up…Beyetown funk it up…”. It is hip swaying awesome.
~ If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out by Cat Stevens
This is an oldy, but goody. Listening to this song can ignite some great empowerment that we felt in our teenage years that “we can be anything we want” and often forget that message as we venture into adulthood. Try this tune out while doing some core work. You will give your body the double benefit of rinsing out stuck and heavy emotions that tend to get built up in our core area, especially our gut (think of all the gut wrenching emotional feelings you’ve ever felt). Plug this tune in and get to work on some elbow to knee ab work, or some plank alternating with side plank for several breaths each time. You will cleanse out the negative baggage in the body, mind, and heart, “And if you want to be free, be free, Cause there’s a million things to be…”, and you just might find yourself setting some new intentions on those less traversed paths where your dreams and goals are, just a few mindful breaths (and killer rinsing ab work) away.
And of course, we need a couple of slower tunes for those days that we just need to slow down in our practice and listen to the inner voice a little more. Here a couple of picks for you.
~ Strip Me by Gavin Mikhail
I love to play this tune in the beginning of my practice or class. It helps me get centered on those days where I feel people and the environment around me are trying desperately to pull me away from my authentic self. I pair this song with gentle seated warm-up twists. We get the added benefit of waking up the feelings in the gut, breathing out some stuck and stale emotions, we give our digestive system a boost in tandem with our deep breath (think gentle organ massage), and the music is soothing and empowering at the same time. The song is all about staying true to who you are no matter what life brings you.
~ Floating Sweetness by DJ Drez
When you are all done with your Sun A down dog sways, getting your community warrior love on, and releasing unwanted baggage, it is time to slow down and reconnect to the floating sweetness of what your practice delivers to you each and every time – calm, focus, and balance. This song will have you shimmering your light in savasana with smiles on the inside and out. Enjoy the sweet bliss. And this is a good one to tune into any time we need to “take 5” from the stress and chaos of our lives. Listen to it and take some deep ujayii (ocean breath) breaths. It is instant calm, focus, and balance that we can keep plugging into on those “take 5” breaks throughout the day.
Get your playlist together, roll your mat out and tune into these awesome tunes and tune out the static that can suffocate your bliss!
Om Shanti Om ~ Athea