Yoga is an ancient tradition from India. It has the potential for profound mental and physical wellbeing. Hence its popularity across the world even after thousands of years. In this blog I would like to talk to you about the experience of practicing yoga without music.
The Benefits Of Yoga
- It strengthens and stretches the body
- It creates a mind and body connection which can lead to a peaceful state of mind
- It can be modified to suit all levels of practice
- It can be done almost anywhere and anytime
One of the things that determine the mood of a yoga class is the ambience and sound plays an important role in this. Many yoga teachers like to use music in their yoga classes. However, I prefer to teach without music.
The Benefits Of Practicing Yoga Without Music
1. It Helps To Establish Mind And Body Connection
The ancient yoga scripture, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali describes yoga as ‘the settling of the mind into stillness’. No doubt yoga can give us a healthy body but equally important, it gives us a healthy mind. It is an inward journey where the aim is to withdraw from the stimulations of the world around us and travel towards a peaceful state of mind. In the modern world we are bombarded by sights and sounds from everywhere and to then go and practice yoga with background noise might defeat the purpose of yoga.
2. It Helps Connect With Our Breath
Deep, steady breathing is one of the cornerstones of a yoga practice. This type of breathing keeps the mind and body in focus and steady. The breath should be slightly audible so that that sound of the breath can be an anchor point. It keeps the distractions of our busy minds at bay and hearing the breath reminds us to keep breathing steadily. The quality of our breath determines the quality of our thoughts and the state of our body. When we learn to control our breath though our yoga practice then even in our daily lives we can use the breath to control things like anxiety and stress. If there is music it may distract us from focusing on our breath.
3. We Can Hear The Instructions Of The Teacher
It is important that yoga is an inclusive endeavour. Some of us are visual people who can mirror demonstrations of the yoga teacher but many of us also need verbal guidance. Some of us also have better hearing than others. I can imagine that it is very annoying to be in a yoga class where we feel lost because we are clueless about what we are required to do and we leave feeling unfulfilled rather than at peace.
4. Music May Distract Us From Our Practice
The right kind of music, especially instrumental music can set the mood for yoga practice. However, the wrong kind of music could potentially have a detrimental effect. Rather than our practice we may be focusing on the words of the song and sometimes words can trigger unpleasant emotions, thoughts and memories. Needless to say loud music when we are looking for peace and quiet can also be annoying. Also, the teacher’s taste in music may not gel with the taste of the other people in the class and that may stop us from bonding with the other positive things the teacher has to offer.
5. Practicing in Silence Helps To Honour The Ancient Roots Of Yoga
Yoga started thousands of years ago in India when music as we know it was not a part of the practice. Yoga is also a way of life rather than just a form of physical exercise. It is good that yoga has evolved over the centuries and people all across the world can now benefit from it. However, it is important that yoga teachers appreciate and respect the heritage of yoga and avoid cultural appropriation and reduce yoga to a form of ‘fad’.
6. Practicing Without Music Can Challenge And Push Us
We grow when we push and challenge ourselves. For some of us it may be comforting to hide behind auditory stimulation like music in a yoga practice. In the silence of a yoga practice where all we can her is our breath, we may be challenged to confront our fears and limitations and then we have the choice to face them and move ahead thereby changing our mindset.
The Bottom Line
There is no right or wrong time to start yoga. It can be picked up at any stage of one’s life because it can be modified to suit all levels of experience. To feel the benefits of yoga we need to find the style of yoga that suits us. This can even mean trying out different styles of classes according to our energy levels and needs on a particular day. This blog does not wish to reject the use of music in yoga classes. As mentioned above the right kind of music can be beneficial.
Maybe you have not had the opportunity to practice yoga without music? Why not give it a go?
Maybe you did attend a class without music and did not like? Why not give it a second chance?
You may be missing out on an opportunity to create a deeper mind and body connection.
Variety is the spice of life.
By: Mona Thomas