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Breathing to the Beat

Why (and how) music matters to yoga.

By Yoga Team Members at SunWater Spa in Manitou Springs, CO

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Back in the day, yoga purists practiced in silence. Flash forward to 2018, and rare is the class that doesn’t feature a playlist of specially curated music, from gongs and drums to classical, pop and rap downloads created specifically for yoga.

According to a study in the journal of Sports Medicine Open, listening to music increases the likelihood of sticking with your exercise program by 70 percent. The music industry has taken notice with two dozen albums inspired by bhakti yoga included on the first 58th Grammy’s Ballot list. Even the pop group Maroon 5, led by the yoga-loving Adam Levine, has created a playlist.

Both yoga and music are known for their ability to de-stress and make us feel better about ourselves. Recent studies have also shown that music can allow a person to enter a “flow state,” which, according to renowned psychologist and author Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, is an “optimal state of consciousness where we feel our best and perform our best.”

At SunWater Spa in Manitou Springs, Colorado, we offer a range of yoga classes from Sivananda (traditional hatha yoga) to aqua (yoga in the pool), restorative (relaxing and gentle), and yin (a passive practice, involves variations of seated and supine poses), as well as Kundalini workshops (spiritual and physical with mantras, movement, dynamic breathing techniques and meditation).

See also The Joy of Yoga.

A number of our teachers use music to enhance their classes, oftentimes sourcing from Pandora stations. Click on links below to some of our favorite playlists and music sources.

No matter what direction your yoga practice takes, try a bit of music to enhance the experience. It might get you through the longer poses and provide a deeper satisfaction with the process.

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  1. One of the main triggers to reach a flow state is your breath. A breath practice will allow you to reach full concentration, helping you to enter the flow state. C Wilson Meloncelli channel offers a breathing in flow program which can help you to hack flow state. The Breathing In Flow course is a step-by-step program containing a set of meditations and physical exercises to help you tune into your subconscious and get into the flow state.