designed to calm the nervous system and to
pacify the often overstimulated vata (air)
and pitta (fire) elements of our constitution.
Another might be to experiment with periods of silence – no music. Then students can
have an opportunity to tap into the sound
and rhythm of their own breath, unsupported by outside stimuli. Just like the pause
between the breaths, the spaces between
sounds give us a moment to more deeply feel
the effects of the vibrational shifts taking
place within us.
It is also important to consider the lyrics of
our musical selections. Words, like thoughts,
like harmonies and melodies, are vibrations
that can deeply affect us. When combined
with music, words and the energy they carry
can resonate even more deeply.
Finally, just as Vinyasa Krama – the intentional sequencing of postures – is concerned
with the cumulative effect of postural sequences over time; music affects us in the
same way. Even though a musical selection
might seem right with a particular posture
or sequence in isolation, consider the over-
all arc and cumulative effect of the entire
While this may already feel like too much
to think about, don’t worry. Yoga teachers
are almost by definition striving to be more
intuitive, more connected, and more subtly
aware. Many of these musical elements can
be intuitively felt. Just being aware of the
mystery of music and the alchemy between
postures and sound is a huge first step.
Try practicing to the playlist you intend to
use in the classroom and observe what happens. By paying closer attention to the effect
of each musical choice on the mind, the emotions, and the nervous system, teachers and
practitioners alike will learn which music enhances and which music takes away from the
journey of their practice.
Although additional training in the skillful
application of music can’t hurt, I ultimately
believe it is through more conscious execution, rather than simply through musical expertise, that most yogis will achieve harmony with and the desired balance between the
two sacred alchemies of music and Yoga.
Frank Fitzpatrick has successfully combined his experience as a film composer, music producer, and certified Yoga instructor to found Earth Tones, a nonprofit arts
organization committed to raising social consciousness
and connecting people across the globe through the
power of music and media. His current projects include:
Yoga Revolution – an all-star CD series supporting Yoga
for youth, Urban Roots – an inspiring documentary about
the urban farming phenomenon in his hometown Detroit,
and Beat the World – an international teen-dance film
bringing together top dance crews and the world's leading conscious Hip Hop artists. Frankfitzpatrick.com /
This article is a companion piece
to this month’s Sitting Down with Yuval
Ron (pg 22), as these two composers
consider the effect of music on Yoga
from varying perspectives.
As a society, we are becoming ever more
aware of the power of music. The combina-
tion of Yoga and music allows us to do
more than just sing along, but may heighten
the shifts created in the practice.