Is Listening To Music During Yoga A Good Idea?

Submitted by Kevin Pederson on January 28, 2013
Many people like aerobics because it is set to music, and with a little bit of imagination you can even dance to the music, while still getting a good workout. Although it has been proven that yoga is better for cardiovascular health than even aerobics, the biggest problem with it is that you cannot do yoga to music, or at least that has been the perception until now.


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The understanding has been that music takes away focus from breathing, and a practitioner will have no concentration on the poses that they are doing, and one of the major benefits of yoga is that by concentrating on your breathing while you do the poses, you exercise your mind along with your body.

However, this does not mean that you should not practice yoga to music. There are a number of classes that allow music during yoga practice, and the music can be soft and mellow so as not to be distracting, while at the same time, giving you an upbeat feeling while practicing the poses.

Are there any guidelines to using music with yoga?

No research has been done on the use of music with yoga. In fact, although yoga is an ancient practice, it is only now gaining popularity in the West, and most studies are concentrating on the therapeutic effects of yoga. Yet, many people like to perform yoga with music in the background. Soft music in the background actually helps people to concentrate and is therefore a benefit rather than a distraction. In the East, the songs are usually devotional songs that help a person calm his/her mind, and when coupled with yoga, works in tandem to give added benefit. The concept of music with yoga is still relatively new, and as of now each person can choose the kind of music that they want to listen to.

When listening to music there's only a few things that you need to keep in mind.

  • There is a theory that listening to instrumental music is better than listening to songs. While this theory is still the subject matter of much debate, a few studies have showed that soft instrumental music, especially classical music by Bach and Beethoven, have a very profound effect on anxiety levels and relieve psychological stress.
  • Many hospitals now play music in the background because it has been proved that it helps to relieve anxiety and may even promote healing, although there are no studies that have confirmed this. It is also believed that music not only helps with neurological disorders but also with physical injuries and ailments.
  • You also need to make sure that the music is not aggressive. Once again, this is where classical music comes in, because they are generally soothing and have a direct impact on your emotions. Listening to music that will calm and soothe helps, while listening to something that has a faster tempo will only raise your pulse rate and defeat the purpose of listening to music while practicing yoga.
  • Once you have the kind of music sorted out, the next is the loudness levels of the music. Although there are not too many double blinded studies on the subject, there is a wealth of anecdotal evidence that shows how having soft music playing in the background helps, while playing loud music interferes with your thought process.
  • Many older people suffering from neurological disorders like dementia have showed marked improvement while and after listening to their favorite music. Other studies show that even people who have lost their ability to connect on an emotional level with others find music to be soothing helping them to respond on an emotional level which they would otherwise not have been capable of doing.
  • Playing soft classical music increases the positive energy and creates an uplifting atmosphere anywhere, and when you play such music wherever you practice your yoga, you are just ensuring that you get into a relaxed state much faster than if you don't have the music playing.
  • If you play music that exactly matches the rhythm of your movements, it makes your movements flow that much easier, helping you get into the calm, still frame of mind that is the ultimate objective of practicing yoga.


Playing music while practicing yoga is purely a personal choice. Some people like the silence of the early morning, while others prefer to have soft music playing in the background. The benefits are also perceptive, with some people saying that music helps while others feel that it detracts from their yoga. Ultimately, it is each person's temperament that dictates what they should do.

A person who feels that music distracts from their yoga would be better off with not playing music, while a person who likes music in the background will find soft, classical music to be of immense benefit when they practice yoga.


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