Is it important to practice yoga in silence?

Submitted by Jerry Parker on January 28, 2013

Yoga is an ancient system of fitness that brings the mind and the body into harmony. In fact, the very meaning of the term “yoga” means “to yoke.” Although the system originated in India, yoga as a system to benefit the mind and the body is catching on in the West too, and it is the sixth most popular alternative health practice in the US today.


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In the 5 years between 2002 and 2007 itself more than 3 million new practitioners are estimated to have started yoga. The system of practicing the poses strengthens the body, and breath control builds concentration and helps the mind relax.

It was always thought that silence was one of the major prerequisites for yoga, because any form of distraction disturbed the mind during practice.

Studies have showed that even moderate experience with mind control such as with meditation heightens activity in the hippo-campus and the pre-frontal cortex of the brain, and when practiced correctly, even yoga seems to improve activity in these centers of the brain, leading to the hypothesis that yoga in itself is a form of mediation.

Yet, it is not strictly necessary that silence be maintained during yoga. The need for silence is more for the sake of avoiding distractions rather than as a general rule. Many people find it soothing to listen to soft, mellow, relaxing music while meditating, and playing such music actually helps them concentrate rather than acting like a distraction. The kind of music that is played depends on where you live, and while Eastern countries tend to listen to religious or spiritual music, it is classical or other forms of music in the West.


There is currently no study that has gone into whether silence during yoga is better or if playing music has any benefits. Yet, anecdotal evidence points to music being a benefit than otherwise. Nowadays, many yoga practitioners play soft, relaxing music in the background while they take their students through the different poses. Relaxing is paramount in yoga, because unlike other forms of exercise, yoga limbers up the body by alternatively stretching and then contracting the various muscle groups. Also, most of the benefit to the body comes from the muscle having to work with resistance through its range of motion, which has been proved to be the best form of cardiovascular exercise known to man.

In conclusion, playing soft soothing music during practice of yoga is definitely a plus. Silence is really not a good thing because yoga is meant to be practiced during the early morning, out of doors, where there is always the soft music of nature around. Substituting this with music of our choice is not really a negative.


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