Tips for Using Music in Yoga Classes

I love a good Enya filled yoga class as much as the next girl…..Ok, so maybe I don’t but a lot of people do.

When I first started teaching aerobics years ago at my university campus recreation center, our boss strongly encouraged us to train in either yoga or water aerobics because gyms always need more yoga and water aerobics instructors (she was right, I got my first job out of college because I could teach water aerobics). Knowing that I wanted to make fitness my full-time career for the long haul, I decided being able to teach a low impact format like yoga was ideal.  I know my yogis are freaking out by my laissez-faire attitude about yoga right now. Please don’t, I was young and naïve at this point and very much found my passion for a deeper practice along my journey.

So after a few months of teaching step, cycle, kickboxing, and every other high energy format out there, I started my yoga teacher training. I attended a few different weekend certifications and trained under a senior instructor at our facility. I knew all the poses, could lead my students through beautiful flows, correct form verbally and with gentle tactile corrections, and even lead a pretty good guided meditation at the end of class. Yet, I still felt like a complete fraud. While I was sitting there at the beginning of class telling my students to “let go of outside distractions,” and ending class by encouraging them to “surrender to their breathe and clear their mind,” I was sitting on my mat making mental to-do lists and worrying that the siren I just heard drive by was headed for one of my family members that lived in town.

Finding my Zen with Acoustic Pop

To say I had not found my Zen would be an understatement. That was until I took my first acoustic yoga class. Yep, yoga to songs with words! I know, crazy (ok, maybe not so much anymore, but at the time it was). I head bobbed, flowed, and lip sang through the whole class right along with the music. It wasn’t until our instructor said “Namaste” at the end of class, that I realized I had not made one single to-do list, reviewed every question on my last midterm, or came up with a ridiculous story on why that siren was definitely headed for my little brother playing flag football. I had actually “let go of outside distractions and lived in the moment” for a WHOLE HOUR!

The acoustic music provided enough of a positive distraction that I was finally able to “get in the zone” if you will and just enjoy the class that I was in. It gave me just enough to think about that I was able to get out of my own head for once.

Benefits of My Acoustic Pop Yoga Class

Listening to music while exercising has a whole host of benefits! It can provide a positive distraction from exercise induced discomfort. For example, Professor Costas Karageorghis, Ph.D., from London’s Brunel University School of Sport and Education states, “[Music] can reduce the perception of effort significantly and increase endurance by as much as 15 percent.” Additionally, it can help students synchronize their moves with one another or even with their own breath, and it just down right improves your mood.

Mix it Up!

As mind/body instructors, our participants come to us for a lot of reasons and from a lot of different walks of life. While some may thrive on Enya, piano music, chanting, or silence, having the occasional acoustic, or GHAST, hip hop yoga class might be just what the doctor ordered for one of your frazzled students.

Plus, with all the amazing benefits of music, wouldn’t we want to do our best to provide music options that reach a wide variety of students and not just the traditional “yogi (whatever that is)?” So my challenge to you is to teach one class next month with music that is outside your normal realm. If you are worried about scaring off loyal students, offer it as a special class and give it a fancy title. This will help spark a buzz around your facility and maybe even bring in new clients! I bet you will be surprised by the positive reactions of your students and maybe even yourself.

Have fun and ROCK ON!

Do you teach a non-traditional music inspired mind-body class?  We would love to hear about it.
Share your classes in the comments below.

Using Music in Yoga Classes

Lauren George, M.S.

Lauren George, M.S.

Co-Creator, Enhanced Barre Above Program; Owner, Clemson Fitness Company

Lauren has had a passion for movement and fitness since a young age. She began teaching group fitness classes in college where her first love was step aerobics. Since her beginning in step, she has pursued certifications through Power Pilates, Balanced Body Pilates (Reformer level 1-3, & Apparatus level 1-3), Schwinn, YogaFit, Kettlebell AMPD, QiDANCE, Balletone®, and TRX.

After finishing her undergraduate work in Sports Management at Texas A&M University, Lauren completed a master's degree in Recreation and Leisure Studies at The University of North Texas. During her 12 years in the fitness industry, she has had the pleasure of managing the group fitness programs at The Baylor Tom Landry Fitness Center, Florida State University, and ToddPilates Fitness in Austin.

In 2015, she combined her love of dance, Pilates, and group fitness to create PulsePointe barre, which has since become part of the Barre Above® program. Lauren George is the co-creator of the enhanced Barre Above® program, a Balletone® Master Trainer, and is the owner of Clemson Fitness Company, in Clemson, SC. Lauren was named Empower! Fusion Education Partner of the Year in 2018.

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MS: Recreation and Leisure Studies
BS: Sport Management

AFAA: Certified Group Fitness Instructor
ACE: Certified Personal Trainer
Balanced Body Pilates Apparatus & Reformer Level 1, 2 & 3
PowerPilates Mat
YogaFit Level 1 & 3

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Tips for Using Music in Yoga Classes

by Lauren George, M.S. Time to Read: 3 min