Creating the Perfect Yoga Playlist
by Angela Muller Habig, resident yogi at Bodytree
I walked into my first Power Yoga class drawn in by the hip hop tunes blasting out of the studio. My teacher’s previous career was in the music industry and she practiced from a Jivamukti background – music was as much of a tool to reach students as the asanas themselves. She taught us to build a playlist honoring the sound of each chakra: from bass for root chakra to high pitched bell sounds for our third eye. It is still this formula that I use for my own soundtracks. I try to create a new playlist once every season, often times I will change tracks once a month for Power Flow classes.
Usually I spend around 6-8 hours researching, combining and rearranging tracks. Transition and mood are so important to me – if a song does not touch my heart or move my body it does not make the cut. Often I find myself running towards speakers in restaurants, shazam on my phone in hand, searching for that perfect track. I will ask dj’s for their tunes and even taxi drivers have provided me with inspiration. My main tool is soundcloud – not only do I find it important to support independent artists I have also discovered that when we don’t know the song, we won’t associate memories to it, so it will be easier to keep our mind focused on our practice.
“There are seven main chakras (which are) transduction points – places where subtle energy from higher planes begins to become denser(…becoming) the acupuncture points and meridians and finally, this energy transduces into the density of the physical body.”Jonathan Goldman, healingsounds.com
These energetic points are believed to rule among organs and biological functions an evolutionary state of consciousness and emotion. For example our sacral chakra represents all of our relationships and what we feel towards them. Each one of these energy points or chakras can be stimulated and balanced through a specific sound frequency or note but for our purposes I am listing instruments which appropriately match with each chakra. While the yogic goal often is to ascend energy from the base to the crown chakra, when setting up your own playlist remember that you do not necessarily have to follow an ascending order. If you are aiming for a specific focus, say creating an empowering or heart opening collection of songs, feel free to stay within a specific sound range or go back and forth between the chakras you are aiming to connect and stimulate.
For Stretch n’ Snooze playlists, I aim to create as dreamy as atmosphere as possible. I look for deep earthy sounds for security and grounding, piano and string instruments to soothe our emotions and high pitched sounds to stimulate our intuition and sense of connectedness to the divine. I look for tracks which have lots of synthesizer songs, as the brain reacts well to those and ethereal sounds, trying to emulate the resonance of the galaxy or the background of dreams, as if the music was coming through fog. In order to deepen this experience I will include tracks that play at the frequency of the heart’s electromagnetic field, 528hz, or to the frequency of theta waves, the brain’s state of very deep relaxation or REM sleep.
Next time you need an energetic boost or a soothing vibe. look to include some of these sounds in your musical selection and observe if your body, heart and mind reacts to their subtle influence. Music is a powerful healing tool, a direct connection to our emotions and I am fascinated by how deep a message a song can carry, much beyond lyrics and thus influence us in a positive way. I hope this knowledge helps you give your playlist even deeper meaning. Namasté and rock OM!!!
Root Chakra: Muladhara
Emotion: Tribe, Heritage, Belonging, Grounding, Security
Instrument: Drums, deep Bass
Song Example: A Tribe Calles Red – ‘PBC featuring Sheldon Sundwon’
Sacral Chakra: Swadhistana
Emotion: Relationships, Sexuality, Creativity
Instruments: Trumpets, Pipes, hollow intruments
Song Example: Menahan Street Band – ‘Heartbeat’
Solar Plexus Chakra: Manipura
Emotion: Self Esteem, Self Confidence, Personal Power
Instruments: Electric Guitar
Song Example: Curtis Harding, ‘Keep on Shining’
Heart Chakra: Anahata
Emotion: Lofe, Self Love, Forgiveness, Compassion
Instruments: Viloin, Acoustic Guitar, Piano
Song Example: Devandra Banhart ‘Brindo’
Throat Chakra: Vishuddhi
Emotion: Personal Expression, Will, Evolve
Instruments: SInging, Flutes
Song Example: Bebel Gilberto, ‘August Day Song’
Third Eye Chakra:
Emotion: Emotional Intelligence, Wisdom, Vision, Intuition
Song Example: Mc Yogi, ‘Glorious Sun’ (Bhakti Brothers remix)
Emotion: Total Awareness, Self Realization, HIghest Consciousness
Song Example: Clemens Ruh, ‘The Awakening’
Angela is a full-time yoga and Pilates teacher at Bodytree. She favors a kind and loving approach to her practice encouraging her students‘ sense of self-trust and possibility. She sees time on the mat as an opportunity to become intimate with all the subtle layers of your being, connecting the physical, emotional, intellectual and energetic body through mindful and joyful movement. Angela teaches two very opposing yoga styles: Power Flow, a playful yet vigorous, strength oriented practice and Stretch n’ Snooze, her own creative fusion of restorative asanas and yin yoga techniques for deep relaxation and fascia release. Book your space by emailing [email protected]
Photo Credit: Angela shot by Heather Bonker Photography