If you asked 3 different yoga teachers if they prefer music in Savasana, you would get three different answers- yes, no or it doesn’t matter. Should you use background music or nature sounds? Songs with words or just instrumental music? Chants or singing bowls? It can be so confusing for a teacher because you want your class to enjoy this final few minutes of class. But you cannot please everyone. Our job as yoga teachers is to try and facilitate a few minutes of ultimate peace. The daily lives of most people are so chaotic and non-stop that these last few moments in Savasana might be the only sense of calm they will experience that day. It is a time to relax the body as well as the mind. I believe that music can help heighten the experience in Savasana and there a few different ways you can apply this to your classes.
Background music like instrumental piano, guitar or even singing bowls are a great way to help your class settle down and relax their thoughts. I taught yoga in a small room above a gym and you could hear conversations, grunts and weights being dropped. Having background music allows there to be a listening focal point so you are not distracted by street noises, gyms noises or movements within the room. A few of my favorites for background music:
Claire de Lune- Debussy or APM Orchestra
Singing Bowls- Xumantra
Ocean Waves- Sounds for Life
Using songs with a great message, maybe even coupled with a theme you have used throughout class, is a nice way to wrap up class. You can start the song while winding down class in your final poses. Limit your instruction as they make their way to Savasana. When the song is over you will still have a couple of minutes to let your class be on their own. This is a good compromise- a way to meet in the middle. A few of my favorites for inspirational songs are:
Imagine- Jack Johnson version
Black Bird- Sarah McLachlan version
Ooh Child- Beth Orton version
Aqueous Transmissions- Incubus
Listening to chanting helps you wind down with the repetition of mantras that you may (or may not) feel the need to decipher for your class. The harmonies of the voice and the instruments help you to relax. With chants for Savasana you can apply it as background music or begin it as you wind down so you can ultimately give a minute or two of silence. Here’s a few of my favorites:
My God Is Real- Krishna Das
Baba Hanuman- Krishna Das
Prayer of Harmony- Ragani
Durga Pahimam- Jai Uttal
Figure out what you enjoy while in Savasana. What music enhances the experience for you? Then think about your classes- what are the demographics of your classes and where do they take place? Older age groups might enjoy more background music and maybe the gym crowd would not be as open to chants like a studio class. Every experience is different but you can always meet in the middle- some music and some silence.
The French poet/author Victor Hugo said “Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent.” Music can bring your students another way to relax, to give in, to let go and quiet the chatter in their minds. Incorporating music into Savasana can amplify the journey to connect our mind and body by allowing us to block out distracting noises and focus on soothing sounds or inspiring words.
Eliza Whiteman is based out of Charlottesville, Va. She has been practicing Power Yoga and Vinyasa for twelve years and teaching for the last seven. Eliza has completed a 200 hour Vinyasa training, Prenatal certification, a children’s yoga certification as well as several yoga workshops and immersions. Eliza is dedicated to her students and uses yoga to help ignite their inner spark of self-realization and confidence. She is a mother of 4 and brings her experiences to her prenatal and children’s yoga classes. Eliza is inspired by the yoga teacher community and hopes to give back to them and their students. You can connect with Eliza at her website- www.yogawitheliza.com- or on Facebook.