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How do you successfully choose music for varying styles of yoga? Here, co-founder of the Soul Circus festival, Ella Wroath, shares her insights.

It’s Glastonbury! So, while it’s all about the music this week, we thought this piece was very timely.

When you trace yoga back to its traditional roots, you will find that it uses mantras and chanting to evoke certain vibrations in the body to help clear the path to spiritual enlightenment. We use music the same now, but in a more modern way.

It is now very common to find yoga practised to all kinds of music and you can seek out a class that exactly fits your tastes and personal vibration. Some love the sounds of gongs while meditating, others will happily sweat it out in a Vinyasa flow class to loud hip-hop.

Yoga is designed to still the mind and create inner peace. It leaves mental stillness, allowing you to experience life as it really is without judgement or distracting thoughts. It can also be described as turning inward and connecting with the very essence of your soul, so you feel grounded and connected to the energy inside and all around. This is something that music can be a great help with. When you resonate with a piece of music, it can help you get into that physical and mental flow that allows you to switch off from the outside world completely. Music can be very moving and bring up emotions or memories that you didn’t even know were there. In this way, music can greatly enhance your yoga experience as it is a physical and mental moving with the rhythm of the music that our mind doesn’t need to make sense of. It can simply be carried along by the beat or melody and release all stress and tension.

It has also been proven that music can greatly improve our mood and lift our energy levels. It can transform fatigue into momentum and enhance any activity we are doing, taking our minds off the physical strain and helping us enjoy the activity more. In this way, we are able to push ourselves harder when the music carries us, helping to achieve more break-throughs in yoga poses as well as releasing more feel-good chemicals as we put more energy into the exercise we are doing.

Most yogis tailor a playlist that begins very chilled and spiritual, using bineral beats or Sanskrit chants, then it will become more melodic and livelier as the class begins to flow. During the middle of the class when you are doing the most dynamic postures, teachers sometimes play very high-tempo tracks to lift the energy and help participants find more inner power. Then the class will wind down, ending on a beautiful treat of a tune while resting in Sivasana, and you can simply let the music wash over you to cleanse your soul.

Some of the most exciting and transformational yoga classes you can do now are to the beat of live DJs or musicians. Many yoga festivals, in particular Soul Circus, team up with world class DJs to create astounding music and collective energy that is the most fun ever had in a yoga class. There are also all kinds of sound-healing instruments used in more chilled, slow sessions such as Yin Yoga to cello music, meditation to didgeridoos, breathwork to the sounds of planetary gongs. The list of how you can combine yoga with music is endless, much like the choice we have now in how to look after our mental and spiritual health.

The industry keeps evolving and changing, allowing us to explore the depths of our psyches and change the way we and new generations look at the world, bringing us into a place of deeper connection and oneness.

About the author

Ella Wroath is the founder of the largest yoga and wellness festival in the UK – Soul Circus. Soul Circus combines yoga, dance and fitness with music to create a 3-day celebration of health, wellness and good tunes. Ella started her career as a dancer but discovered yoga and a more holistic attitude towards life in her 20’s and has not looked back. Ella opened the first hot yoga studio in Gloucestershire in 2013 and then went on the launch Soul Circus in 2016. Ella has always been an avid festival goer and is always on the lookout for mind-expanding experiences. Soul Circus is everything she loves all in one place!

To find your next yoga playlist – visit MyGroupFit music and start tuning in to the latest releases here: