let me preface this post by saying that i love music. from classical to classic rock, and even country, i love it all. you would be hard-pressed to find any genre on earth missing from my ipod, and music keeps me company pretty much every moment that i’m awake…except while i’m practicing yoga.
kill me first before i practice to music.
now, i’ve heard the argument–over and over…and over again–that music helps people get deeper into their practice.
excuse my french (’cause it’s not even french)…bullshit.
you may think that music takes you deeper into your practice but, actually, it is doing exactly the opposite. music is nothing more than a distraction for your mind, something to focus on other than the experience of the moment, other than the yoga.
the word “yoga” means “yoke”, as in “to yoke together”, as in “mind, body, and spirit”.
when your mind is following the rhythm of the music instead of the rhythm of your breath (mind/spirit connection), you have lost the practice. when you are focused on lyrics instead of lunges (mind/body connection), you have lost the practice. sing or dance along and all you are doing is some yoga-inspired movements in a glorified aerobics class.
it’s like traditional martial arts vs. tae bo. no one will question that tae bo is derived from/inspired by classic martial arts, but i think you will be hard-pressed to find an honest-to-goodness sensei out there who will classify tae bo as fitting into the mind-body-spirit paradigm that yoga and martial arts share together.
if you find that your yoga practice is more challenging without music, i rest my case. when you are left to your own devices–you and your breath–you are left with the essence of yoga, facing up to the sweet and the challenging, the easy and the difficult (or even painful), the exciting and, yes, the sometimes boring, with the same aplomb. you are present, you are connected, you are practicing yoga.