Saturday, November 12, 2005

music for self practice

To answer Sammy's question, regarding what kind of music I recommend for self-practice, I would start out by saying that ANY music that gets you in the mood to move expansively and with breath is the right music. But if you want some recommendations, I personally enjoy to create mixes using iTunes so that I can use the music to bring the level of class higher and then lower again at the end.

Thus, a typical mix for a 90 minute practice would be:

1. Lokah Samasta, by The Dum Dum Project (Album: World Chill)
2. Dimdanana, by Jasmon (Album: Putumayo's World Lounge)
3. Foto Viva, by Mo' Horizons (Album: Putumayo's World Lounge)
4. Jaja Ganesha by The Dum Dum Project (Album: Yoga Chill)
5. Prayer to Rudra, by Krishna Das (Album: Planet Yoga)
6. Hey Diwani, Hey Diwana, by The Dum Dum Project (Album: Export Quality)
7. Desert Road, by Justin Adams (Album: Putumayo's Sahara Lounge)
8. Cleopatra In New York, by Nickodemus Album: Sahara Lounge)
9. Desert Dancer, by Nickodemus (Album: Buddha Bar IV
10. Dub4me, by Soap Kills (Album: Sahara Lounge)
11. Dirty Trip, by Air (Albun: The Virgin Suicides (Soundtrack))
12. Playground Love, by Air (Album: The Virgin Suicides (Soundtrack))
13. Over Our Heads, by Zero 7 (Album: When It Falls)
14. Breathe Me, by Sia (Album: Six Feet Under: Everything Ends (Soundtrack))
15. Mercy Street, by Peter Gabriel (Album: So)
16. Guitar Flute And String, by Moby (Album: Play)

I would warm up a little, do some light stretches before putting on the music. Then I would turn the music on as I began my Sun Salutations, doing five of each kind (A and B, that is). As Desert Road began, the music would become more middle eastern and snaky and would inspire me to do a lot of twists and balances and twisting balances. By the time Air came on, I would be ready to slow things down a bit, perhaps even work on some arm balances. Over our Heads would tell me it was time for back bending. Breathe Me would be a clear clue to me to begin neutralizing my spine with Happy Baby and maybe Supta Hasta Padangusthasana. From there through Mercy Street, I would be forward bending, culminating in shoulderstand and headstand. The tuneful and wordless Guitar Flute and String would accompany a three minute Savasana. And then I would roll up and finish my practice.

If you don't have a self-practice in mind, feel free to pull out my Sample Class on my Downtown Uptown Yoga Website. Give it a try.

Other ideas for good music to accompany a yoga practice: Anything by Zero 7, Thievery Corporation, Air, Honeyroot, Enigma, Dum Dum Project, Genetic Drugs/Jasom, Jazzanova, all of the Buddha Bar and Buddha Cafe compilations, the Putumayo world music collections, but particularly Sahara Lounge, Euro Lounge and World Lounge, Planet Yoga (another compilation of well-known yoga accompaniments, Yoga Rhythm (excellent if you get distracted by songs with words and songs you know), almost anything by Moby, most anything by Frou Frou, most songs on the soundtracks for Magnolia, Donnie Darko and Garden State. You're going to have to listen to these albums and judge what makes sense in terms of your own taste and assemble accordingly. For the parts of my vinyasa practice that are not so structured, like forward bending (we can hold these for a LONG time), I sometimes put on some unexpected music like Neil Young's After the Gold Rush or KD Lang's remake of Hallelujah (Rufus Wainwright does a great rendition too from the Shrek Soundtrack).

Hope this helps!



Sammy said...


What a generous posting. Thank you.


FutureNerd said...

Hi. Your readers may find that beautiful "Lokah Samasta" by the Dum Dum Project a little tricky to find.

I think you mean the track "Alone" by Ansar, on the album "Yoga Chill."

It's also on an album called "Jai Ma: White Swan Yoga Masters Vol. 2," where it's called "Alone, featuring Aisha and the Dum Dum Project".

Calling the song "Alone" when the chant is about compassion, reminds me of the ending part one of my favorite songs, "Forgetting," by Philip Glass (on "Songs from Liquid Days"), with words by Laurie Anderson:

A man wakes up to the sound of rain
From a dream about his lovers
Who pass through his room.

They brush lightly by, these lovers.
They pass. Never touching.
These passing lovers move through his room.

The man is awake now
He can't get to sleep again.
So he repeats these words
Over and over again.
Bravery, Kindness, Clarity
Honesty, Compassion, Generosity
Bravery, Honesty, Dignity
Clarity, Kindness, Compassion...

Anonymous said...

thanks to futurenerd! otherwise i would have never found my favourite yoga song "alone"...

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Northern Westchester, New York, United States
I live by a duck pond. I used to live by the East River. I don't work. I used to work a lot. Now, not so much. I used to teach a lot of yoga. Now not so much. I still practice a lot of yoga though. A LOT. I love my kids, being outdoors, taking photos, reading magazines, writing and stirring the pot. Enjoy responsibly.


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