By Renee Choi
When it comes to curating a yoga class, choosing the right music is just as important as creating the asana sequence. Music sets the tone for the class and can even make that last hold in chaturanga bearable. We interviewed NYC yoga instructor Beth Cooke to get her take on music and yoga, as well as a sample playlist.
What role does music play in your classes?
At the end of the day, the yoga speaks for itself. The shapes we take, united with our breath, will reveal so much in time and practice. No music is required for a transformative practice. However, I love music and I love yoga and I enjoy listening to a playlist that makes me Feel some type of way when I teach and practice. A playlist can enhance the experience by creating a journey with a beginning, middle and end: child's pose (birth) to savasana (corpse pose).
Do you change your playlists based upon audience (i.e. playlists for different studios, privates versus group classes)?
My playlist can include artists and genres all across the board and I usually don't censor too too much for different audiences. I've played Marilyn Manson to Led Zeppelin to Lil’ Kim and i believe it's another form of getting open on our mats. We gain compassion and awareness and flexibility through yoga. Flexibility of the mind is just as important as the flexibility in the body, if not more so.
Who is your favorite musician/artist on your playlist and why?
At this moment in my life my favorite song on this playlist is “Alaska” by Maggie Rogers. The song feels light and fun and yet she's speaking of letting something go and taking space to get to know herself better. I find that so fitting as a yogi. We are always seeking, looking for more, and learning more about ourselves.
Who is your favorite musician that is not on you playlist and why?
Too many!!! Britney Spears, Lil’ Kim, Fleetwood Mac, Tori Amos, Cam'ron, and SZA to name a few. No rhyme or reason why they are not on this playlist other than I ran out of time. Next issue ;)
Name other yoga teachers whose playlists inspire you.
I love everybody's playlists. I can get down to anything really because as I said before it's the yoga not the playlist. However, Kajuan Douglass, Yancy Schwartz, Alex Sharry, Krissy Jones (featured in our last issue) and Chloe Kernaghan's playlists really soothe my soul.
How do you find new music?
I’ll find new music from interrogating all of my friends that are cooler than me and Spotify.
As a yoga teacher, do you enjoy creating playlists? If so, why? If not, why not?
I love making playlists but sometimes I wonder how I could possibly outdo the last one?!