On my first day of yoga instructor training, I knew one thing… well, two things:
- This was going to be a difficult but immensely rewarding journey
- The “traditional” yoga music was not going to work for me
Hands down, one of my favorite things about the practice of yoga is the concept of setting an intention.
Yoga isn’t meant to only engage the body – it’s also a mental exercise for the mind. It gives us a rare and much-needed opportunity in today’s hectic world to slow down and purposefully uproot the worry and frustration that seem persistently present in this life. Instead, for 30, 60, or 90 minutes, we focus our minds on what is positive and good, and those mental benefits reverberate out through our bodies.
There are many ways to do this, none of them necessarily “better” or “right”:
Some days, I repeat a mantra – a short phrase or sentence that captures the optimistic energy I want to feel.
At other times, I envision a memory or specific location: Santa Claus beach where my brother and I used to dig up mischief, the hill overlooking the ocean where my wife and I were married, my best day of fly fishing at my favorite local fishing hole.
Sometimes, I focus my thoughts on sending positive energy out toward a friend or family member going through a hard time.
Whatever I may choose to think about, there’s one thing I know for sure: the more “traditional” music featured in many yoga classes hinders my focus.
Maybe I’m just easily distracted… but one of the best pieces of advice I received from a friend – a traveling yoga instructor named Ricky – was to find music without words, so that I could really set an intention and continue holding it for a full hour or more of practice. But I also need a good beat. That said, my favorite class soundtrack of choice right now is the Lo-Fi Beats playlist on Spotify. Don’t have Spotify? Here are a few songs you can look up on Pandora to mimic the same vibe:
- Honolulu by Slumberville
- Golden Hour by Hiyasu
- Lost in Florence by Kendall Miles, I Eat Plants for a Living
- This Feeling’s Too Good by j’san
Try out these chill background beats in your personal practice. And if setting an intention isn’t yet a regular part of your yoga experience, give it a go. It’s one of the best ways I’ve found to combat the fixation and worry that can easily overtake your mind and drain your energy.
Got a favorite playlist that works well for you? Share it below!