A yoga practice is a holistic process. Traditionally, unless you are practicing Kirtan yoga, music is not used during yoga practice, as it can distract your attention and make you loose the balance of your mind. That being said, in a world like the one we live today, full of distractions and tons of subliminal information targeted to our consciousness, using Music during asana practice can be a great experience that helps us focus, provides motivation, and generally makes the whole effort more enjoyable. This is because the mind needs to focus its attention to achieve the state of yoga. For the mind to be able to focus its complete attention it must be free from negativity, craving and aversion. In a wholesome yoga practice, the practitioner follows a very clear path of morality in order to be able to concentrate the mind. A yogi vows to do nothing harmful, to speak truthfully (avoiding gossip, exaggeration and harmful speech), vows to avoid taking that which doesn’t belong to you, to have a sexual behaviour that harms no one (including the self), and to keep the mind clear by not intoxicating it with alcohol or drugs. By following this morality (Sila), the yogi can achieve the right type of concentration (Samma Samadhi) so the mind can be purified and have access to insight, making room for wisdom, insight in the true nature of reality (pañña). Since most of us are in the beginnings stages of our understanding of Yoga, our motivation to practice might come only from the health benefits of the physical practice of postures (asana), and we might choose to ignore the other 7 parts of the practice. Here, the right kind of Music can help.
Observe, if you pay no attention to your morality or your breath, your mind will behave like what is called a “monkey mind”, in a loop of repetitive thoughts about what others did to you, what you did to others, what you did in the past and what you plan to do in the future; a worried mind gives no room for the right kind of concentration to happen, and balance is lost; instead of healing the issues that bring you to your yoga practice, without concentration you are bound to create more negativity, and your practice will only suffer. So that is why Music helps. The right kind of music. A good tune will tune you to listen and observe your sensations. By listening to the right kind of music you can ease yourself into your breath, which is the recommended focus point for our attention – simply because your breath is connected to your mind, and there is nothing more present than the breath. The more attention you give to your breathing, the less thinking your mind does. The mind can’t focus and think at the same time. The smaller the focused area is, the stronger the focus of the mind is, and it can focus on your most subtle sensations. And that is what yoga practice goal is, to awaken your awareness at the subatomic level, at the deepest level of the mind. By observing your sensations from a yoga practice perspective, ignorance is not longer, negativity is eradicated, and you learn to understand that sensations only arise to pass away. This understanding helps you to not react, and to keep your mind balanced, peaceful, and equanimous in the midst of change. This is wisdom. As unwanted things happen, or wanted things do not happen, you learn to not react with craving or aversion, and be the master of your mind. Why attach to this and suffer if this is going to change? Why reject that and suffer if that is going to change? All is impermanent. Just observe patiently, aware, equanimous…and feel the music.