By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500, YACEP
Music for Yoga Nidra enhances the experience. Yoga Nidra is an ancient set of Yogic practices that promote a deep feeling of relaxation, well-being, and emotional integration. There are several components to a nidra session – that include gentle Yoga asanas, progressive relaxation, dharana (concentration), dhyana (profound meditation), and emotional integration. The music that you choose to play, during a Yoga Nidra session, should reflect the component of the practice you are working with and/or the entire nidra practice. In other words, rock and hip-hop may not be the most suitable music to play when engaging in Yoga Nidra practices. Music that is exuberant, and energy-enhancing, may be fun in another context, but overly-stimulating and detrimental to the soothing and quiet inner environment, created by nidra exercises.
What Kind of Music is appropriate for Yoga Nidra?
Gentle, soothing music that complements the different aspects of a nidra session, or the session overall, would be the most supportive musical choice. During the asana preparation of nidra practice, you might choose to play sacred music, that is somewhat upbeat, to inspire you to move through the poses. During the rotation of awareness, progressive relaxation, and emotional integration portions of the practice, it may be most suitable to play ambient, quiet music that does not have any lyrics, so that you are able to focus inward on your own body and mind.
Musical tracks, that support an inward focus, or dharana, would be particularly beneficial to play during a Yoga Nidra session. For instance, there are compact discs that are recordings of the chanting of “om” for the entire forty-five minutes. Recordings of sacred mantras will facilitate the practitioner of nidra to be inwardly-focused and quiet. Other sacred mantra recordings may include Tibetan Buddhist chants, Gregorian chants, and Native American chants. There are also many recordings available of ambient sounds of the ocean, rain, waterfalls, and so on. These may also lend a wonderfully soothing backdrop to your Yoga Nidra practice or class.
Not Recommended as Musical Selections For Yoga Nidra
Selections that are particularly inappropriate as music for Yoga Nidra sessions, or classes, are selections that are exciting and stimulating. Although upbeat songs are loads of fun to listen to, and often are very inspiring, they do not lend themselves to the calm, contemplative practice of nidra. Music has been shown to profoundly affect our brains and nervous systems. Music, that helps to calm an overactive nervous system, an anxious mind, and a disconnected spirit would be most effective when practicing nidra exercises.
Lastly, music for Yoga Nidra is not a requirement for any or all sessions. While it makes some of us very happy, there will be others who prefer to be guided only or want complete silence, and they will find any sort of music for Yoga Nidra to be a distraction. That said, even when we choose music it should be on a low volume setting, because our primary mission is to deliver a relaxing experience. The effect of music on arterial blood pressure, reduction in states of anxiety, and a calm atmosphere are perfect for most students, but teachers want to carefully observe the student experience. A blood pressure monitor for home practice might just confirm one of many benefits.
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