Monday, June 24, 2013

Musical Monday: Breathe, Stretch, Meditate, Let It Go

After a fun weekend, sometimes the thing you need most on a Monday is another weekend! However, since that normally is not the case, the next best thing is Musical Monday, and in this case a Yoga-themed Musical Monday. This week I'm posting songs you can use for a yoga session to bring you peace, or as we yogis like to say: Shanti.

The following are songs that are incredibly popular on my yoga playlists, for my own practice, back when I used to teach, or that I've discovered from attending other instructors' classes. I've created a playlist below that can get you through about a 30 minute practice with an additional bit of time for savasana at the end.

If you're not a yogi or even sure what yoga is, these songs can be great songs to listen to when you want to mellow out or have some nice ambient noise for work. Just be sure not to listen to it once you're already tired, because some of these songs just might put you to sleep!

Serifs: Calligraphy

Music: I downloaded their EP for free back in 2011 and the gentle ambient rock is perfect for some ordered background noise to begin your practice.
Yoga: Starting either seated or lying down take a few deep breaths from deep in your belly, thinking about the feeling of your breath moving through your body. After a few minutes of that, hug your knees into your chest, make a small circle with them, and rock forward to transition onto your hands and knees.

Jonsi and Alex: Stokkseyri
Music: I've used the album Riceboy Sleeps as the entire soundtrack to numerous classes, and if you like this type of music I recommend you buy it, and just hit play your next session of yoga/relaxing/meditation. If you like ambient rock (as I do) it can be a great background but I have had people in the past let me know it wasn't their cup of tea. I like the surprising ways they incorporate certain sounds (like horses or rice being poured into a cup) with other musical sounds (like wind chimes and a piano) with a soft undertone to create their music (and apparently you Friday Night Lights fans might recognize some of this album from the shows soundtrack).
Yoga: Here, with every inhale come to Cow pose (bring your chest forward, dropping your belly & arching your back), and on the exhale Cat pose (press through your shoulders, hunching your back and pretending someone is pulling your belly button up to the sky one a string). You can also do some twists, or a vinyasa through Hero's pose or Child's pose, just make sure to warm up your core & back.

Angus and Julia Stone: Paper Aeroplane
Music: Gotta say "mmmmm, mmhhhmmm" as you vinyasa along to this fun and mellow tale of an meandering paper airplane carrying a love note.
Yoga: Transition through down dog, rocking your hips back & forth or making a pedaling motion through your feel. Walk your feel up to a forward fold, slowly roll up and from a standing Mountain pose we'll do some sun salutations. Inhale reach up; exhale Forward Fold; inhale right foot back into a lunge; hold your breath into Plank; exhale lower down knees, chest, chin; inhale Upward Facing Dog; exhale Downward Facing Dog; inhale right foot forward into a lunge; exhale Forward Fold; inhale slow roll up to stand.
Repeat with the left leg leading

Temper Trap: Sweet Disposition
Music: A great song for when you start getting into poses that become a little more taxing, heighten your heart rate, or a vinyasa that involves constant movement. I find the driving beat helps me stay up and focused on moving forward. Plus I can always flash to the montage from 500 Days of Summer in my head, to take me to a happy place.
Yoga: Here, you can start a vinyasa between Warrior 1, Head-to-Knee pose, Warrior 3, and Toppling Tree on each side. If you have some extra time you can also do a balance in Tree pose.

Phoenix: Rome (Neighbours Mix)
Music: Neighbours takes this rocking french band's song and slows it down, cutting some lyrics to turn what was an upbeat nostalgic love-song to past youth, into a melancholic reflection that "I never loved you. And if I loved you, I wouldn't say it. I'm sorry." The melody and beat are calm enough not to pull you out of whatever you're doing but interesting enough to give you something to focus on if you need a distraction from the poses.
Yoga: Here we can get into plank pose, then rotating first to your right arm on the ground, left side & arm extended up; then switch sides. Next lie on your back and lift your legs up as high as possible, supporting your back in Shoulder Stand. Hold here for a minute, then you can bend your legs slightly, bring them over your head and get into Plow pose, if you want (make sure to protect your back here). Slowly roll down and then do either bridge or wheel for a back bend.

Matt Corby: Coloured Stones and Walls
Music: I've posted on this song before but it's just such a wonderful song to with either start your practice or listen to as you get into some of the deeper, less taxing stretches, like pigeon or supine twist (lying on your back, arms spread, bringing your knees to one side then the other) bringing your heart-rate back down and preparing for savasana.
Yoga: Here I like a nice sequence staring in pigeon, then sitting up and rolling down onto your front hip, bending the back leg into a quad stretch (you can do bound pigeon here if you want instead). Release the back leg, swing it around to the bent front knee for a hamstring stretch. Then bend the straight leg bringing that foot to the outside of the front knee for a hip stretch. Hug the knee in & twist the opposite way for a back stretch., Transition through hands and knees to the other side. After that, lie on your back and try some supine twists to prepare for savasana.

Yogini: Bliss
Music: This has been my favorite music for savasana after a good workout, and at around 11:00 minutes you can go through the full 10 minute savasana without having a change of music jolt you out of your thoughts (however, at $9.99 for the single track on iTunes, I will continue to use YouTube to listen to this one).
Yoga: As you return to your deep belly-breathing, focus on what worked for you in the last bit of time spent practicing yoga, did you feel especially flexible, strong, balanced, or centered? Think about how you can apply that to the rest of your week. You can also use this time to inhale a positive value into your heart center through the crown of your head, maybe Patience, Determination, Kindness, Empathy. Once you're so full of this value you might burst, exhale it to the world around you, or wherever you need it most, or to a person you want to share it with.
After a little less than 10 minutes, wiggle your toes and fingers, come back into wakefulness and slowly transition to a seated position. Take a moment of gratitude for the fact you were just able to physically do something not everyone can, and bring your hands into your heart center.

Hopefully you now feel fantastic and ready for whatever the next moment brings!



1 comment:

P!nky said...

Totally marking this for at home yoga practicing! namaste :)