In the words of the famous yoga teacher B.K.S. Iyengar, “Yoga is like music: the rhythm of the body, the melody of the mind, and the harmony of the soul create the symphony of life.” But what do yoga and music – two seemingly different art forms – have in common? The first thing that comes to anybody’s mind is Harmony. While yoga is all about bringing the body in perfect sync with one’s breathing, music is all about bringing the note in sync with the rhythm. How are they connected? Both yoga and music are systems that are rooted in the phenomena of vibration and resonance, and both strive to create awareness through these.
Is it possible to creating a symphony by combining the two? It is possible, and many yogis and yoga teachers have successfully done that.
In fact, the nerve centre of yoga is the word “AUM” or ‘OM’, believed to be the first ever sound in the universe. The chanting of that word brings in the soothing effect of music. However, it is only in the recent years that music has found its way into yoga classes and practices. The music depends on the kind of yoga being practiced, but care should be taken to ensure that music supports the practice rather than distract. The choice of music is very critical to the practice, as the practitioner should feel the music rather than hear it.
Both yoga and music are great healers, and have a calming effect on the mind. Music matters in yoga mostly to set an emotional or passionate tone to the practice. Bringing them together only amplifies the effect. The resultant experience can both be extremely relaxing and powerful. Both yoga and music act as stress-busters and help rejuvenate your mind and body. Performing yoga in an environment filled with music will ring in positive vibrations, thereby helping keep the mind fresh. We may not be entirely aware of it, but the human mind is influenced by the sounds in the environment. For example, instead of doing meditation in silence, playing some relaxing music can calm our volatile thoughts and allow us to find stillness in the mind which is the goal of meditation. While doing asanas, transitioning from one pose to the next feels really good and effortless when it is accompanied by beautiful music.
Imagine the soothing effect that music could have on frayed nerves and a stressed mind, and how relaxing it would be when you are able to align your body, mind and breathing to the lilting sound of music that plays in the background. This harmony could take the experience to a whole new level. Add to this the reverberating sound of AUM, and it is the bliss that a stressed mind would yearn for! Music is also a powerful tool to augment meditation practice.
Music has a great effect on the mental state of human beings as it and it brings peace, concentration, and relaxation, which are the principles of yoga and meditation. Similarly, yoga techniques such as breath control and mental concentration also have their connection to vocal music. Many professional singers do practise regular yoga and Pranayams to keep their voice in perfect shape. Ultimately, the connection between yoga and music is one of a shared philosophy, and not just a circumstantial one.