Yogi Yin tunes

I must say that I’m rather enjoying teaching my Sunday morning Yin yoga class at Bermondsey Fayre, SE1. I’m used to teaching Hatha yoga which involves more movement and you get through a lot more poses.

But Yin places emphasis on stillness and prolonged time in postures to encourage the connective tissue to lengthen. We do some warm up movements such as ‘happy baby’ and ‘cat and cow’ and sometimes the odd bit of partner yoga which is always a giggle. One of the big differences is that I’m playing music in class for the first time. This helps to focus people’s attention as one pose can seem like a lifetime.

Anyone who knows me will know that I’ve always been rather fond of music. Whether it’s singing musicals in the car, chanting sanskrit mantras in satsangs, or having karaoke birthday parties (my favourite karaoke number is Elton and Kiki – Don’t go breaking my heart. A classic, I’m sure you’ll agree). Now let me tell you a secret. Sometimes in class I have to suppress the urge to sing along. It’s true. And that would not be relaxing for students.

I’m spending some time today putting together a playlist for Sunday’s class:

Yin class screen grab from iTunes

Mali Music album cover
Mali Music

It features some yogi stalwarts such as Deva Premal and Jai Uttal, but I’m enjoying throwing in some unexpected ones. Nora Mangiamele taught me to teach Yin and she always started the class with some upbeat numbers. I love Hot Chip and the mysterious dubstep man who was known simply as ‘Burial’ for a long time, like music’s answer to Banksy. One of his tunes is called ‘In McDonalds’ but somehow I didn’t think that was right for yoga.

Mali Music was one of Damon Albarn’s projects, working with musicians in the African country. The album’s happy and the Blur man can do no wrong in my opinion.

I heard about Wah! a few years ago on my first teacher training when a buddy was raving about her. She’s American and her actual name is Wah Devi. Imagine that.

Wah! Maa album cover
Wah! Maa

I was thinking earlier that some of Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells would work well in class so I downloaded Sentinel from iTunes.

And if any of you enjoyed the music from the French film Amelie, you’ve got Yann Tiersen to thank for that. This song Kala isn’t quite so ‘in your face’ as the Amelie soundtrack but still has a quirky feel to it and feels relaxed enough to play in class.

Nusrat Fateh Ali Kahn is a Pakistani musician who’s pretty well known. His music featured in the soundtrack for the film ‘Dead Man Walking’ with Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn. I can see that some people might think that he sounds rather like a wailing man in the throes of death, but I like him. However, I like Take That and some people think that’s ridiculous too. Here’s a song from ‘Dead Man Walking’:

Nora introduced me to Peter Kater and this is the music from the 2006 film, ’10 questions for the Dalai Lama’. In this documentary the film maker interviews His Holiness in Dharamsala, India. The soundtrack has beautiful piano pieces and some feature Tibetan monks chanting mantras. A few years ago I was fortunate enough to visit Dharamsala and Rewalsar Lake in Himachal Pradesh with my Dad and this music instantly transports me back there to monasteries where we sat listening to chanting monks with fantastically long squawky trumpets.

So anyway, feel free to download these songs from iTunes and create your own Yin yoga playlist. Or even better, come along to the class on Sunday and try Yin yoga with me. Contact Bermondsey Fayre to book your place.

Do you have any songs you enjoy playing during yoga? I’m always keen to hear other people’s suggestions. Feel free to leave your comments below…

Chanting monks
Me and my Dad sitting with chanting Tibetan monks (2010)