Yoga Music: Benefits + 6 Free Yoga Playlists for Any Practice

It’s often said that ‘silence is golden’ – but if you’re anything like me, your yoga practice just wouldn’t be the same without the right music bringing the atmosphere and ambiance.

I’ve spent years sifting through the hundreds of yoga playlists out there. I’ve heard the good, the bad, and the downright ugly (honestly – you wouldn’t believe some of it).

So that you don’t have to do the same, I’m sharing with you 8 of the best yoga playlists I’ve found over the years, suitable for any yoga practice.

Yup, whether it’s restorative, Vinyasa, Bikram, or just simple meditation and breathwork, I’ve got you covered.

In this article on yoga playlists, we’ll walk you through:

  • The benefits of using yoga music
  • 3 tips to pick the right yoga playlist for your practice.
  • 6 yoga playlists for every kind of yoga practice.

Ready?

Let’s flow.

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3 Reasons why You Should use yoga Playlists

First questions first, why incorporate yoga playlists into your practice?

The benefits of yoga music are too many to list, so here are our favorite 3:

#1: Mood

Benefit number one: listening to music during yoga can help lift your mood and make your practice more enjoyable.

There are hundreds, if not thousands of studies out there documenting the wonderful benefits of music for improving mood and mental health.

They show that the right music can calm your physiology without any conscious effort. This includes reducing stress, lowering your heart rate, releasing feel-good-endorphins, and slowing your breathing.

Part of the reason music has these effects is down to the atmosphere it creates. Be this serene and peaceful, or upbeat and energizing, music can transform the environment of your yoga practice, making the stresses of the world seem a little more manageable.

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These effects make music the perfect partner to yoga – which is all about the union of movement and breath to foster the release of stress and tension.

#2: Motivation

Second on our list of benefits – incorporating music into your yoga practice can boost your motivation.

There are multiple studies evidencing that music is a strong motivator during exercise. People who listen to music during their sessions are able to exercise more intensely and for longer; and are also more likely to stick to their workout routine.

Part of this is because music boosts your mood, which goes hand in hand with boosting your self-confidence and willingness to push yourself. If you’re feeling down and low-energy, you likely won’t have as much self-belief or desire to push yourself.

Another part of music’s motivating effect is due to its power to distract you from those pesky thoughts saying that you can’t go any longer. Even better, music quite literally gives you energy, with many studies showing the energizing effect of upbeat, positive music.

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This is especially good for beginner yogis or those who are having difficulty sticking to a regular yoga routine – it’s all about maximizing motivation and enjoyment.

#3: Performance

Last, but by no means least on the list of benefits is that listening to music during your yoga practice can improve your performance.

We’ve established that music boosts your mood and motivates you to practice yoga more often, for longer, and more deeply – and all of this combines to have an amazing effect on your performance.

Being more motivated means you practice more regularly – and with practice comes improvement. Over time, you will become stronger, your balance will improve, your breathwork will deepen, amongst many other improvements.

And because during music-filled sessions your endurance is improved and you’re more likely to push yourself, these improvements will likely happen even faster.

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Oh, and also, music can help guide the tempo and movements of your yoga session. Good yoga playlists will have music with the right BPM to provide super useful timing cues to guide your breathing, movements, posture holding, and more.

Convinced to add a yoga playlist to your routine yet?

3 tips to pick the right yoga playlist.

So, what should you look for when trying to pick the right yoga playlist for your practice? In general, I match my yoga playlists to my practice based on three things:

#1: What BPM do I need?

BPM is crucial to selecting a yoga playlist that matches the style and intentions of your session.

It’s also rare to want the same BPM throughout your entire session. Instead, find a playlist that matches the phases of your routine, such as the warm-up, savasana, and flow.

In general, you’re looking for a yoga playlist with songs at BPMs that will set the tempo of the session and guide your movements accordingly.

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For example, a restorative yoga session will demand a slow-tempo yoga playlist that fosters a peaceful environment. A power flow class, on the other hand, will want a playlist that is much more upbeat and energizing.

Things that don’t work include any music with abrupt changes in time signature, such as free-form jazz, as well as music that varies widely in intensity, like a lot of indie rock. 

#2: What mood am I trying to create?

As with BPM, you may want to create various different moods at different phases in your yoga session – for example, the mood during your warm-up will be different from that of your flow, and the mood you want for your savasana will be different still.

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Do you want the mood to be relaxing or energizing? or maybe both? Should it be healing or make you want to dance?

Some people can find songs with words distracting, so this is also something to take into consideration – think of whether it’s worthwhile sticking with purely instrumental or whether you simply need the right balance of words/instrumental.

#3: How long does the yoga playlist need to be?

There’s nothing worse than being halfway through your yoga routine and the music stops. You have to exit your pose which disrupts your flow and mindset, to sift through playlists finding one 5 minutes later.

To avoid this disruption, the playlist should be at least as long as the length of your session. Alternatively, if you’re set on a shorter playlist, then make sure you queue another before you start your yoga practice.

6 Yoga playlists for every kind of yoga practice.

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#1: New Earth Moods – Indian Yoga Music

Opening with probably my favorite playlist of them all, the New Earth Moods playlist is beautifully traditional and incredibly versatile, suited to pretty much every style of yoga practice.

It’s fairly upbeat at times, so some may find some songs a little too energizing for slow breathwork, yin, or restorative yoga, however, at two hours long, there are at least 20 minutes of slower songs suited to these styles.

Check the playlist here:

#2: Calming Music and Nature Sounds

We love this playlist! With a beautiful collection of nature sounds ranging from birdsong to ocean waves to forest sounds, this playlist is super calming and centering, perfect for slower practices such as meditation, slow breathwork, yin, restorative, and Yoga Nidra.

Plus, at over 22 hours long, you could quite literally practice all day to the calming music and nature sounds playlist. The songs transition super seamlessly from one song to the next, meaning there are no distracting jumps to break your focus.

Check the playlist here:

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#3: Ashtanga Primary Playlist

This yoga playlist is the perfect fusion of contemporary beats and traditional Indian sounds to energize you and keep you feeling strong and centered during upbeat sequencings such as your vinyasa, Bikram, Mysore, or other Ashtanga yoga sequences.

There are pretty much no lyrical vocals on this playlist, so it’s a great choice for those who find music with words a little distracting during their yoga practice.

Plus, at almost two hours long, you can practice your sun salutations to your heart’s content. They’ve also nicely tapered the playlist so that the songs become slower towards the end, perfect for your savasana.

Check the playlist here:

Related Articles: Ashtanga Yoga Explained | Mysore Yoga Explained: A Complete Guide

#4: Energizing Yoga

The Energizing Yoga playlist does exactly what the title promises, offering just under two hours’ worth of yoga songs to leave you feeling vitalized and motivated.

Something that we love about this playlist is that it really nails the balance between lyrical and instrumental songs. They’re all upbeat without being overly stimulating, great for the fast dynamic flows of Hatha, vinyasa, ashtanga, and more.

Related: Best Yoga Music For Kids: 10 Free Playlists

Check the playlist here:

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#5: Acoustic Yoga

From Ben Howard to the Lumineers to Roo Panes, this playlist is packed with beautiful acoustic vocal songs that channel vibes of hopefulness and presentness to accompany your yoga practices.

All the songs are fairly slow and calming, so are best suited to slow sequences and practice such as yin, restorative, gravity yoga, and so on. And at 2 and a half hours long, you’ve got enough songs to go deep into your relaxation.

Check the playlist here:

#6: Restorative Yoga Soul

This is a beautiful playlist combining vocals, instrumentals and healing sounds to foster gratitude, hopefulness, and deep introspection.

They’ve also curated the song order to be kind of like a bell curve, calmer and slower at the beginning and end and more upbeat and energizing in the middle – perfect for progressing from your warm-up, to flow sequence to your final savasana relaxation.

At just over an hour and a half, this playlist is one of the shortest on the list, it’s still long enough for a good lengthed yoga session.

Check the playlist here:

Imagine if you could get the effects of LSD just through changing your breath…

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Photo of author
Tish Qvortrup is a Brighton-born Yogi, with a passion for living intentionally. A Yoga Alliance registered 300hr teacher, she found her calling in Yin and Yang yoga. In her spare time, she loves exploring the outdoors and cooking plant-based goodies.

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