Teachers: How to Build a Class to a Playlist

There are many ways to sequence a class. Whether you are steering your students towards a peak posture, or simply looking to create a well-rounded full body practice, music can impact the way the class is received by your students. Now, the world of music is vast, and this is a beautiful thing as it allows you to bring your own personal style into the room. No two playlists are exactly alike, so there is an opportunity to create a unique experience for your students with every playlist you create.

Inspiration and Creativity

Creativity is something that we all have inside of us and what it’s all about is finding out, how do we unlock that creativity? Music inspires me. It ignites the creative side of my brain and ideas start to flood in. More often than not, I will hear a specific song, and that’s where I begin to structure my class. Whether that song is upbeat or mellow yellow, I will build around it until I’ve created a mixed tape that is LIT.

The Arch Format

Every week, I sit down and begin my quest. There are many ways you can look at infusing music into your class, depending on how you like to teach. We are going to cover The Arch format. Beginning by mastering the arch will naturally guide you into building other structural models such as Peak Posturing or Themed playlists geared towards specific intentional practices like a restorative or yin class.

The Arch is a model where you are aiming to deliver an integrated full body dynamic class. There is a structure to this class, and within that structure, you are reaching to link the right tone of music to create emphasis to the present moment.

  • Centering/Opening  – You want to seek out songs that are slow, but also invigorating. One of my more recent favorites in this category has been Good Life by Masis.

  • Warm Up – As you start to move, the music needs to begin to gradually gather momentum. So you’re looking for the middle of the road songs, not too slow, not too fast. How Did I Get Here by ODESZA would be a great example.

  • Peak – This is where it starts to get really fun, as you get to choose songs that make you want to move. For me (and you know this if you’ve been in my classes), I tend to bring in some oh-so-bad-but excellent pop music music from artists such as Justin Bieber, Rihanna, Kiiara or DJ Snake to name a few. Pop music might not be your jam, so get creative here, maybe you bump Jay-Z or go old-school with the The Doors. There’s no right or wrong here, it’s all about what gets you moving, because your own personal connection to the music will naturally draw the students into the moment.

  • Cool Down – The cool down portion will be similar to what we were looking for in the warm up. Songs to signify to your students that the peak is over and they are on their way towards final relaxation. Decibel by The Analog Affair is a perfect example. Still has a steady beat, but slowing the overall tone.

  • Savasana – I have a pretty strict belief that songs for savasana not have any lyrics at all. Lyrics will take a students mind into the song, and in savasana, we want students to be arriving into stillness. So look for songs that are instrumental, or consider going silent. No music can often evoke as much power as music in this part of the class. If you want music during final relaxation, I would listen to music by Dean Evenson or Jonathan Goldman for inspiration. You’ll be able to find a plethora of ‘yoga music’ out there for this section by simple searches in your specific music platform.

Music Playlist Platforms

Feel free to follow me on Spotify for playlists designed within this format. Spotify is my platform of choice but there are many other options available such as YouTube Red, Apple Music or Pandora Radio. I can’t stress strongly enough avoiding any ads playing through the speakers during your class. Purchasing a premium account is worth it’s weight in gold.

Upcoming Sequencing Class

I’ll be teaching sequencing concepts in my upcoming Teacher Training module at Ashland Hot Yoga located in Ashland, Oregon March 4th and 5th. If you are interested in learning more about sequencing techniques, click here for more information. If you’re unable to attend that specific workshop but would like more information feel free to reach out to me at lindseyholy@gmail.com.

Play on.

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