Silence is Golden

What’s wrong with silence in savasana? Or silence throughout class? Do you use music in yoga or do you believe that silence is golden?

As for me, it depends. I seem to have a foot in both camps. In my earlier days of teaching, I used to agonise over music for each class, structuring playlists and seeking out the perfect tracks but over the past few years that’s changed. I realised recently that in the majority of my classes now I don’t play music at all. In some instances this was a conscious choice, in others it was circumstances, like having no access to a stereo. I always have silence in savasana though – that’s a non-negotiable for me when I’m teaching. As a student I enjoy music in yoga classes – it depends on the class in question – though I find music in savasana too stimulating (and it makes me stroppy!)

If most of my classes now are music-free, why am I still playing music in others? I have no explanation other than because it seems to feel right for those particular classes. I’ve also noted that these tend to be my longest established classes, so maybe there’s a feeling of a precedent being set with the inclusion of music? Or is it attachment on my part? Or assumed expectations of the students?

At one class, the stereo broke down one week so I taught without music. I apologised at the start, explaining that there would be no music today. My voice provided the soundtrack along with the noises of weights being thrown to the ground in the body pump class next door. At the end of that class one of the regular attendees approached me and said, “Don’t worry about the music – you really don’t need it.” Moments later, someone else told me the class felt very strange without music and that they missed it (even though I use pretty much the same playlist for this class each week).

When used mindfully, I feel that music can be a positive and powerful tool for many people. A well-placed song can, like a yoga prop, help to support one’s practice. But I accept that for as many practitioners who love music with their yoga there will be just as many who hate it and believe it has no place in a yoga class.

You can’t please everybody. Can we agree to disagree?

Paula Hines is a London-based yoga teacher and writer (

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