Molly and I chose songs for the playlist based on their tempi, just as we did with our first playlist in October; however, this month we decided to maintain a more consistent tempo throughout the session instead of varying the tempo to energize and relax students at particular points in the class.
Over the weekend I did a short email interview with Molly, and I started by asking about the reason for creating a playlist with a fairly steady tempo.
The steady BPM that dominated the majority of this most recent yoga playlist created a level of intensity and focus that carried through the main portion of the class. Rather than building up to a peak, slowing down slightly, building to another peak, and eventually moving toward a cooling, slower section as we did in our previous playlist, I wanted the music to contribute more directly to a sense of evenness and balance.
How did this playlist complement the flow of the session you planned?
As in the earlier playlist, the first piece [Serenade for Strings, I. Moderato by Dvořák] complemented a gentle introduction of movement to the body. This is especially important in morning classes, when our bodies are just starting to wake up. I used these initial movements to introduce the focus of the class, which was shoulders and backbends. We did a few shoulder rolls and shoulder stretches from a seated position.
As the BPM rose, we repeated similar shoulder work while moving more actively through Sun Salutations. The consistent BPM added a level of stability to the class when internal heat generated by the Sun Salutations, or Vinyasas, allowed us to play with shoulder movement in balance postures and unexpected variations.
As the practice moved toward seated postures and backbends, the steady BPM reflected an effort to maintain a steadfast focus. In backbends, one can feel exposed or vulnerable, but the steadiness of the surrounding music served as a tool to finding internal equanimity. From the peak of the backbend work during the Pulcinella, we slowly worked our way down through a simple inversion, a restorative hip opening position, and a quiet Savasana [corpse pose].
What was your favorite piece in the playlist and why?
My favorite piece was definitely the Mock Morris. It is such a charming, joyful piece that I found it a perfect place to practice Navasana [boat pose], one of the harder, strength postures. It’s hard to feel frustrated or tired (or angry at the teacher making you do Navasana again) when such a charming piece is playing.
When can people hear this playlist at Bend Yoga in the future?
I’m planning to play it again at this week’s class [Wednesday, December 18 at 7:15 a.m.] and would be happy to use it again, whenever students want to hear music.
Due to the holidays, we will not be publishing new posts on Musical Living until Tuesday, January 7. Be sure to come back then, and if you’re interested in helping determine the topics we write about in the New Year, don’t forget to take our poll. In the meantime, you can also check out Molly’s classes to practice yoga with the playlist.