“Just like yoga, music has the ability to support, change, and balance out emotions,” says the Hollywood hip-hop producer-turned-mixmaster, who began deejaying at yoga festivals after getting his teaching certification at Santa Monica Yoga in 2009.
According to Drez, there’s an art to compiling the perfect yoga soundtrack. “The secret ingredient is music that calms without making one sleepy, drives without overdoing, and is emotional without being specific to a particular theme,” he explains.
Drez’s 5 Rules for Creating the Perfect Practice Playlist
1) Instrumental tunes are always a great option.
There are no words that trigger wanted or unwanted thoughts. Even if there is a popular song that you’d like to use, you can most likely find the instrumental version as an alternative.
2) Use music that complements the sequencing.
I have been in classes where the flow of the asana does not match the music being played. Thumping beats don’t make much sense in Dandasana (Staff Pose), for example. When using music, one should always consider why they want to use it. Make sure that what is selected will enhance the practice, not take away from it.
3) Avoid songs that people are listening to in the car.
People have many experiences throughout the day, and the music they play in the car becomes the soundtrack to those experiences. When you come to yoga, it’s an opportunity for a fresh start, a discovery, an opportunity to awaken to the present. Hearing the soundtrack to outside experiences can disrupt those opportunities.
4) Know when a song isn’t working and how to fade it with grace.
Just because it is the next song on your playlist doesn’t mean it has to play if it’s not working. Sometimes fading to silence or fading and skipping the song while continuing the practice is more appropriate and less disruptive.
5) Sometimes, choose silence.
Don’t use music as a crutch. That goes for both teachers and students. Music is a magical and beautiful tool, but practicing in silence is often what people need.
Excerpt from Yoga Journal Article DJ Drez’s 5 Rules for Creating the Perfect Practice Playlist by Dana Meltzer Zepeda