I have been holding onto an Ashtanga Yoga manual for over a year now and just recently cracked it open for my morning yoga practice. Originating from Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, I was introduced to it as part of my morning sadhana during a yoga teacher training a couple of weeks ago. Ever since then I have been hooked to the practice, which is much more challenging than my usual practice.
It is not the physical aspect of the poses that actually challenge me, it's the focus and breath work that is required of Ashtanga yogis. As it turns out music is not usually a part of this practice. Practicing with a group made it easier for me to not use music, however, the first time I practiced alone I immediately turned on my Bon Iver Spotify station for motivation. The past few times though I decided to ditch the music and practice in silence.
I quickly learned that silence is a beautiful thing and I find myself practicing alone more and more without music. Here are 5 reasons why my practice is going silent.
Practicing in silence makes you much more aware of your surrounding environment. Create a nurturing environment by lighting incense, display Himalayan salt lamps, diffuse essential oil and invest in indoor plants.
Without music I am much more mindful of the way I am moving my body. Whether it is a faster Vinyasa flow or a steady, focused Ashtanga practice my body is moving at its own pace, rather than to the beat of music.
Practicing in silence magnifies the sound of the breathe and consciously reminds you to breathe. I am guilty of holding my breathe and the silence reminds me of what I am missing as move from one asana to another.
Ever get the urge to dance when your favorite tune comes on in Downward Facing Dog? I'm not much of a dancer, but I will do anything to try and match the beat of the song, like snapping my fingers during a yoga class. The second this happens my focus diminishes and retreats back to the way it was at the start of practice.
Excluding music leaves nothing but you, your yoga practice and the mat. I feel much more appreciative of yoga without music and the benefits my body and mind receive from it.
*See Good Reads section for Ashtanga Yoga Practice Manual by Doug Swenson