I love Christian rock. Especially for yoga class. Why does it fit so well? Positivity is what it is all about!
Yesterday a former American Idol contender, Colton Dixon, released his first album entitled A Messenger. After listening to a few clips I downloaded a track called “Love Has Come to Me” and immediately added it to my playlist for the day. After a few listens, I was hooked, I didn’t want to hear anything else in my ears. This song was breath. Like a child I played it over and over on repeat and since have downloaded the entire album. The last song to hit me like this was “When the Saints” by Sarah Groves. They are two very different songs, but they have one thing in common, they are categorized as Christian or Inspirational.
I have always loved Christian music. It is uplifting and makes my soul soar in ways few other genres can do. I believe those who write music for God write with the pens of angels. Though the melodies might not always be the most original and they are often full of cliches, the lyrics are comforting and the drums beat like thousands of hearts in sink. Even after a thousand listens, the thousandth and one can still bring new meaning to punch you in the gut over again. I concede that a lot of my love for this music is nostalgic, raised as a Christian it is familiar and comforting. Still it has value outside the church. It has value in the secular world. But what about using it during a yoga class.
Now I love me some sanskrit chants. Krishna Das breaks me open and has me singing along with him each time. I love a good sitar scale. However, I do not find it against the yogic principles to use other music during practice. Some may argue music has no place in practice, and this may be true. Maybe in the end the goal is to sit with your emotions without the aid of an orchestra. Maybe. I like to mix it up.
Creating yoga playlists is one of my favorite parts of my job and the one I feel the most responsibility towards (besides not injuring my students). When yogis walk through the doors of the studio they put not only their physical but their emotional body in my care. For me, and many others, the first way deep into my emotions is through music. When people walk into class, in order to go inside, they must become invisible to others. Then they become amplified, their experience becoming larger and larger to themselves alone. Swelling violins and racing drums can get you there quick. In this state it would be easy to abuse their emotions with negative or destructive music.
I have often found myself placing music from the Christian genre with ambiguous messages into my playlists. I’m not the first to do this, TV shows and movies often use this technique (one I remember is using Plumb in Drive Me Crazy, I actually bought the album having no clue of its deeper message). Christian songs are written to bring people to God, whether they mention it or not. The lyrics are meant to bring the message of Love in a safe but catchy way. We can all use more messages of Love in our day, and this is why I use the music.
I do make sure that the language is “safe.” That it is mostly devoid of the word Jesus or Christ or common Christian phrases. This is not because I am ashamed to bring these to others, however I do not know anyone’s history with religion and would not want to trigger any negative emotions or thoughts. This may seem somewhat strange since most of the Sanskrit chants are filled with names of Hindu gods. Although it is possible that there may be someone in the room who has had a negative experience with Krishna, sadly, in this America we are living in it is much more likely that someone has had contact with Christ.
There is much to be gained by surrounding yourself with positive uplifting music, books and people. It makes the practice of yoga as you walk throughout your day much less of a burden and more of an extension of the joy you feel from the beauty that surrounds you. Try out the songs I have below and see if you can bring a little more light to your day. Whether you be Christian, Jewish, atheist or agnostic, there’s nothing wrong with a good melody and a message of love.
What do you think? Can you enjoy Christian inspirational music regardless of your religious feelings?