The Music You Listen To Can Enhance Your Meditation

Listening to music while practicing yoga is more of a controversial idea than you might expect. For some people, it just seems to work; for others, it’s a distraction. What’s most important is to select music that you enjoy listening to and music which serves the purpose you’re trying to achieve.

One of the most beneficial effects of almost all sorts of music is to enhance movement. When practicing yoga, some poses can feel difficult or uncomfortable, especially while a practitioner is in the earlier stages of learning. Listening to music can increase the sense of grace and ease which is sought, easing transitions between postures and improving the physical benefits. Listening to music while practicing yoga can also help us to relax and not strain. Yoga is about doing our best while we relax and not comparing ourselves with others. Becoming more relaxed with music is an ideal way to do this.

Mindfulness Meditation and Music

Surprisingly, “meditation music” has become a popular phrase lately, since music is traditionally considered a distraction that has no place in meditation. Meditation methods which focus on mantras and breathing are certainly interrupted by music, but the most popular form of meditation in the West is mindfulness, which is actually quite compatible with music.

Meditation and yoga are different practices, but the impact of music in helping us to relax is similar in both practices. Music can be used as a backdrop, which adds context to one’s thoughts and feelings, for example, by creating a positive mood and helping us to move past emotional obstacles to mindfulness. It’s rather like the sound of a gong, which can help us transcend our thoughts to a state of inner peace.

Low Variation, High Consistency of Sounds

Musical variation is the repetition of parts of a piece of music in a different form, for example a melody or rhythm altered but the bar or phrase is recognizable as something we’ve already heard. Variation tends to increase the extent to which music is interesting, giving us more to think about, more to notice. Variation can be insistent; we expect to hear a certain melody repeated, and the subtle difference draws our attention. This can make highly varied music distracting when we’re trying to achieve a state of peace and relaxation. Sacred music tends to be conservative in its variation, designed more to soothe and exalt, but not jump out at a listener. With less potential for distraction and more consistency, sacred music can be perfect for both yoga and meditation.

Tempo is also a major factor. A bit more self-explanatory than variation, higher tempo creates a sense of energy, excitement and urgency, while lower tempo creates a sense of peace and relaxation. Not all meditation and yoga aim at relaxation, but the relaxation focus is a standard place to start. The introduction of pleasant sound distractions can actually help one ease into this type of practice.

Music Becomes the Meditation

Every spiritual tradition is different on the surface, but most spiritual music endeavors to clear the mind of unwanted tendencies, while cultivating the positive ones through awakening an awareness of greater oneness with divinity and refinement of one’s emotions. Music can be used to enhance meditation, but may be more valuable for  most people as meditation. As a background, music can create upliftment without a strong positive context. As a foreground, music can function more like a mantra, providing a content of focus for the mind to edge out other distractions.

There are as many types of sacred music as there are spiritual traditions in the world. Music is such an integral part of being human that every tradition or human grouping has developed their own style. I’ve yet to meet a person who doesn’t enjoy music.

Michael Vakil Kenton is a commentator on interfaith, global peace and harmony and the founder of Sacred Music Radio. For more details or to listen live visit

See also:
Sounds Of Healing
Do-It-Yourself Sound Healing Session

Find New England holistic Vibrational Healing practitioners in the Spirit of Change online directory.