Krishna Das, Moby, and Sanskrit chants are the norm in most vinyasa flow classes. An “edgy” teacher will play folk music, pop rock (yuck), reggae, and island style music. In the 1000 yoga classes I’ve attended, I have not heard one ambient yoga album played.
Ambient artists destroy the paradigm of yoga music by having no boundaries on their work. None to my knowledge are a part of any school of thought, which gives ultimate freedom to their music. The best ambient albums for yoga are masterpieces that transcend the religious music of yoga. For meditation, asana practice, and day to day activities, (real life yoga) this music can elevate your mood, practice, and awareness.
The albums listed below changed my life forever. I was an addict for mindless hip hop, fast paced rock, and fast paced electronic music. Ambient music alongside jazz and Indian classical music helped me kick that negative music. My new musical library improved my happiness, productivity, and social life.
Most yogis hate electronic music. However, their knowledge of electronic is limited to the radio, seeing rave kids, and what they hear in a bar/club. The ambient artists in this article make little to no money. Yogas power manifested album ideas inside their soul, and their beautiful albums are the act of God’s creativity flowing through them.
Approach ambient music as a tool, not an escape or crutch to your yoga practice. Use it sparingly, and have an open mind to how each album makes you feel. Music is a powerful life enhancer, and music inspired by yoga can create a euphoria and awareness you never knew existed.
1. The Bhaktas Cosmic Mantra Reincarnated
If you’re new to the ambient scene, this will be a grand introduction. Krishna Das teamed up for a song to do an ambient hybrid on his work. Throughout the album, top mantra chanters/singers are infused with eastern instruments and ambient backgrounds. All yogis should listen to this album to understand ambient music’s potential. The album was mixed by ambient artist Vincent Villuis who is a leader in the community. I can say nothing more about this album except that it is the purest ambient album for yoga classes, meditation, and contemplation.
2. Man of No Ego – Blinkers Removed
A Man of No Ego put together a masterpiece for yoga practitioners. Blinkers Removed sprinkles Osho quotes throughout eastern influenced tracks. Osho, a revered modern yoga, and Buddhist philosopher, is a perfect choice to overlay this album.
There is a systematic placement of the quotes in low and high points. The last song, Shadow of a Breath, is the ultimate yoga influenced ending to an ambient album I’ve ever heard. A trio of Indian Chanting, Osho speaking profound quotes, and a hypnotic beat cement this album at the top for ambient albums for yoga. Listen to the new remastered version while doing yoga, meditating, or relaxing.
An Osho quote in the album sums up the ambient yoga music experience perfectly.
“Listen to the gaps
Between the words
Listen to the emptiness
Between the lines
Listen to me not what I say
Then an understanding will arise
And suddenly like a flash of lightening
You will be able to see me
And the original that is right now happening before you”
3. Carbon Based Lifeforms – World Full of Sleepers
World Full of Sleepers is what hooked me on ambient music. Our mundane existence, which is asleep to the energetic world around us, is challenged in the first four songs. The album explores the path of awakening, then the contemplation of the dreaming society around us. Moving through the eight limbs of yoga to awaken is the same process this album advocates.
The album starts with Albogensis, which means the first forms of life evolving from inorganic matter. It is a call to awaken to a world outside of society.
The third song in the album, photosynthesis, is one of my favorite songs of all time in any genre. An eerie voice chimes throughout the song
“What about the forest?”
We are in a World Full of Sleepers, who have no regard about the forests and plant kingdom. In all our life pursuits and day to day actions do we ever ask
“What about the forest?”
The second half of the album depicts the act of taking action in this world as an awakened being. A dark tone starts to permeate through songs like erratic patterns and Flytta Dig. Carbon Based Lifeforms are based out of Sweden and Flytta Dig translates to “Move over”. We have realized the duality of our new life in “Proton and Electron” and now have to make rash decisions to try and change the world. In Erratic Patterns ,we struggle with relapsing in our addiction to join World Full of Sleepers.
Flytta Dig represents the transcendence out of the old addictions and the liberation we gain from that. The end of the album ends on a happy note. The title is Betula Pendula which represents the new tree that we have grown. We have evolved from inorganic matter to the first tree in a soon to be filled forest.
Great album for hiking, meditation, and yoga!
3. Asura – 360
Asura is a Vedic term that is used in the Rig Veda and Bhagavad Gita to describe spiritual entities. A spiritual influence is blatant with album titles such as Radio Universe, Oxygene, Life2, Code Eternity, and Lost Eden. The French-based group is the most active ambient band on this list. Their addition of transient vocals in the song “Atlantis Child” separate them for purely instrumental ambient bands. Asura still attacks the traditional spiritual ambient style on songs such as “Longing for Silence” and “Gestemani.” The build up from minimal sounds to grand explosions are well crafted masterpieces. Keyboard riffs are used throughout this album to build up big moments.
5. Imagika Om- Cosmic Sutras
This album deviates from the simple, minimalist style of the other albums on this list. The use of Indian percussion is utilized to liven the album. In the second song, Kamakhya, beautiful sitar riffs interplay with intense percussion and trippy vocals. Another gem on the album is the track “Breath your Dreams to Life.” A classical ambient, electronic riff plays on eastern elements to create innovative album for yoga practitioners.