There is no hard or fast rule here. Modern trends have seen the rise in the use of popular music (eg. Coldplay) to match the rhythm of the yoga ‘routine’. While this can be uplifting, it can also have its own drawbacks particularly if it forces a rhythm on the yoga practitioner that doesn’t match their own natural rhythms. What do I mean by this? Yoga should flow with your natural rhythms, starting with your breath. So, when we add popular music as a metronome, this will only work for some people in the class. Just something to keep in mind if you do attend a yoga studio with music like this. Enjoy the music, but stick to your own rhythm. Afterall, yoga is for you, it’s not supposed to be synchronised swimming.
The type of music that is best for yoga practice is honestly whatever music you feel works for you. Many people prefer relaxing instrumentals, and certainly meditative music can support you to relax and find your own rhythm. But that doesn’t mean this is the only choice. You may find that you respond well to your own cultures music while practicing yoga. The traditional music of our ancestors whether that be throat singing, percussion (drums) or folk music may help you connect with another part of yourself.
There really are no rules when it comes to the music you choose for yoga. If you – like someone I know – enjoy hip-hop and rap music, there is no reason you can’t incorporate that into your yoga playlist. You don’t even have to use music at all. If you practice outside you may prefer ‘natures soundtrack’. There is nothing quite like the birds chirping as a breeze rustles the tree’s leaves while you practice your sequence. And, if your setting is more urban, there is nothing wrong with resonating with the sound of tyres on wet streets or the beeps of a pedestrian crossing. Your practice is for you. Choose what is right for you. You may already know what works for you, but if you don’t, try different styles of music or sounds and learn what fits. Enjoy the process!