Music has the ability to change your entire day. From cleaning the house to uptempo rock to smiling wistfully at memory-evoking love songs, music affects your emotional state and your physical state. You feel your vibe change when the music is just right. Because pairing the right music with the right activity enhances your overall experience. And that applies to meditation, as well.
When to Meditate with Music
You can meditate with music whenever you choose, but there are times when it will be more beneficial than others.
New Practitioners: If you are new to meditation, sitting still with just your thoughts for an extended period of time may feel overwhelming. Using music can help relax you enough to get you into a state of mindfulness. Once you become more accustomed to meditating, you may find that you prefer silence.
Established Practitioners: Even for some experienced practitioners, there are times when you might feel too anxious or fidgety to settle down and meditate. Music can help you focus. Until you have settled down enough to continue on your own, you can listen to soothing music to get into the right state of mind.
Best Types of Music for Meditating
Because meditating is such a highly personal practice, this will differ for each person. But we can all agree that hard rock will not be particularly useful for anyone trying to meditate!
Lyrics can be distracting, so instrumental music will usually be the best choice. You can try tribal, trance, new age, classical, jazz, or anything else that puts you in a relaxed state.
Some of the most relaxing music includes world rhythms (Native American, Celtic, and Tibetan) or instrument-specific music such as drums, flutes, stringed instruments, bells, etc. Try different sounds until you find one that enhances your practice without being a distraction.
You can also meditate using mantra music. The Vedic mantras have vibrational frequencies that pierce the conscious mind to help you reach spiritual enlightenment. When chanted regularly, these ancient sacred sounds can produce a profoundly positive energetic effect.
The Benefits of Meditating with Music
The most apparent benefit of meditating with music is that it will help you relax and reach a deeper state of mindfulness. But there are numerous other benefits.
- Music brings out positive emotions so that you will find greater enjoyment in your meditation practice.
- Music and meditation both work to slow your breathing and heart rate. When combined, this can lead to deeper sleep.
- Meditating while listening to music can decrease your perception of emotional or physical pain.
- Listening to music while you meditate lowers stress levels more than meditation alone. Their combined effect not only reduces tension but can help reduce symptoms of autoimmune diseases and chronic illnesses.
How to Meditate with Music
- Pick your music. Use our suggestions above or search online for music that you think will enhance your practice. Remember that this is deeply personal, so pick songs that feel right for you.
- Choose the right space. Try to find a quiet spot in your home, preferably a room with a door you can close.
- Avoid distractions. Turn off your phone, and if you live with anyone, let them know you will be unavailable.
- Stretch before you begin. You might be sitting for a while, so your muscles might end up getting a little sore. Stretching your hips and releasing any tension in your back will help you be able to sit still for longer.
- Calm your breathing. Even if it’s just for a minute, concentrate and slow your breathing.
- Focus on the music. When other thoughts intrude, gently redirect your mind to the music. Notice how it makes you feel and how your body reacts to each song.
- Create your playlist ahead of time. The last thing you want to do is flip through your phone, trying to find the next song.
- Try to leave a few seconds between each track. This way, if you get distracted by a song, you have time to observe your breath and recover your mindfulness before the next song.
- Include different types of music. Especially when you are first starting to meditate with music, explore other genres. This will help you discover what works best for you.
- Try to time your playlist to be as long as you wish your daily practice to be, so you’re not looking at your watch.
Meditation is a highly personal experience. What works for someone else might not work for you. And while certain types of music, such as bells or Tibetan bowls, seem to be better suited, you might find them too distracting for meditative purposes. In that case, keep experimenting until you find the right fit. There is no “right” or “wrong” when it comes to meditating.