After what I shared (viewable here) another participant, John, had the following to say:
I told myself I would not get involved in this discussion again but it appears to have veered back to the premise that it is our decision as yogis to define what Yoga is, the Sutras define Yoga and it is our responsibility to follow them if we wish to call ourselves Yogis. There is no choice involved, if we want to follow Yoga we follow the Sutras if we want to follow some other discipline or merely our own minds we choose something else. The Yoga Sutras state that Yoga is the ability to focus on one thing without distraction, anything other than the practice, during the practice, i.e. music, is a distraction. Read back in this discussion to see what several of us have stated on this please.
I was actually not certain who this comment aimed at or in response to. I shared the following to clarify my view on the matter:
Thank you John. The ambiguity of who you are actually directing your comments to leaves me a little uncertain how to best reply.
I share the following to clarify my view on the matter.
It is my perception that what you have shared is in accordance with what I have conveyed. You are also referring to a choice, yes? The choice to approach Yoga in one way or another way. We can say that one way is the “true approach” of the Yogi, and one way is not (and different people will have different opinions about which is which)… and this represents a choice. Each choice will have its own consequence.
A “yogic” choice (one which is in accordance with Source) will have a yogic consequence (i.e. a deepening into the inner dimensions of Yoga, through asana, breath, meditation, etc.). A non-yogic choice (i.e. one which is in accordance with the limited and typically unconscious persona) will result in something else. That something else might include a relaxing period of stretching, getting more in touch with one’s body, and so on… and yet it is unlikely to result in the experience of That which is beyond the Manamaya Kosha, or the field of thoughts and emotions (at the very most). Although I get the impression some people mostly experience the Annamaya Kosha, or physical form during yoga classes. This has its own benefits, and is likely, >eventually<, to open out into a more profound experience of Life. It just might take a VERY long time to open into the inner dimension of Yoga (conscious Union with the Divine) through such an approach, but hey, Life is not in a hurry.
On a mundane level one may be under the illusion “I am choosing whether to play lots of music in a yoga class, or not” without realising that this choice is more than just that. At a more profound level it is a choice about so much more. My own experience, and what I have endeavoured to convey in both my messages above is that playing music during yoga practice will more than likely NOT directly enhance or support the practitioner to enter and penetrate into Yoga… into Yogic awareness, or what I refer to as the Field of Yoga.
BUT, each person must begin where they find themself. Of course. Because there are so many yoga classes (in America, at least) during which all kinds of music is played, I can only presume there are many people attending “yoga classes” who are at a place within themselves where having music is what makes it possible or easier for them to to be more present with themselves. Perhaps not as present as the “Yogis” you refer to, but more present than they were otherwise. We each begin where we are. How can it be any other way?
After 29 years of exploring the Field of Yoga, last week was the first time I entered into yoga practice with music playing. It was not for me. I found it held certain of my psychic energies on a level much grosser than what would otherwise be the case, and thus was a hindrance to what I experience as Yoga. I am, however, aware that my mind is not a distraction for me. For many years, “thinking” has not been a distracting habit for me. Thus where some people have said they find the music helps them get out of their mind, or to be less distracted by their “monkey mind”, this is foreign to me. But not to them. Obviously.
Anyway, as I have stated in my first reply above (the one to which Ann Hyland appears to have had some kind of reaction) I personally don’t recommend the use of music in yoga classes. Thus, you and I agree on That.