bach meets yoga: pose & flow with a baroque master

Musician & yoga teacher Rachel Cama (photo by Becky Oehlers, via

Musician & yoga teacher Rachel Cama (photo by Becky Oehlers, via

There’s nothing new or innovative about yoga classes accompanied by live or recorded music of all genres. Perennial faves, however, tend to be remixed sanskrit chants, world music, or yoga-centric artists like MC Yogi.

But a radio station in New York City is putting a new twist on the yoga-plus-music phenomenon. WQXR, NYC’s only all-classical radio station, is bringing an exclusively-curated J.S. Bach playlist to yoga studios as part of its Bach 360°Festival, running March 21-31. The playlist apparently “taps into the introspective nature of Bach’s music, a perfect marriage with yoga’s contemplative flow so you can downward dog and sun salute all the way through the Baroque period.”

Two playlists have been created by a certified yoga instructor for practitioners to enjoy in either restorative or vinyasa classes. Participating NYC studios include Yogaworks, Moksha, Upper West Side Yoga and the 92nd Street Y. Find dates, times, classes and playlists on the WQXR website.

If you can’t get yourself to New York City before the end of March, roll out your mat and practice alongside Glenn Gould’s performance of The Aria, from Bach’s “Goldberg Variations.”

  1. Fantastic!
    Bach largely embodies ishvara pranidana (?spelling)
    And is “god” to many musicians
    The Goldberg variations take you on a journey around the world to end up in the same place, but all seems different because of that journey
    When the music ends, the space or residue is just beautiful

  2. Oh, I like that a lot and such a good change of pace from the music so many of the classes use!

    I love Baroque in general. And especially JS Bach

  3. I think this is a totally great idea, too, but I also feel it may underserve Bach’s music. to really absorb the magnificent complexity of his counterpoint, you need to engage it attentively. and i know, after playing music for hundreds of yoga classes, that yogis do not engage attentively to music (nor should they). music for yoga class is most successful when it operates like spatial design; a constant presence that reinforces a mental quality without operating as a distraction. But Bach SHOULD be a distraction. His music should draw the mind into a fictional universe; a narrative of pure ideals. Yoga, on the other hand, draws the mind into the body, and thus into a ‘now-ness’ as cleansed of fictions as possible.

  4. Enjoyed reading about this very much, Roseanne. I do agree with LiveYogaMusic that Bach deserves undivided attention. But I don’t see why the two are mutually exclusive. The more one listens in a variety of ways, the closer one gets to the pure ecstatic realization of the music. Here is my approach:

    10 Things I Learned from Listening to All 27 Mozart Piano Concertos.


  5. I generally listen to classical music when I practice. The other day, I was thinking about how perfect Bach is for yoga. I am glad someone is doing something like this. Isaac Stern’s violin pieces are also amazing practice music. I like ‘Humoresque.’ 🙂

  6. PS If you practice solo, which I often do, you can merge yourself with the music and it’s become simultaneously transformational & therapeutic.