Most of my background and training is in alignment-based yoga. During my two main trainings, accompanying music was discouraged. I didn’t play it for a long time in my teaching, but my love for music in my life and my own practice has won the long-fought battle. (Overstatement? Perhaps) So, here it is, that classic yoga blog post about the quintessential playlist for your prenatal yoga practice. As a former mix tape devotee, I couldn’t resist. (All of you who read WAY too into the lyrics on the Pearl Jam and REM songs your boyfriend put on your playlist, I see you.)
A few of my students have asked me for some of these songs, and a few have asked for good songs for labor. I know I spent my share of time trolling the internet for the perfect soundtrack for my own birth experience. Here’s the thing. For labor, I’d create a number of musical soundtracks to accompany you. While I normally am a bit of a singer-songwriter junkie during my regular non-birthing life, the only thing I wanted to hear during my own labor was Krishna Das on repeat. As with much of labor and birth, it’s hard to really know what will feel (or sound) right, until you’re in it. Create a few soundtracks for your own labor and go with what works that day. Salt N Pepa’s “Push It” may sound fun while you’re packing your hospital bag, but soothing instrumentals (or complete silence) may turn out to be more up your alley.
Here are a few selections that inspire my practice, my teaching, remind me of the reasons we experience labor, and the profound experience of mothering. All in a gosh darn song.
Wonder Colin Meloy
The lead singer of the Decemberists captures, what I imagine to be the experience of many first time dads during their partner’s pregnancy. What a weird and wonderful thing it is, indeed.
All of us have hopes and dreams for our children, born and unborn. Knowing that there will be hardships and joys, I want my children to always feel empowered to show up, for their friends, family, themselves.
Forever Young Rhiannon Middens and Sam Beam
Goosebumps. Every time. This cover of the Bob Dylan classic is amazingly beautiful.
Higher Love James Vincent McMorrow
Another cover, this song speaks to the challenges readily apparent in the world but, also, a faith in something bigger than us. That moment, when you first greet your baby, is way bigger than anything I have, or will ever again, experience.
An incredibly life-affirming song. Like a musical shot of oxytocin.
Biting Your Tail Iron and Wine
Oh, Sam Beam. A kind of benediction that reminds us of the dichotomies that exist within us all, and the real wisdom that can be gained from that acknowledgement.
Comfort Deb Talan
I mentioned this song in my last post, and picture singing it to my daughter (with a voice like Deb Talan’s and my daughter not totally cringing with embarrassment). Life is hard, life is wonderful, thank goodness we’re all connected.
Not a Lullaby The Weepies
It actually kind of is a lullaby.
Dream Priscilla Ahn
Way less depressing than “The Circle Game” by Joni Mitchell, Dream also touches on life’s path, in a way that feels powerful, hopeful, and honest.
ReTurning Jennifer Berezan
A playlist in and of itself, this healing chant to the “Mother of Us All,” always provides a sense of solidarity, community and support for the journey of pregnancy, labor and motherhood.
Ra Ma Da Sa Snatam Kaur
This soothing, beautiful song is a lovely way to end any practice.