10 Tips For Creating Your Best Playlists

By Kristen Campbell, with ChristiansDoYoga.com 

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Music has a way of reaching our souls like nothing else can. I get feedback all the time from my students about how they love my playlists! Honestly, building playlists is one of my favorite things to do. Sometimes I even build the playlist before I set the intentions for the class!

It used to take me a really long time to build playlists; I didn’t have a method to the madness. But now I’ve got it mastered! 

Over the years I’ve learned to intuitively build playlists based off the style of the practice, my audience, the energy I’m after, and the message I want to deliver. 

I’ve had a number of other teachers ask me how I build my playlists, and thought I’d share 10 tips to help you continually create your best and most powerful playlists! As with anything I offer, take these as suggestions. Even if you find only a few tips that you love, it’ll be worth the short read. 

These aren’t in any particular order. 


  1. Set the theme or message of the session.

Factoring in the type of offering (power, restorative, etc.) and the intention(s) you’re going to use, what overall theme or message do you want to weave into your class (like peace, joy, healing, freedom, etc)? 

Next you can search for songs with these keywords. Don’t feel like every song in your list has to have the same theme, however. Even just one well placed song with a powerful theme can make a big difference. 

For strong intention experiences, end with a song wrapped around that intention. Sometimes I’ll begin the warm up with another song that’s related to the intention, but I rarely use songs with words in the very beginning of class (while setting the intention). 

Students are less likely to miss what you’re saying if there aren’t other words competing for their attention. 

It’s important to note that the last song is the most powerful, as students are open and ready to receive. If you have a specific song in mind that’s perfect for your intention, consider playing it at the end.  

If your intention is “peace” consider beginning the class with an instrumental/traditional version of a song about peace. For instance, you could begin with an instrumental “It Is Well” and end the class with a contemporary worship version of the same song.  


  1. Be conscious of the vibe of your offering.

Energizing and more physically challenging offerings call for loud and upbeat songs. 

Relaxation/slow/gentle flows should have a blend of songs that are more on the peaceful side. 

Contemplation/meditation/restorative offerings should have more instrumental and ambient/nature sounds. 


  1. Make a large playlist (your “Master” playlist) of your favorite yoga songs!

Every time you find a new song that would be great for a flow, add it to this playlist. You can also browse through the “suggested” songs for more ideas! 

This way you have one place to look when building specific playlists, vs. looking through 50+ old playlists you’ve made for past offerings. 

You might even make multiple master playlists for specific genres of songs (like instrumental, upbeat, laid back, ambient, etc). 

BONUS TIP: Spotify has the cool “enhance” feature where it’ll find similar songs and add them to your playlist. It’s a great way to explore new songs that are similar to what you already have in that playlist! 


  1. Poll your students! 

Place a piece of paper on their mat at savasana and ask them to share some of their favorite songs (and scriptures, while you’re at it!). 

Ask your friends on social media for their favorite songs in a specific style or genre! Something like “What are some of your go-to songs when you’re feeling [anxious, fearful, tired, hopeless]?” or “…when you need [more energy, more peace, to relax]?”


  1. Find covers or stripped-down versions of your favorite jams.

Well known songs bring familiarity, help people relax, and make them feel known. Plus it’s a fun way to get excited about a song that you’re sick of hearing. It can also help you fit a song that originally doesn’t fit the context of your offering due to tempo, volume, and/or instrumentation (like finding a laid back acoustic version of an originally hyped up song that makes it usable for a slow flow). 


  1. Strategically place instrumental songs.

Beginning: I always start with something gentle and wordless, so that the intention is clearly set and the breathwork/meditation is the focus.

Middle: I like to use instrumental songs for my balance/technique portion so that my cues are heard clearly. 

End: I often end with a powerful worship song, especially one that compliments my theme/intention. In my neutral offerings I like to end with instrumental music and sometimes I’ll do an instrumental version of hymns or worship songs.

  1. Allow the music to reflect or match your intensity.

If you’re teaching a slow flow, or vinyasa flow, allow your music selection to build with the intensity of the class!

In my classes, by the 3rd or 4th song I want to be standing and preparing to flow.  I choose a medium tempo song to get us through our sun salutations, and then higher energy through the middle portion of our sequence, followed by 3 to 4 slower paced/intention focused songs to bring it back down.


  1. Build in trigger songs.

By trigger song, I mean songs that help you know where you are in your flow. Certain songs can act as a cue to tell you to ramp it up or slow down. 

You can also use songs as a measurement of time for your students. For instance, you can tell them to use the rest of the song to flow through sun salutations on their own, practice their inversions, etc. 


  1. Make playlists 2 or 3 minutes shorter than your class time. 

The length of your playlists is important to make sure you don’t fall short or go over the allotted time for your session. Giving yourself a 2 or 3 minute buffer allows you to start your class about 3 mins late and still end on time (for those inevitable stragglers coming in at the last minute, or if you have announcements to make before you start). 


  1. Most important tip: Play what YOU love!

When you hear songs that come on and give you the right feels, that’s going to overflow into your offering! This is by far one of the best ways to create a unique experience for your students! 

There you have it, friend! One more way to create a beautifully unique experience for your students. 


Kristen Campbell

Co-Founder ChristiansDoYoga.com


P.S. Sheridan and I had a discussion a while back on our YouTube channel and talked about playlists!


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