Yoga teachers everywhere, listen up: I judge you based on the music you choose for your classes. Cheesy new agey soundscapes earn you zero points. Anything from my excellent modern yoga music CDs list earns you my automatic love, praise, and devotion for all time. Heck, I might even start calling you guru.
Okay, I halfway jest, but I really do feel that a corny soundtrack can ruin an otherwise-great yoga class, and I also think it can be hard to find great yoga music to use when you're doing a flow on your own. This new collection from Putumayo addresses that nicely, though.
With enough diversity to keep active minds like mine entertained, but smoothly following the standard energy arc that a typical yoga class would (complete with "warm-up" music, active music in the middle, and some very quiet meditative stuff at the end), this CD is really meant to be taken as a whole, not piecemeal. Still, there are some standout tracks: Sara Tavares's quiet guitar-based Afro-fado-folk-fusion number "Exala," Balla Tounkara's kora solo "Yarabi," the peaceful and lovely "A Prayer to Dispel Sickness and Harms" by Tibetan-Nepalese singer Kelsang Chukie Tethong, and several contributions from British-Gambian singer Sona Jobarteh all stood out as highlights for me.
Overall, it's a pretty great CD to have in your collection if yoga's your thing. It's exactly one hour long (perfect), and they couldn't have done a better job sequencing the songs, really. I give full points to any yoga teacher of mine who'd like to play it in class, and I'll certainly use it myself at home.