Though typically meditation is done in silence, it doesn’t have to be. Meditation can be as much about calming the mind as it is about gaining new insights. Music can also have a great effect on the mind and body. If you put them together in the right way, you get a beautiful merging of both of their many benefits. So yes, you can meditate with music, and have it be just as rewarding experience as any other type of meditation that you try.
There are many meditation styles that lend themselves to listening to music. In fact, some would say (and we agree) that music itself can be a powerful meditation experience. There are two styles in particular that pair well with music. The first is mantra meditation and the second is mindfulness meditation.
In the case of mindfulness, you essentially bringing awareness to the music, your body and your breath. Noticing how it makes you feel, any thoughts that spring to mind, all of which can help you gain valuable insights.
This is What Happens When You Listen to Meditation Music
Many meditators, especially beginners, find that when they combine music with their practice, they feel calmer and more peaceful. There many be good reason for that.
Studies have shown that listening to slow and hypnotic music can alter brain wave patterns, by matching frequencies that boost brain activity. In addition to activating various types of hormones such as, serotonin and dopamine. Which also make a positive impact on the mind and body.
Keeping these benefits in mind, there have been new developments in creating music that when paired with meditation help increase its impact. One type in particular is binaural beats. Which is a unique kind of music especially engineered to help meditators achieve a deeper and more relaxed state.
Binaural beats work by playing two slightly different frequencies of sound into each ear. Which when listened to help your left brain and right brain sync up with it’s programmed frequency. Once the brain matches the pattern, you’re quickly able to transition into a deeper part of your meditation.
Binaural beats are a great choice to meditate with if you want to lower your stress and anxiety levels. (1)
“Music comes closest to meditation. Music is a way towards meditation and the most beautiful way. Meditation is the art of hearing the soundless sound, the art of hearing the music of silence – what Zen people call the sound of one hand clapping. And silence has a music of its own, it is not dead, it is very much alive, it is tremendously alive. In fact, nothing is more alive than silence.” – Osho
10 Benefits of Meditation with Music
From reduced stress and anxiety to greater cognitive ability. Here are the top 10 reasons, why you absolutely should meditate with music.
1. Music Reduces Stress & Anxiety
Stress is becoming a side effect of modern life and if it’s not taken care of, can lead to serious conditions, such as anxiety and depression. Both music and meditation have been shown to have an positive influence on a persons mental, emotional and physical state. (3)
Choosing to add music with a slower tempo to your practice can help you to quickly quiet your mind and relax your body. In turn, allowing you let the worries of the day gently fade away.
2. It Can Help You Stick With Your Meditation Practice
Meditation has tremendous rewards, but many people struggle to make their practice a habit long enough to feel those benefits. One of the reasons is they have difficulty trying to relax and let go in total silence. This often results in them feeling frustrated and giving up altogether.
By adding music to your practice it smoothes the path, giving a busy mind something to concentrate on rather than trying to think about “nothing”.
3. Gives Your Immune System a Boost
Stay happy and healthy with the healing effects of music and meditation. Musics effect on the body has been studied extensively and been shown to boost immune system function by increasing the production of antibodies. Including increased levels of immunoglobulin, which helps your body fend off those nasty viruses. (4) Its also been shown to reduce cortisol levels which is another side effect of chronic stress that if not monitored can wreak havoc on the body.
4. Quiets Your “Monkey Mind”
The deeper you can go into your meditation the greater the rewards.
One of the barriers to reaching this deep state is what is called the “monkey mind”. That part of you that can’t stop thinking and has a hard time settling down. Even when you ask nicely.
In order to help quiet your mind its helpful to have peaceful place to practice in. Many practitioners find it helpful to create a meditation space, use cushions sets, candles and essential oils to feel calm. Others also find that when they add in relaxing music, it also contributes to a tranquil atmosphere and calm mind ready to practice.
5. Meditating with Music Improves Your Mood
Music containing nature sounds or tracks that are soft, slow and melodic can help to improve your overall mood. In fact, listening to these types of music while getting your zen on can trigger the brain to release serotonin and endorphins. (5) Hormones which work to help you feel more relaxed, focused and happier.
6. Helps Create Healthy Eating Habits
Do you have habit of eating while stressed? Have you ever struggled with weight gain or poor health that comes from emotional over eating? Adding music and a little daily zen via meditation, into your life can help you recover and prevent those issues. By helping to diffuse the stressors that lead to emotional eating in the first place.
When you take the time to balance your body and emotional well being, you’re able to feel more at peace in the moment. Instead of turning to food for a stress release, you’re more likely eat more mindfully. Which allows you to make choices that are healthier for your well-being.
7. Increases Cognitive Function
Cognitive skills are the essential skills that your brain uses to think, read, learn, remember, reason, and stay focused. One study concluded that simple mind body practices, such as combining Kirtan Kriya meditation with music can significantly improve cognitive function. (6) With participants seeing a dramatic increase in cognitive function and memory after just 6 short months of practicing. (7)
8. Helps You Reach A Deeper Meditative State Faster
Both beginners to those practicing meditation for years, have found that combining music with meditation creates an atmosphere that allows them to reach a deeper meditative state. Some use it through their entire session, some use it only at the beginning to help them relax and feel more grounded.
9. You Will Feel More Creative and Inspired
Imagination, intuition, concentration, memory and critical thinking all play a role in creative freedom and the ability to form ideas into creating something new. Taking the time to go within everyday, can unlock blocks and allow new creative inspiration to express itself.
Many artists site that getting into a flow state is what allows them to be so creative. Meditating with music can increase imagination, intuition, and cognitive functions such as memory and critical thinking. All of which allow the artist to access deeper levels of their creative expression. (7)
10. Meditating With Music Improves Your Sleep Quality
Do you have trouble setting aside the pressures of your day and winding down for a peaceful nights rest? If the answer is yes, spending time in the evening meditating with relaxing music could be exactly what you need.
Both music and meditation itself, have a direct effect on the body’s parasympathetic nervous system. Which once activated, signals your body and mind to calm down and prepare for sleep. (8) For a deeply relaxing experience we recommend wearing headphones.
You can find ones made especially for lying down and sleeping on Amazon by clicking here.
Tips For Adding Music To Your Meditation Practice
1. Choosing The Right Meditation Music
Besides traditional or contemporary classical music and binaural beats you can also listen to other varieties of meditation music including: Gregorian Chanting, Primordial Sounds, Soothing Nature Sounds, Sacred sounds like Sonic Mantras, Mindfulness Bells, Tibetan Singing Bowls or Crystal Healing Bowls.
If you wish to go into the deepest state possible it’s recommended that you choose music that is hypnotic, calm and soothing.
Ideally, any music that helps you to feel as centered and grounded as possible. In general, its recommended to listen to music without vocals (other than a chant or mantra), or lots of instrumental variation which can be too stimulating or distracting to calm the mind.
2. Keep The Volume Level Low
Have you ever noticed that once you start your meditation the world seems to slow down and suddenly every sound seems magnified? The type of music you choose, as well as the volume you listen to it at, should compliment to your practice not overwhelm it. Keeping the volume low will do just that.
3. Meditate With Headphones
Many people wonder if its ok to meditate wearing headphones. The good news is that yes, meditating with headphones or earbuds can actually help you in your practice. It’s important to note that, though not required for most types of meditation, they should always be used to make a binaural beats meditation effective.
We go into all the reasons you totally should be meditating with headphones in our article here: What You Must Know About Meditating With Headphones.
Noise Cancelling Headphones are also great for blocking out external noise and distractions. They can also help to enrich your overall experience by creating a feeling of deep and peaceful connection with the music. These ones on Amazon are highly recommend by us and 1000’s of others, check them out by Clicking Here.
There are even headphones you can use while laying down or listening to a sleep meditation. See them for yourself on Amazon by Clicking Here.
4. Use Music To Set The Mood
To get the benefits from meditating, your practice needs to become a habit. The best way to create any habit in your life, is to make it part of your daily routine.
Some people find that playing music before they meditate, helps to set the mood for a relaxed state. Which keeps them motivated and on track.
Our Top Picks For Relaxing Meditation Music
1. The Deepest OM || 108 Times || Peaceful OM Mantra Meditation
Very deep and soothing OM Mantra Chants recited 108 Times.
2. Higher Self Activation Meditation : Awakening Intuition & Precognition – Binaural Beats
Serene and Blissful. This amazing session will guide you through a wonderful journey of activating your higher self. Awakening your intuition and precognition ability.
3. Marconi Union – Weightless
If we’re talking relaxing meditation music, then “Weightless” by British Band Macaroni Union is a must listen. This song has been studied by the scientists at Mindlab and is considered one of the most relaxing songs in the world! It got top marks for effectively calming heart rate, respiration and brainwave activity.
From The Telegraph: “Studies found Weightless was 11 per cent more relaxing than any other song and even made many of the women ‘drowsy’ in the lab … It induced a 65 per cent reduction in overall anxiety and brought them to a level 35 per cent lower than their usual resting rates.” (2)
Its so effective they even, caution against driving while listening to Weightless.
4. 432Hz Miracle Tone
This eight-and-a-half minute track can help induce a calm feeling, ideal for a short meditation practice.
5. Wayne Dyer – Moses Code Meditation I AM THAT, I AM
We love Wayne Dyer and are huge fans of his work! I personally own this meditation as a audio download (available on Amazon Here) as well the audio book Wishes Fulfilled (available on Amazon Here) that inspired this meditation. Of course, this is a free version found on YouTube. I like the flexibility of having the audio on my phone, as this makes a nice accompaniment to a walking meditation.
He’s also on our list of the best self help books of all time. To check out the full list of all 101 Click Here.
At the end of the day…
Listening to music while you meditate can yield powerful rewards. While it might not be for everyone, with all the benefits and different ways to incorporate it into your practice, it seems like something worth trying. So if you are still wondering if you can meditate with music, our definitive answer is – YES, you can! Namaste.
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Hack Your Happy – 12 Reasons You Should be Meditating in the Morning
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