Music can be both healing and uplifting. It can rock our souls or break our hearts, depending on our moods and the right (or wrong) song. In yoga, we use mantras as a way to focus, break cycles, and evoke specific energies into the mind and body. Essentially, a mantra is a seed sound that has been discovered (often found in nature and root language), repeated frequently, and used to yield enlightenment.
In my personal home practice and when working with my students, music is a key component in channeling the mood needed for practice. My belief is that any sound that helps you focus and doesn't distract from your meditative state can be used as a "mantra" during your yoga practice. Any single one of my yoga playlists may have everything from Ice Cube, to Ravi Shankar, to Sufjan Stevens or Maxwell.
Honestly, if it moves my soul, I put it in my practice. I encourage you to do the same with your own practice. 1) Find music that you love moving to.... Or music that you just love sitting still to... 2) Create a playlist that gets you in your most bad ass mood for your Power Yoga practice or a playlist that makes you feel your most serene for your restorative home practice. 3) Consider creating creative mixes that can take you mind and body on a yoga journey during your practice.
Here's a sample of a Yoga playlist that I use whenever I need to move through fear to shift things forward in my life. Whether it's, romance, friendship, career, or family, this playlist helps me get into "get it done" mode. Find more of my favorite playlists here. And I'd LOVE to know what you're listening to as well. So, PLEASE do share what moves you on and off the mat! Namaste :)