I had a conversation with a client the other night about the use of music during yoga nidra meditation, namely, whether music is necessary in order for the meditator to have a positive experience. I thought for awhile, but the only answer I could provide was "I don't know."
See, just as there are dozens of types of meditation, there are also dozens of opinions on whether music matters or not, and even on an individual basis the answer is different. Even on a session-by-session basis the answer can be different!
In yoga nidra, you are guided to use all of your senses throughout the entire process. For many people, music can enhance their ability to enter into or remain in a meditative state. It can create a sense of permission to let go, of otherworldliness, expansiveness, relief, of multitudes of emotions and sensations. Others may prefer silence, so that they are completely in their own headspace, away from what may be perceived as bothersome or distracting. Still others prefer other types of sounds, whether from nature or other ambient sources. Figuring out your personal preference simply requires experimentation.
In individual sessions, I always ask the client if she or he has a preference. It's not always that easy in a group setting, since there are at times multiple opinions. As such, I have a sort of rule-of-thumb-- I play very low-volume ambient music with a limited variety of tonal changes and very few (if any) beats. That way, there is no competition between the music and my voice and there is no emotional connection between the practitioner and the music. Just as I am a facilitator of deep relaxation, so too is the music.
Here is a playlist of some of my personal favorite tracks
What are your favorite songs to relax or meditate to?