yoga music pose playlist metal
[Photo by: Eric Antunes]

Metal has always been an aggressive genre. However, over the past few years, people have discovered how many songs within the genre are suitable for yoga. Whether it’s droned-out doom metal, ambient black metal or progressive sounds kicking off a session, there are plenty of songs that are a perfect match for yoga. 

Take a look below for 15 metal tracks to get you started on a heavy yoga session. 

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Deftones – “Rosemary”

Once Deftones put out their 2010 record, Diamond Eyes, they took an entirely new direction. Pushing away from their nü-metal tendencies more than ever before, there was an increasing sense of ambience in their music. Revisiting some of their early records for a yoga session wouldn’t be a bad call, either. However, nearly all of their music from the past decade is an ideal pairing for a calming hour of stretching.

The Dillinger Escape Plan – “Dead As History”

The Dillinger Escape Plan were one of the most chaotic hardcore bands to ever exist. However, among their violent-sounding breakdowns and aggressive blasts of noise were a lot of soothing sounds. A yoga session could easily be paired up with songs such as “Parasitic Twins,” “Unretrofied” or “Dead As History,” from their electronic undertones to their haunting melodies. 

Tool – “Lateralus”

Many Tool songs would be prime yoga material as their progressive passages offer sounds that you can get lost in. “Lateralus” is a perfect example of how their music, bouncing between heavier sounds and clean moods, offers something complex while staying rooted in tones you can drift in and out of paying attention to.

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Sleep – “Dopesmoker”

Sleep have to be the most obvious choice for a metal band to soundtrack your yoga session. The doom-metal masters are the best reference point for music that takes you to a calming place. “Dopesmoker” is the only song you need for an hour-long session as the track drones out essentially the same riffs with subtle changes laced throughout. 

OM – “Thebes”

Spinning off from Sleep, the rhythm duo from the doom-metal OGs formed OM. Their sound takes the ambience of their main project to a whole other level. Songs such as “Thebes” sound like your typical soundtrack, with a touch of distortion to keep things rooted in metal. 

Russian Circles – “Youngblood”

Instrumental trio Russian Circles bring thick post-metal tones that are calming on the best of days, so why not get some meditation in with their doomy sound? Nearly all of their discography would be suitable to choose, so feel free to just press shuffle or kick into the thoughtful, thunderous tones on “Youngblood.”

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Agalloch – “Our Fortress Is Burning… III – The Grain”

Folk-metal act Agalloch deliver many interesting sounds in the genre with their tendency to dip into post-rock, avant-garde and black metal, among other sounds, but some of their material is ambient enough to work seamlessly in a yoga playlist. All three sections of “Our Fortress Is Burning…” would be prime, but the final part is easily the most abstract, offering a moment to reflect on yourself. 

Opeth – “Blackwater Park”

Even before Opeth made the massive switch in their sound and essentially became a folk band, their progressive death metal contained many soothing sounds worth meditating on. “Blackwater Park” is a great reference point for how guttural vocals don’t need to be a distraction while getting zen. 

Deafheaven – “Irresistible”

Deafheaven pushed the boundaries of black metal into shoegaze and solidified themselves as innovators with their experimental sound, which works perfectly for yoga. Aside from some of their songs that are drenched in blast beats, much of their material is calming, drones on and allows for self-reflection. 

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Cult Of Luna – “Lay Your Head To Rest”

Post-metal crew Cult Of Luna take influence from the greats of their subgenre, such as Neurosis or ISIS, so it’s pretty evident that their droning walls of sound are slowed-down masterpieces built for losing yourself in. “Lay Your Head To Rest” dips in and out of dense soundscapes and quiet calms, making it a prime track for the middle of a session once you’re settled in. 

Neurosis – “Belief”

A list of metal songs with calming tones built for meditation practices wouldn’t be complete without Neurosis. The band spearheaded the post-metal movement, and while dense in their tones, they are leaders for creating heavy sounds designed for introspection. 

Wolves In The Throne Room – “Bridge Of Leaves”

Black metal wouldn’t be the first thing most people think of when considering tracks to do yoga to, but plenty of bands in the genre break away from the blast beats and harsh shrieks for ambient folky sounds. Wolves In The Throne Room do so masterfully, with haunting melodies built from atmospheric ambience. 

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Sunn O))) – “It Took The Night To Believe”

Few bands are regarded as highly for their intense soundscapes as much as Sunn O))), and the doom-metal masters are an excellent choice for metal-minded yoga enthusiasts. With “It Took The Night To Believe,” you can hear every blip of noise cutting through an echoey wall of feedback and bass, offering a droning sound you can let sit in the background with ease. 

Cloudkicker – “Explore, Be Curious”

Solo instrumentalist Cloudkicker fantastically shows off shredding prog-metal sounds, but layered throughout are beautiful passages of clean instrumentation. Picking through the artist’s discography, you can find plenty of tracks such as “Explore, Be Curious” that are prime material for taking a relaxing journey through your own mind. 

Animals As Leaders – “Another Year”

Jazzy instrumentalists Animals As Leaders may be masters of shredding, but many of their songs deliver a sense of peacefulness with soft tones and progressive passages. “Another Year” brings some thump to it while staying rooted in serene guitars and light but captivating drums.