Although it's nearly impossible to catch a yoga class in your local city currently, you can still adopt these practices and take part in virtual classes, as well just getting on the green grass in your backyard and following a few YouTube tutorials. The movements of yoga will help strengthen your body and breath to the core.
Whether you’re a cellist, a vocalist or non-musician, all movement practices, and yoga in particular can work wonders. Just like those who are stuck behind a desk typing all day, musicians encounter a similar problem. They are stuck in a certain position for hours on end, either practicing or performing. If you don’t have the proper positioning, and most don’t, then you’re just deepening your poor posture and habits.
“For the tendency to round in the upper back, or to become more kyphotic, I like to prescribe reclining supported backbends, like a roll under the shoulder blades, supported Bridge, as well as Cobra, Sphinx and Locust. I like to do these poses dynamically, rhythmically coming in and out of the pose with my breath, which should appeal to the syncopated musician out there! And I also like to hold these poses for 6-12 breaths to work on improving strength and endurance in the muscle groups that are usually a bit weak from rounding forward all the time.”
The three suggested yoga poses for musicians include “Cow”, “Warrior II” and “Tree” poses. “Many musicians enjoy these poses because they also encourage good posture — from the top of the head to the tip of the standing leg’s big toe. Our lives as musicians are busy or “windy.” This allows us to slow down, focus on our breathing, and feel stable no matter what life brings. Musicians with wrist sensitivities or fears of injuring this part of their body should choose to make fists with their hands rather than placing the palms flat to the mat or floor.”
Let’s break down the mental benefits of yoga. This can calm the brain in more ways than you can imagine. It brings a peace and focus to the mind that can be achieved via direct meditation. Fly Paper states “While it’s true that everyone can benefit from yoga, I think practicing musicians stand to gain specific outcomes from yoga. These outcomes — often referred to within the yoga world as “intentions” — include improvement to your focus, your physical health and awareness, and your mental health and confidence, as well as letting go of negative feelings of competition and judgment.
Yoga can give it’s practitioner a power over themselves that they may have not had before. We underestimate the benefits of stretching our body, even down to our fingers. If the poses seem overwhelming and your brain just can’t handle learning anything else at this moment, we strongly suggest to simply stretch as often as possible in a way that feels most natural and comfortable to you. If you can work on touching your toes and maintaining that back bend, you’ll be amazed at how open your lungs and entire body feels.
One final note - if you feel ready to go and want to take it up a notch - try hot yoga! This is an incredible workout, as it does everything that regular yoga does but allows you to sweat all your toxins out while turning the volume up!