I remember finding an old book about the violinist Yehudi Menuhin on my parents’ bookshelf when I was very young. Inside, there was a picture of Menuhin standing on his head, which I always found curious.
I didn’t know it at the time, but it turns out Menuhin was an avid practitioner of yoga, feeling that it contributed greatly to his music-making and practicing.
“It enables me to regulate my breathing, quieten my mind, and do certain exercises in stretching. Also I have been made aware of certain subconscious processes, of posture and balance, of the coordination of joints, and the use of the body to its fullest potential.”
Indeed, it’s said that he once presented his yoga teacher with a watch, with the message “To my best violin teacher,” inscribed on the back.
Whether it’s yoga, Alexander Technique, Feldenkrais, or body mapping, I’ve come to appreciate these various body awareness modalities more and more as the years have passed, and I’ve learned about (and experienced) their various benefits.
So I’ve asked flutist-turned-yoga instructor Nicole Newman to create a series of videos – a Yoga Essentials for Musicians, as it were – that I hope you’ll find helpful. Not just to get into a better physical state before, during, and after practicing, but to develop greater kinesthetic awareness and nuanced control that will transfer to performance as well.
Note: Always better to be safe than sorry – if you have an existing injury, are recovering from an injury, or are experiencing pain, check with a physician or qualified health practitioner before starting a new type of physical activity!