“Yoga is like music.
The rhythm of the body,
the melody of the mind,
and the harmony of the soul,
create the symphony of life.” – BKS Iyengar
The benefits of yoga are widely known and have proven themselves upon the millions of people who choose to practice it worldwide. (Right now, around 15 million people in the USA alone are practicing yoga, and this figure is growing rapidly). Well known artists such Alanis Morisette, Moby, Ziggy Marley, Adam Levine of Maroon 5, Sting and Madonna have already shown how effective yoga has been for their bodies, minds and lives. (You can follow this link to read an interview with some of these musicians about their yoga practice: http://www.yogajournal.com/lifestyle/3134)
Life brings with it highs and lows. It is easy to get caught up in everything going on around us, especially within the music industry where everything is so fast paced and continually evolving. Through the practice of yoga, we learn to tune in to our breath and body, lowering cortisol levels (the ‘stress hormone’) and creating a more balanced state of mind. The breathing practices, combined with movement and postures brings us to a more focussed and positive place.
Yoga is known to greatly enhance mood levels for long periods of time. In a culture where the majority of people look to drugs, alcohol or coffee for a ‘quick fix’ to temporarily improve their mood, yoga’s benefits are deeper and more profound. You definitely don’t have to change your way of life or quit your habits to practice yoga, this is an opportunity to discover alternative ways of feeling great without the side effects!
Habitually sitting for long periods of time in class, driving long distances on tour, while working or at the mixing desk, all contribute to tight muscles of the torso and hips, decreasing mobility and freedom of movement. Lifting heavy amps and constantly carrying heavy equipment and instruments puts strain on these muscles which is likely to cause back pain – the leading cause of disability amongst those under 45 years old. By practicing yoga – improved strength, flexibility and a lengthening of these muscles can be noticed dramatically, and often pain in the body starts to heal and disappear. Strengthening the core muscles also helps to protect the back from injury, and makes performing on stage less tiring, safer and more enjoyable.
Yoga is known to very much improve self confidence, especially as the physical practice develops and we begin to trust our bodies a little more. Through moving in ways that are new to us, we start to ‘get to know ourselves’ a little better. This greater sense of self confidence and positivity can make a big difference when stepping up on stage in front of large crowds, which is a big turning point in a performance career.