We see plenty of articles about yoga for athletes, professionals and more. What about yoga for musicians? Yes, musicians. I recently attended a marching band rehearsal to observe just what my kids in high school do to train for those incredibly complex performances you see marching bands do on the football fields and in parades.
Yoga will do wonders for the marching musician. Here are a few key poses to help musicians reduce aches and pains and be fit on the field.
Standing back bends are excellent for a lot of reasons; there are two that matter most. First, standing back bends can be done just about anywhere; second, they train you to be active with all the muscles in your torso and help you nix bad habits like relying on your lower back and hunching forward.
Start by spreading your toes out and actively planting your feet on the ground. Tighten the leg muscles around the leg bones. You’ll notice that your stomach muscles start to pull in and lift your torso. Make an active connection with your stomach muscles and stretch them upward. Use them to lift your rib cage. Lift your chin and pull it back while also lifting your chest up and back in the same direction as your chin, taking care to let your back bend gently.
Add an easy side bend so that your sides will stretch as much as your front. Easy side bend can be done sitting or standing. Try both to get more acquainted with your body. Lift your arm straight up and let your side stretch. Your shoulder should follow your arm upward, stretching your side while your pelvis stays put-weight will be pushed down through your leg if you are standing, and will remain in your pelvis and buttocks if you are sitting.
Shortened downward dog
Regular downward dog is quite good for anyone, including musicians as it extends the hamstring and lets you train your body to have your hamstrings bear a load you carry (your instrument) when standing and walking. The shortened downward dog, where you come up onto your toes while in the pose, lets you train the peripheral muscles in your legs and coordinate them with your back.
Deeper back bends-fundamentals for musicians
Back bends are among more-complicated yoga poses, but if you start with supported bridge pose, which is a very safe and simple pose, you can safely and easily transition to upward facing bow pose. It is by nature, a very safe back bend because you are lifting from your stomach. The fundamental safety of a back bend is tied to the stomach. You keep the abs engaged and you extend them actively, then that keeps pressure off of the back and prevents spinal compression.