Online Yoga Class Review - Musicians recommendations
Last year I wrote a piece about keeping fit and how important it is for playing music to avoid injury and pain related to long hours of work and the repetitive movements. If you want to, you can read the whole thing here Just Do It - How and why to get fit and play music.
A few weeks back, having grown a little tired of my current yoga program, I started exploring some of the different yoga channels on youtube, just to mix it up a bit.
I found this one great channel and wanted to share it because there are a couple of routines that I have found so useful to relieve some of the stresses and tensions of playing.
Last year I tore a ligament in my wrist and after many weeks in a brace I lost alot of strength and had to do a number of exercises the physio gave me to strengthen it, which did the trick nicely. I did find though that the wrist was getting tight, especially after a lot of playing. Happily once I started doing this routine, Yoga for Wrists & Fingers, most of that tightness has gone.
I try to do it regularly before and/or after a practice session or rehearsal. It really stretches out through the whole hand and fingers, wrists and forearms, leaving the hands much more nimble and elastic, just how we want them to be. All in the space of 11 and a half minutes!
DO BE CAREFUL, when we're using our hands all the time we need them to be in tip top condition, don't over do it by trying to push past your edge where it starts to be painful, especially with the last couple of poses, it can be easy to go too far. Over time the flexibility will increase and its just not worth the risk of wrecking your hands.
The other fantastic routine I found targets another area many musicians have trouble with, that is the upper back and shoulders. I find most Yoga routines focus largely on the lower body and core, and posture in general, but not necessarily really digging into that area which really holds a lot of the tension (despite our best efforts) when we play.
Yin Yoga for Neck, Shoulder & Upper Back Tension Relief really pulls everything back into place. Its a very slow and meditative practice where you breathe deeply and just sink into each pose without forcing it. I find it amazing to do just before bed, it's very relaxing, releasing tension in the neck and shoulders, not to mention in the mind as well.
I tried a number of different peoples yoga classes on YouTube and they each have their own style and merits. I like the pace of Yoga with Kassandra , she gives clear and succinct instructions for each pose without unnecessary chatter, allowing you to focus on the pose and your own breath. Always giving a variety of options to suit different levels of flexibility, the classes are simple but at the same time cover a good range of poses that you finish with an all over zen feeling, particularly after the Yin Yoga Classes. (One night after a Yin Yoga for Sleep session, I did actually end up sleeping unintentionally on my yoga mat! - pfff who needs beds)
The only slight down side is the music that pauses sometimes between loops, but that being said, it is fairly unobtrusive.
If you are looking for some exercises that will relieve some of the tension and pain in any of these areas, particularly if you are sitting for long periods at rehearsals for example, I would really recommend giving these a go, I think you will find they really hit the spot.
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