Thursday, September 20, 2012

Yoga for Singers & Performers

A couple weeks ago, Dr. Sun-Joo Oh (“Sunny”) asked me to do a yoga class for her singing students at ETSU, specifically designed for their needs. I was thrilled to work with this group, and interested to learn about their special concerns. I had never considered the specific needs in yoga for those who sing, play instruments, or perform in other ways, so it gave me a chance to research & learn a new topic. I found so much information! If there’s enough interest, I would love to do a 3-hour workshop at the studio on this one.

I began by printing out anatomy sheets for each of the students, and discussing just some of the muscles I intended to highlight. I was so excited that the class was clearly engaged in the process. Next, we did a short class, using all the muscles we covered, plus a few more. It was a light-hearted, fun time. Thank you, Sunny, for the invitation, and thank you, students for the warm reception.

A few highlights:

-singers should remember to keep their cervical (neck) spine in line with the rest of their spine, not only while singing, but also while driving, or carrying the heavy books around campus.

-relaxing the muscles in the front of the neck can have a long-term impact on the vocal cords

-yogic 3-part breath (inhale chest, then ribs, then belly…then reverse for the exhale) will help strengthen and stretch the intercostal muscles, which lie between the ribs.

-pranayama, or yogic breath practice is very helpful, and is easily practiced on-the-go

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