November 26, 2010

Yoga for Singers

Yoga for Singers

It’s Thanksgiving. I have many things to be thankful for and not least among them are the musician friends who grace my life. Parties at my house almost always become a musician’s gathering so I figured it was time to make a couple of videos for my friends who sing and play and practice Yoga. In fact they don’t need to be Yoga students to benefit from these techniques. Thanks to husband Rob who brings his skills in cinematography and photography to shooting these offbeat home movies for us and who has graced the walls of our home with the beautiful photos that he took for m

Several years ago my friend Adie Gray taught a workshop for singers and found herself making references to techniques she’d extrapolated from our yoga classes. No singer myself, I was surprised to hear that Yoga has something to offer someone who is already an expert in her field so I asked her to share that with you.

The diaphragm is our primary breathing muscle. On the inhalation it descends and expands. It attaches to the lower ribs and also to the top of the psoas muscle which is a guide wire for the pelvis. Anchor the pelvis with the legs and lift the ribcage up on the breath in. Then coil the upper spine in to lift the chest as you deepen the breath and the diaphragm will be drawn firmly down. Now the singer has power to sustain the note.

Tree pose is a great pose to anchor the diaphragm. It can be done with a long spine or finished in a backbend for seasoned students. Most standing backbends will give you the same effect. I threw in a version of alternate nostril breathing for a quick fix for nerves. By holding the exhalation a tad longer the body will take a deeper breath in. Breathing through just the left nostril can have a quieting effect if you are agitated.

Back bends are uplifting for the body but also the soul. They are stimulating and happy making. As the spirits rise and the throat releases, the song is sent and joy is passed onto the listener. Implicit in joy is gratitude. Take a good breath, throw your arms up and your head back and let your voice be heard on this day of Thanksgiving.

Please remember that a video is not a substitute for a teacher. These videos are a taste of what Yoga can do for you.

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