This past August, I have begun writing a monthly column for the Southeast Michigan Flute Association Newsletter. Below is the article I wrote that was published in the August 2017 issue.
Have you ever experienced pain or excessive tension during your practicing? If so, you are not alone. Performance and practice injuries are unfortunately very common among flutists, and can create a road block for personal progression. Experiencing pain when I practice and perform is something that I have been struggling with on and off for many years, so I have began seeking various methods of preventing and healing these common injuries.
I have been practicing yoga for about six years now, and recently I have found it to be the most effective element of healing injuries related to flute playing. While I am not a certified yoga teacher, I can speak briefly on my personal experience and the benefits I have found by combining it with my flute playing. Yoga is a beautiful practice because it allows you to take only what you need from it. I began practicing yoga seeking healing, and now I find that it is giving me the potential to gain much more from it. It has helped me strengthen and stretch the small muscles that I exert while playing my flute, therefore relieving some tension in my practicing. It has also helped me work through some mental blocks that I have faced in my musical journey, such as learning to be more humble and patient with myself. It is one hour that I can spend away from external stressors and truly focus on bettering myself mentally and physically, gaining skills that I can apply towards all aspects of flute playing. Earlier this year in March, I decided to try a 30-day yoga challenge to see if the supposed benefits of practicing yoga daily would render true for myself. I found that for me, it was a greater mental challenge than a physical one. By practicing daily, I noticed an improvement of my time management skills, attitude, and the way I treat others in times of stress. It has helped me learn how to identify my emotions and therefore cure them in healthy ways when negative ones arise, something that I struggle with from time to time.
Since I have begun the practice of yoga, I have noticed an overall improvement in my relationships with my colleagues, myself, and music. It has helped me discover more about who I am as a musician, which has benefitted me tremendously in developing my skills and performing with passion. It has also helped me reduce the amount of pain that I experience in stressful times, and reduce the amount of stress I feel overall. If you are interested, I highly encourage you to try a class or two! There are many local yoga studios in nearly every city that you can contact for class schedules, and there are also many YouTube channels with yoga videos that you can follow along with for free in your own home.