Trumpet and Yoga Excercises

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by trumpettrax, Sep 4, 2006.

  1. trumpettrax

    trumpettrax Piano User

    Mar 18, 2006
    I thought that yoga could just be used for stretching your muscles to relax and receive some benefit from that. Also, learn to breathe "better" i.e. inhale more etc. I really don't know all the benefits, but was just curious.

  2. tpter1

    tpter1 Forte User

    Jan 12, 2005
    Northern New York
    Well, yes. You are correct. But there is also this additional benefit to posture and balance (and therefore reducing tension). Because the excercises are designed around building balance at first, breathing and relaxing through the breath and awareness of the breath, all that other stuff benefits. Concentration improves, too, because you are practicing focusing your attention.

    ps.: Curiosity caused the cat to go find out how to catch the bird!
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2006
  3. Khora

    Khora Piano User

    Sep 17, 2006
    New York
    In addition, the focus on breathing is not so much about inhaling deeply as learning to inhale AND EXHALE deeply, efficiently and steadily. Most asanas (the postures one holds, including the process for getting into them properly) call for inhaling during certain motions and exhaling completely while holding a position.

    For me personally, I have found that the practice of "exhaling completely" has had the greatest impact on my playing (aside from the improved posture and significantly increased focus and attention span). Too often in our playing, many of us don't really exhale completely, or don't use all the air that is really available to us. Yoga has helped me learn the sensation of really using all my air, without having to think about trumpet related issues.

    It gets me grounded - breathing completely while completing some other physical task, be it sitting still or standing on my head or twisting around like a pretzel! And I figure if I can exhale completely while standing on my head, surely I can do it when I'm playing a trumpet!:D

    It also gives me another way to approach passages that are giving me trouble. What is the set up (how long do I need to inhale) and what am I holding (how long do I need to exhale)? The balance between the 2 varies from one asana to the next, and from one passage to the next.

    Sorry to be so long winded- that's what comes from practicing all that exhaling!:D
  4. Motor City Mahler

    Motor City Mahler New Friend

    Dec 14, 2005
    The Motor City
    As a freelance musician and Registered Yoga Teacher, this is a topic that interests me greatly. I wish I had more time to delve into it. To address the issue of religion, yoga is definitely NOT a religion. Anyone, of any religion (or lack thereof) can practice yoga.

    People come to yoga for many reasons. Some for purely physical benefits, some for stress relief, some for emotional and spiritual healing, or any combination of these and countless other benefits. The neat thing about yoga is that there is potential to reap benefits no matter on what level you approach it.

    Physially, it strengthens, opens and aligns your body. This allows for a feeling of lightness, extended range of motion, and freedom of movement.

    In the US especially, there is a lot of emphasis on the physical practice, but it's important to know that the postures emerged spontaneously from the meditative state, as a way to return to that state. Yoga is really about cultivativing a meditative, or contemplative mind. The physical practice is secondary.

    I don't think I need to elaborate on the benefits of a steady, calm mind. However, I will say that this is the key to emotional and spiritual healing. One needs to watch the mind think with a sense of detachment in order to gain perspective on who you really are, and why you're thinking and feeling the way you are.

    Another aspect of yoga is the practice of pranayama, or the science of breathing. Clearly, this holds great potential for wind players to develop, control and refine your breathing mechanism. But pranayama is an extremely powerful practice, and really shouldn't be attempted without an experienced teacher (especially breath retention). When you're dealing with the breath (prana) you are dealing with life itself, and how it flows through your body (physical and subtle). It has potential for profound healing, but can also bring on disease (dis-ease) if practiced improperly...I know this from first-hand experience.

    I came to yoga because I had some injuries, and I thought it would help my trumpet playing. In only a few months, my injuries were healed without surgery, while the doctors told me I could never be fully healed, and surgery may or may not help. It also had (and continues to have) a profound influence on my trumpet playing, and indeed my entire life.

    I'm out of time, so I'll close with this. Take Manny's advice to heart...books are great, but yoga must be experienced to be understood...go find a skilled teacher.

    If you have specific questions, by all means, fire away.

    Best wishes,


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