As most people are aware, Yoga has many health benefits. Most of those benefits related the physical health of those that use it. But did you know that Yoga has more than just those physical advantages? There are mental benefits as well!
Yoga is partially known for being on of the most accessible and effective exercises for the mind. It elicits relaxation resulting in more efficient breathing and increased memory. Yoga is also closely tied to the concept of “mindfulness” which reduces anxiety and stress. Mindfulness and bodily awareness are both crucial skills for a musician. In a course of piano study, many are finding it advantageous to incorporate the concept of mindfulness. If one has an interest in Yoga or Zen meditation, “stillpoint” techniques are particularly relevant and engaging. These techniques create balance between mind and body which is essential to an excellent pianist.
The “stillpoint” concept originated from gentle hands-on therapy where the brain is shifted from a state of alertness to one of “calmness”. There is a sense of inner tranquility and peace where the fight-or-flight responses is set aside. A “stillpoint” technique has a significant role if it is integrated into yoga and meditation. How does all of this tie into piano playing? For some, it may never be a connection, it may even be unnoticeable at first. However, most admit you will come to witness and feel these benefits as you continue your study.
- Playing the piano with pure focus can sometimes be tricky. There are a lot of distractions that can arise from anywhere – most especially If you’re waiting for some alert from your phone a few inches away! Yoga can help practice concentration while practicing. You must find a way to support that concentration by setting aside all the possible forms of distraction. You can put your phone to airplane mode or switch it off – or better yet, in another room.
- Yoga helps overcome stage fright and nervousness before a stage piano performance. Players tend to be a bit worried about making mistakes – hitting wrong notes or forgetting transitions. Yoga helps you focus on understanding the masterpiece through keyboard patterns. Focus on what you can do, and the rest will come swiftly. It’s all in the mind.
- Proper posture is also one of the physical benefits of Yoga. It is extremely helpful because players sitting for too long can cause tension to the upper and lower back part of the body. Stretching the arms prevents tension and cramps in the neck, shoulders, wrists and lower back and are all helpful for pianists.
We have discovered that yoga and other relaxation techniques have a profound effect on the body. We strive to eliminate the stress and anxiety we encounter in the outside world when playing the piano. However, these distractions will always exist so it is great to learn techniques to lessen the effect of them. We encourage you, in your studies with Cadenza, to find the techniques that work for you!