Do you associate Yoga with drumming? Probably not. But I now do. Think about it, what will stop you drumming as you get older? Probably most likely to be joint issues? It’s with this in mind that I decided to take up Yoga and had my first lesson this morning.
I’m attempting to find a form of regular exercise that keeps me fit, flexible and offsets the inevitable decline in body movement as I get older. I want to be drumming late into my life while at the same time keeping my body toned and supple.
The lesson consisted of the teacher telling me what I already knew…that I’m not very flexible. But that’s ok, we’re going to work on that. We ran through a set of stretches focusing on the spine specifically in an attempt to lengthen and strengthen my spine. It is after all the most important and central set of bones in the body. It just so happens to be where I also get repeating pains. I’m 6’2″ and so suffer from a bad back on a regular basis.
The exercises involved me lying on my back and moving my legs to my chest. Standing and pivoting downwards from my waist. Kneeling and bending from my abdomen with lots of careful and controlled breathing using both my lungs and diaphragm. The breathing exercises are going to be very useful for calming the nerves when performing as well ensuring my body receives enough oxygen whilst playing.
I didn’t come out of the lesson totally exhausted, in fact I didn’t even build a sweat but then that wasn’t the point. I did leave the lesson feeling plosive about this art and what it might be able to do for me. An hour with my teacher showed me just how inflexible I am and working on this has got to be good for my drumming, both in the long and short term.