What’s up everyone? This week I’m posting another segment of Yoga for Musicians, by Musicians. This is a monthly series where I’ll be interviewing my fellow musicians who are also yogis, but who might not think they’re yogis. I believe they’re yogis because I believe that yoga means “to bring together” and that can involve anything we love to do, anything that brings that flow state. Musicians often experience a state of flow in playing, writing, or singing music. So I’m going to interview my friends about where they find their flow state, what helps them to be successful on and off-stage and what they do to prepare to perform.
I hope you can get a lot out of this, maybe it’ll encourage you to try something new. You might learn a couple new breathing techniques or some new physical techniques you can use and take with you. It’s up to you. You decide what it means to you. I also want to encourage you to have fun with this because that’s what it’s all about.
Like I said before, yoga has a very broad definition in my mind. I love yoga because I love the physical practice of doing yoga. It changed my life and I know it can change everyone’s life but I know not everyone will do the physical practice of yoga. We do all breathe, however, and we can use our breath to bring us into a flow state.
In this series we’ll be sharing some breathing techniques and some meditations, but “meditation” is a loose word similar to “yoga” for me, it’s just wherever people find that flow state.
This is what I want to shed light on: you can find your yoga and your meditation anywhere you feel like you’re in a flow state. You find your flow state doing anything you feel passionate about, anything that makes you feel good. Yoga and meditation don’t have to be on your yoga mat – they can be, but they don’t have to be. I’m hoping this series will help you find flow in different areas of your life.
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This month I’m going to share with you the “square-breathing” technique. I use this before I go on stage to slow my heart rate down. I actually do longer meditations in the morning and in the evening, so I can be ready throughout the day, this way I don’t have to get ready to go onstage. I encourage you to take on a practice like that, too, doing something that you enjoy and that stimulates you and leads you forward. That way throughout the day you can feel awesome.
This is an exercise you can do if you’re feeling funky or if you’re preparing for something, anytime you want, really.
Find a comfortable spot, sitting, standing, just somewhere you can relax.
Close your eyes. Take a nice big breath in and hold it. Now sit with that breath. Notice how you’re feeling. Try to bring your reflection inward.
Exhale from your mouth. Try to relax any tension you find in your body while still keeping a straight spine.
Pause. Notice how you’re feeling. Maybe you notice the connection of your feet on the ground or your butt on the seat.
Take another nice big breath in, fill up with air. Hold it in. Sit with that feeling. Maybe you start to hear or feel your heartbeat. If you don’t it’s okay, just imagine it.
Exhale from your mouth and pause. Notice how you’re feeling, attention back to your feet on the ground or your butt on the seat.
Take another breath in, nice and slow. Hold that breath in. Observe how you’re feeling, what you’re thinking about.
Then exhale. Awesome. Now open your eyes and relax a little bit.
That’s “square breathing.” I like to think of the inhale and exhale as bringing you into a flow state and the pause bringing you into a being state. When you’re breathing, you can come into a flow state by paying attention to the breath, and come back to your being state by observing yourself in that moment. That’s why during those pauses I encourage you to observe your feelings, your thoughts, observe the feeling of your feet on the ground or your butt on the seat.
This practice really helps bring me into that flow state no matter where I am. I always try remember to do this exercise if I’m not having a great day or if I’m feeling a bit off. It’s just inhaling, pausing, observing, then exhaling and letting go of that feeling and bringing my attention back to the breath. I encourage you to try this out at anytime that works for you, or anytime you need to feel that flow state.
ANOTHER (VERY) QUICK EXERCISE:
If I’m pressed for time, but still want to come back to a bit of a flow state I just take a quick inhale, then a slow exhale.
Try that one at your own pace. You can do a bunch at one time, you can do one, whatever works.
This practice really slows down your heart rate and that happens anytime you exhale longer than you inhale.
I hope I’ve given you some tools today for your spiritual toolbelt. Thanks for checking out this blog, I hope you come back next month when I’ll be sharing interviews with some friends about their techniques for success on and off-stage.
Keep rockin’, keep breathing, and keep being you.