Why yoga is THE STUFF for singers
As a singer I have had a (half) lifelong journey of discovering exactly how crucial yoga is for singers - for a healthy body and voice. It was clear I had to write about it, when this blog started.
I interviewed Abigail, the founder of Vocal Yoga. She came up with 8 arguments why singers should do yoga. Here are a few already. Check out the full article to see all.
1. Yoga helps to (re)connect while singing: the emotional argument
Singing should be joyful, but still singers too often do it all from the head. Yoga helps to balance out this tendency. You (re)connect with your body, with your spirit. You will sing with more joy and people will notice.
2. Better core and breathing: the practical argument
The very basic things we need for singing, which are the core muscles and the breathing, are the basis of the yoga method.
3. Dealing with stressful auditions better: the career argument
You will find that before auditions and concerts you will start feeling differently. You will be better equipped to handle stressful situations. Also people who do yoga all their life feel stress a times. But if we feel these kind of emotions… we accept them and WORK WITH THEM. not fight them.
7 yoga poses to improve your singing
As a singer who started out with zero body awareness I can tell you - yoga (and Alexander technique as well) has changed my life and my singing. I go as far as saying that I could not have reached a professional level without yoga.
I’m not a yoga teacher, but I use yoga in my singing and teaching every day, all day.
Singers of all levels: ignore this at your peril. Each singing student of mine gets a bodywork routine (mostly yoga poses or a sequence) to do at home before they even make any sound.
Pose 1: Cat & Cow: smooth beginning of the sound
This helps a lot with runs and riffs (fast melodies) and when you tend to make too much of an effort right on the first note. That’s more common a problem than you might think.
Also loosens up the hip joint, always nice for general posture.
Tip Cat & Cow
You should be going back and forth from one pose to the other. The inhale should be on the cow pose, neutralizing the shoulders and allowing the air to enter a lot deeper and expand the lungs more. The exhale is during the cat pose, relaxing the neck muscles and then stretching them, making them also neutralized and therefore not involved with sound making. The beginning of the sound will be a lot smoother and easier.
Pose 2: Extended child's pose: have an (effective vocally effective) rest
Sometimes a yoga teacher will instruct you to rest in child's pose, instead of staying in the dog looking down pose. I love it, it feels like resting but it’s doing the necessary work to relax the shoulders and open the hip joint - that’s a real boost for your alignment and open breath. Give it a try.
Tip Extended child's pose:
Inhale by lifting the head a bit, and while exhaling, relax the head down. Place a block or a book under your forehead, if needed, to get your neck and back in a straight line.