In undergrad I had my own experience with injury, developing tendonitis in my left shoulder as I prepared for my recital, concerto competitions, and grad school auditions. Through the practice of yoga I was able to feel better and get back to playing without any issues! That experience showed me the power of physical movement to aid healing and help avoid injury.
Since then, I have been very interested in the mind-body connection and has explored a variety of exercise, martial arts, and yogic practices. The idea that this could be beneficial for musicians, led me to create 'Movement for Musicians': originally a yoga-based project (rather than a specific practice) aimed to integrate foundational movement with proprioceptive reorganization of functional anatomy. This evolved over time into a workshop series that I offered at Arizona State University, and teamed up with Brianne Borden (of Yoga for All Musicians) to help me co-create and lead it.
Aside from my overuse injury + issues with hypermobility joint syndrome, I have struggled with anxiety, depression, performance anxiety, and a sleep disorder. Yoga, movement, and knowledge of functional anatomy has helped me through it all. I feel it is my life's purpose to share these tools, and help to normalize wellness issues as something we should meet with compassion. I use my knowledge of anatomy and physiology in my approach toward teaching both music and yoga, and strongly believe that awareness is the key to improvement in any area of life. I now use my combined knowledge of functional anatomy and yoga to help musicians find relief from injury and performance anxiety.
My Thoughts on Yoga
There are so many benefits to yoga, and this can be a very empowering practice that is completely customizable to each individual person. You don't have to be flexible to do yoga, and you don't have to look like me or anyone else when you practice. Actually you shouldn't, because our anatomy is different.
The Ancient Hindus of the Indus Valley circa 3,000BCE who created yoga intended for this practice to be spiritual in nature. Asana -- the physical practice of yoga poses -- was designed to prepare oneself for deep levels of meditation and connection with the divine that exists within all of us.
Musicians have very specific needs when exploring any yoga or fitness practice, as some aspects of these disciplines can actually aggravate playing-related injuries. The yoga classes I teach with musicians in mind avoid or adapt these aspects and make it more accessible for musicians.
Asana, or 'pose', is a position that you attempt to achieve with your body. Each asana provides a different feeling or sensation within us, and through trying to achieve a posture we may find that we are uncomfortable. Thoughts or emotions may rise to the surface and it may be difficult to deal with. Originally asana was used as a way to prepare for the deepest levels of meditation, and that's reflected by the fact that we end each class with a savasana, or lying meditation. The ancient people who practiced yoga followed a variety of different religions but most believed that: in the deepest levels of meditation and inner awareness we can perceive God, and therefore we are all connected. [A great resource for learning more about this is the Bhagavad Gita.] Whether or not you choose to believe this from a religious or spiritual perspective, I feel it's important that we recognize and respect the original intent behind yoga.
The word yoga means to 'yoke or unite the mind and body.' In a yoga class we pass through or hold different asanas. We might do specific pranayama or breathing techniques. We might meditate.
Yoga as a physical practice is something that absolutely everyone can do so long as you are aware of your own body and mindful of your 'edge.' The place between strength and flexibility where you start to feel uncomfortable but your mind focuses. If you experience pain, simply back out of the asana, and try again with a more gentle approach. Because the intent of asana in yoga is to prepare for meditation, if you end up resting or meditatng for the entire class you are still doing yoga!
Because of the way some of the movements, meditation, and breathwork are designed, yoga has the potential to bring up unprocessed trauma. I am committed to always educating myself on the best ways to hold space and lead these classes in a trauma-informed way.
RYT200 Vinyasa Yoga
Merge The Practice - Level 1
EFT and TFT Practitioner
Buti Yoga: Advanced Buti, Primal Flow, Hot Buti, Deep, Sculpt, Bands, HotCore
American Red Cross: First Aid and CPR/AED for Professional Rescuers
Arizona State University, DMA Viola Performance, (2020)
- Mindfulness Leadership Certificate Course
- NASM Prep Course
- SKY Meditation Club
Indiana University, MM Viola Performance, 2017
- Postural Alignment for Musicians
- Stott Pilates IMP Certification Course
Indiana University, PD Solo Viola, 2016
University of Arizona, BM Viola Performance, 2011
- Kyudo Club
Continuing Education + Additional Training
Breath is Life: Breathing and Meditation Course, The Life Awareness Project
Essentials of Performing Arts Medicine: Arts Educator (Instrumental Music), Performing Arts Medicine Association
Happiness Program, The Art of Living
Hypermobile Yogis Online Training, Adell Bridges and Celest Pereira
Learning How To Learn: Powerful Tools to Help You Master Tough Subjects, McMaster University & University of California San Diego
Positive Psychology, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Revelation Breathwork Facilitator, Level 1
Work Smarter Not Harder: Time Management for Personal and Professional Productivity, University of California, Irvine
Active Member of
American Viola Society
Arizona Music Educators Association
Complementary Therapists Accredited Association
National Association of Music Education
International Reiki Organization
Performing Arts Medicine Association