Do you practice Yoga, and have you found it's helped your playing?

NickSchles

Junior Member
Some years ago I used to teach a girl who was a proficient Yogi. Over the course of a couple of lessons we got talking about certain Yoga principles. These, I thought could be really useful for us drummers in both practicing and learning our instrument. So I wrote an article about it which was then published by Modern Drummer.

A few years later I actually start practicing Yoga myself, and on top of the physical benefits that Yoga has given me, I also more consciously applied its principles into my own drum practice and playing. The mental approach and attitude towards the instrument changes when we focus on playfulness, curiosity, breathing, being grateful that we can play, amongst other things.

Below is a link to the article, if you fancy having a read. I'd love to know your thoughts on this, and your experience with it, if any!

 

Hypercaffium

Active Member
Interesting read.
I'm a Calisthenics athlete and recently I've started to incorporate some Yoga exercises in my routine. I see some similarities between the two, minus the mental/meditation approach of course which is different.
The benefits of a phisical (and mental) activity are huge, especially if you play the drums.
 

NickSchles

Junior Member
Interesting read.
I'm a Calisthenics athlete and recently I've started to incorporate some Yoga exercises in my routine. I see some similarities between the two, minus the mental/meditation approach of course which is different.
The benefits of a phisical (and mental) activity are huge, especially if you play the drums.
Thanks for reading the article and feedback! That's awesome that you're a calisthenics athlete; the flexibility / mobility element of Yoga, I'd imagine, are fantastic for the kind of work you do, right?
 

someguy01

Platinum Member
Yes. Yoga is a big part of my daily routine. With injuries and age I find the stretching does wonders for my ease of movement and fluidity. Nothing like the pigeon pose to get those hip flexors nice and loose.
 

SmoothOperator

Gold Member
Yoga is minimally beneficial to drumming, though for some people who aren't especially fit, it could be big.

I personally find these activities to have had a surprising and pleasantly positive effect on drumming.

Gym rings the shoulder work made me almost immediately get around the set faster and with more control, I could also hold positions more comfortably, riding on a cymbal mounted further away for example, not to mention posture!!
Bicycling(with cleats) great for bass drum work especially ankles and holding legs in position.
Ping Pong great for stick control and reflexes. I love putting a Moby track on the stereo and playing ping pong with my daughter.
Running bass drum work but also timing phrasing, as I sing as I run.
Dancing great overlap with drumming choreography etc. again bass drum work
Swimming this overlaps with the gym rings on shoulders, but gyms rings had a more dramatic impact, and I was able to get down to a 40 second 50meter lap after doing the gym rings. Swimming also has noticeable coordination improvements as well as phrasing with breathing.
 

C.M. Jones

Diamond Member
I don't participate in yoga, but my fitness regimen is central to my lifestyle. I lift weights several days a week and get cardio five to six days a week. I've been active my entire life and firmly believe that a conditioned body and a healthy mind go hand in hand. A sedentary existence would drive me mad.

". . . being grateful that we can play, amongst other things."

Gratitude is paramount to fulfillment. As I age, I take nothing for granted. I treat each drumming session, whether with other musicians or alone, as a gift to be cherished. Nothing is guaranteed. Embracing the moment is mandatory.
 

someguy01

Platinum Member
I don't do the weights or the cardio, I just go to work and get it all plus a paycheck. For reference: a single cutting unit on the Toro 5410 fairway mower weighs 112lbs and there are 5 on each machine. I have to lift them on and off the grinder regularly and we have two of those machines. Why pay for a gym membership? lol
 

C.M. Jones

Diamond Member
I don't do the weights or the cardio, I just go to work and get it all plus a paycheck. For reference: a single cutting unit on the Toro 5410 fairway mower weighs 112lbs and there are 5 on each machine. I have to lift them on and off the grinder regularly and we have two of those machines. Why pay for a gym membership? lol
It's interesting that so many exercises mimic the motions of activities such as rowing and woodcutting. If we were all trappers and lumberjacks, we'd easily get the conditioning we require through the demands of our professions alone. The modern world has corrupted our health in more ways than one.

My wife and I cancelled our gym memberships at the onset of the pandemic and set up a home facility instead: free weights and a bench, a treadmill, and so on. Whenever possible, I like to get my cardio outside. I live in a hilly area, so a four-mile hike on such terrain is a great workout, but the fierce winters here condemn me to the treadmill for extended periods. I don't mind cold, but prolonged exposure to subzero temps is imprudent.
 

flamateurhour

Active Member
Yes.

I've only ever done manual labor work. Tile setting with my pops, landscaping, intense distribution warehouse work, fencing (fence building not swords) and farming. As a skinny 160lb tall dude I landed into my late 20's and realized that my body was trashed. On top of my work, I'd also played drums with varying levels of bad technique and posture. The extent of this damage wasn't really highlighted until I really got into the meat of my yoga journey. Over the years I'd developed a certain asymmetry to my body and an inefficient muscle systems.

Yoga really highlighted just how connected every piece of the human body is, and how a weakness or lack of flexibility in one aspect can effect the whole body. Tight calves causing crappy knee mobility which caused me to overcompensate my movement in other places and in turn caused bad back posture which then affected my upper body mobility, which then had profound effects on my shoulder strength and flexibility (and was likely the culprit of some neck pain). Bad shoulder mobility and strength = bad movement around the kit. Yoga also developed muscle tone in the structural support muscles and also got me balancing on one foot a lot. This helped me not only stay balanced on the throne, but also helped identify when I was actually out of alignment and forcing my body to utilize muscles it didn't need to.

More than anything it acted as a catalyst for me to begin researching mobility, posture, breathing, and mindfulness. I don't really do yoga anymore, but the breath-work, mobility (especially FRC/Kinstretch), and meditation feel like the logical progression of many of the artform's more core areas of focus.
 

SmoothOperator

Gold Member
More than anything it acted as a catalyst for me to begin researching mobility, posture, breathing, and mindfulness. I don't really do yoga anymore, but the breath-work, mobility (especially FRC/Kinstretch), and meditation feel like the logical progression of many of the artform's more core areas of focus.

I agree I don't want to discourage anyone with my post above Yoga is great I have taken classes on a number of occasions, but it is also somewhat limited, I need to go run seven miles and do pullups, and skin the cats. I do some lunges and warrior poses daily; I prefer to do them on a balance beam for extra challenge. Yoga however is only tangentially related to drums.
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Diamond Member
I started doing yoga about 10 years ago when we started using it in my high school indoor, and outdoor drumline to help build body balance, strength and awareness for modern day, dance based, drill demand. It is now a tradition for us to end each practice session in the spring and summer with a half hour of basic yoga stuff. I sort of can't believe it has become qs much of a thing as it is with the kids, but they love ending a 2 hour intense drumline practice with a period of calming music and relaxation

yoga has also really helped my mountain biking as well, as it has given me better balance, and strength in that activity

I also started doing it at home with my wife. it gives us some together time that is not rooted in "domestic bs" situations like triaging the latest roof leak, or broken appliance...

one of my biggest fears as I age is losing mobility. I think yoga is a great way to push that as far off as I can
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Diamond Member
I don't participate in yoga, but my fitness regimen is central to my lifestyle. I lift weights several days a week and get cardio five to six days a week. I've been active my entire life and firmly believe that a conditioned body and a healthy mind go hand in hand. A sedentary existence would drive me mad.

". . . being grateful that we can play, amongst other things."

Gratitude is paramount to fulfillment. As I age, I take nothing for granted. I treat each drumming session, whether with other musicians or alone, as a gift to be cherished. Nothing is guaranteed. Embracing the moment is mandatory.

I will be quoting this line at my drumline practice this weekend when we have our skull session!!!!
 

Hypercaffium

Active Member
Thanks for reading the article and feedback! That's awesome that you're a calisthenics athlete; the flexibility / mobility element of Yoga, I'd imagine, are fantastic for the kind of work you do, right?
Yes, especially for stretching and balance. It's a good way to unload muscles and tendons, which is crucial to keep a good balance between strength and flexibility.
 

C. Dave Run

Gold Member
I've done yoga in the past with P90X. I enjoyed the yoga, but not enough to keep going. Plyometrics can kiss my all of it.

I get my exercise working like others. Between the house, yard, and cars I have plenty to do. Good thing because I can't stand just sitting there.
 

flamateurhour

Active Member
I agree I don't want to discourage anyone with my post above Yoga is great I have taken classes on a number of occasions, but it is also somewhat limited, I need to go run seven miles and do pullups, and skin the cats. I do some lunges and warrior poses daily; I prefer to do them on a balance beam for extra challenge. Yoga however is only tangentially related to drums.
I agree. I think that yoga is fantastic, and if a person became devoted to that and no other fitness method they would find themselves living a very healthy and functional existence. We all have different needs, and mine led me in a different direction (as did yours).

Yoga helped me with drums because once I did it long enough everything starting feeling like it had a practical yoga application behind it. I find myself in between songs on the kit thinking "okay Wade pull your shoulders back and down, unclench your jaw, breathe through your nose, sit up tall, head over heart, heart over pelvis" lol.

I need to start doing balance beam warrior poses but I want to do them 80's Karate Kid montage style because that sounds badass.
 

JoeVermont

Active Member
Absolutely! The biggest benefit was learning what it feels like when I'm pushing my body to be in ways it should not go - like sitting too high and playing with standard grip. I was like, "Oh, there's a tension that I've been kind of blowing off." Practicing yoga helps me sleep better and my posture is amazingly good. I also meditate and that has helped me to be grounded and stay calm before a gig, and also improved my ability to listen to the rest of the band while rehearsing and playing. No doubt both yoga and meditation have made me a better drummer.
 

C.M. Jones

Diamond Member
Damn, you guys shame me. I really need to up my game on the exercise front…:unsure:(y)
There's no time like the present, Mr. Strange. First, hire a canoe and row right down the Thames. Then climb the Tower of London. Finally, after two strong cups of tea (preferably Assam with milk) and a few biscuits dashed with Devon Clotted Cream, proceed at once to Yorkshire, where you'll pass the early evening hiking through the moors and skipping through the dales. Repeat four days a week, and you'll be the model of English fitness in a fortnight!
 
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Al Strange

Platinum Member
There

There's no time like the present, Mr. Strange. First, hire a canoe and row right down the Thames. Then climb the Tower of London. Finally, after two strong cups of tea (preferably Assam with milk) and a few biscuits dashed with Devon Clotted Cream, proceed at once to Yorkshire, where you'll pass the early evening hiking through the moors and skipping through the dales. Repeat four days a week, and you'll be the model of English fitness in a fortnight!
You know what? You’re right…I’ll get my coat, waders and hiking boots on; I may be some time!:ROFLMAO:(y)
 
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