You don’t have to be injured and anxious to be a successful musician.
Did you know that? I didn’t, and that’s how I ended up clenching my teeth through overwhelming anxiety, wearing a wrist brace while practicing, and dreading performances. I thought that suffering for my art made me more dedicated, focused, and marketable. I thought this was all part of the gig.
Yoga taught me that I was wrong.
I’d attended yoga classes for much of my life: My mom would plop 5-year-old me down on a mat beside her instead of investing in a babysitter. But even though I’d been exposed to yoga, I had no grasp of how applicable and deep the practice could be. My high school ex-boyfriend deserves some credit here (whaaaat!), because it was the first yoga class after our very, very dramatic break-up that hooked me forever. I was awestruck by the impact it had on my broken heart: I felt like I could move the emotion and hurt right out of my body and reconnect to a deeper level of myself. I felt safe. I felt like I was healing.
I went on to graduate high school and choose music education as my undergraduate career path. Exploring what it meant to be a full-time music student was the most joyful and terrifying time of my life. I was motivated (by love for the instrument and also by sheer terror of failing) to become the best musician that I could be, but practicing became an issue during my sophomore year. My left wrist constantly ached as I was practicing, and the hurt would last for hours afterward. I worried if this injury would affect my career, and the worry spun into debilitating anxiety.
Around that time, a yoga studio opened in my tiny college town. Remembering what an impactful and beautiful part of my life yoga classes had been in high school, I casually began attending classes once a week. I didn’t expect yoga to transfer to musicianship whatsoever, but within a month, I felt yoga shifting the way I practiced flute: I was becoming more aware of my body’s movements in the practice room and I was more easily able to forgive myself for making mistakes. My self-awareness, self-judgment, and wrist pain began to improve. All at once, yoga became a tool for navigating the difficulties of musicianship.
I wanted to learn more. I began yoga teacher training at the Kripalu School of Yoga, where I spent an entire month in yoga-heaven learning about breathing, meditation, movement, anatomy, and alignment. Most of all, I learned about myself. This immersive experience lit a fire inside of me. I knew that sharing yoga with musicians was my calling.
As I employed my new knowledge to build strength and flexibility in my wrist, my chronic pain dissipated. As I practiced meditation and breath-centered movement, it became easier to walk onstage for a performance. As I explored the capabilities of my body, mind, and heart, I began to speak to myself in a more loving way in the practice room. Yoga helped me find ease in music.
But this ease was painfully absent from the lives of my friends. Lack of sleep, anxiety, hours in a practice room, and ramen noodles were slowly transforming my peers into zombies. I desperately wanted to share the practice of yoga with them, to help them. The lone yoga studio in town had no openings for new teachers, so I reserved the choir room, decorated it with twinkly lights, moved the piano out of the way, and began teaching yoga for musicians and meditation classes in the school of music.
Since those early days, I’ve guided meditations for students before big performances, studied the effect of meditation on ensemble rehearsals, taught yoga in large groups and small groups, at studios and in homes, at an international music festival and at a rec center. I deeply feel that sharing the gift of yoga with musicians is my purpose. I am here to help you, to prevent your injury, to remind you to breathe, to gently cue right and left. And most of all, to love you.
Let’s practice yoga together, friend. I’d love to hear from you here.
200-hour Yoga Teacher Training, Brahmani Liebman & Jashoda Edmunds,
Kripalu School of Yoga, 2014
Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education, Henderson State University, 2016
Reiki Level I, Academy of Holistic Arts, 2016
Reiki Level II, Lotus Path, 2017
85-hour Kripalu Vinyasa Training, Coby Kozlowski & Michelle Dalbec,
Kripalu School of Yoga, 2017
85-hour Pranayama and Advanced Asana Training, Yoganand Michael Carroll & Janna Delgado, Kripalu School of Yoga, 2018
Graduate Teaching Assistant, Yoga and the Creative Arts & Flute Studio, Texas Tech University, 2018
Offering Yoga and Mindfulness in Prisons & Jails, Bill Brown & Tierney Lawson, Prison Yoga Project, 2019
85-hour Uniting Yoga and Ayurveda Training, Kate O’Donnell & Larissa Hall Carlson, Kripalu School of Yoga, 2019
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A special thank you:
Beth Haller Photography took many of the beautiful photos that you see on this website, and she is one of my most treasured friends. She is based in Massachusetts.
Rafael Quiroz created Practice Room Yoga’s logo, and he is a wonderful artist in all mediums! He is based in Virginia and Arkansas.