I remember as a child, sometime around third grade, having a teacher tell us that our voices were our instruments, and that we needed to take care of them. This was an interesting concept to me. I suppose it was silly of me to imagine a viola in my throat, and chuckle to myself at the thought. But something about that stuck. I had already been taking dance for several years. Singing was important to just about everyone in my family. Somehow the thought of this natural inborn instrument made be feel like being careful, mindful, and even appreciate it a little more.
Today, as the weekend begins, I want to suggest that part of gathering energy in our practice, of putting the right amount of effort into what we do when we practice yoga, is to gather this sort of esteem for the practice, and our body. The idea of the entire body being your instrument, and the need to care for it well, so it will “sound” beautiful, play beautifully, perform beautifully is really a rich concept if you think about it.
When my teacher talked about caring for our instruments, I actually wondered about how instruments are cared for. I had a group of friends who were playing wind instruments, and they showed me all about the care of their flutes and clarinets. I learned what a reed was, and how much cleaning and caring there was involved. My father played guitar and I watched more carefully when he tuned his guitar and placed a small plastic case with some sort of material in it, open, in the case. This was to make sure the humidity stayed appropriate for the wood of the guitar. “Oh – what effect does humidity have on my voice,” I thought. I asked questions and tried to understand how this would relate to my voice. I began to notice that soda (pop?) really affected the ability to sing, that eating sugary foods wasn’t helpful before a performance. I began to care about what I did that supported my voice or could potentially harm it.
So, now I invite you to think about the care of the body. The joints, the muscles, the bones, the respiratory system, the circulation all need proper care for continued performance. What is the proper way to make sure you care for your instrument? Imagine you are a first chair player, with hours and hours a day for practice, and performance. In fact, you are.
Have a great weekend!
Yoga Pose of the Day: Cobra – Bhujangasana
Yogic Concept of the Day: My body is my instrument. Let me care for it.