I like to think I am one step ahead of the ‘new year, new me’ gang. Way back in 2016, two months ago to be precise, I started a new craze. Each morning I’d pad down the hill to a wooden hut at the bottom of my road. Inside the hut I’d lie on the floor for about 20 minutes, really focus on taking breaths in and out and occasionally wave my legs in the air before parting with my hard earned cash. Yes, reader, I had discovered yoga.
Like every gym atendee in the UK I have previously dabbled in the odd yoga class at the local leisure centre class, rolling and curving into a downward dog and stretching into a sun salutation. To be frank ‘allowing myself’ to find hideously uncomfortable contortions whilst listening to the best of pan pipe moods was pretty much hell. Give me adrenaline, blood, sweat, tears and you know, the motivation to ‘do’ something, anything really, so long as it was hard and sweaty. You get the idea.
Still, turns out I needed a little quiet time after all and I have found huge benefits to my trumpet playing from yoga. I like to be relaxed on stage and in rehearsals, comfortable and confident. Or at least as close to that as it is possible to be! I want my trumpet playing to look and sound easy. Sometimes the hours of work that go into achieving that confidence can lead to strain and tension. (Especially when you think the weight of a trumpet is around 2.5 pounds, which might not sound a lot but trust me you'd feel it if you held it in the air for four hours and carried it and its 3 sisters in a bag on your way to work).
For me yoga has added an awareness of the limitations of my flexibility. By contorting into new positions I feel that I can genuinely open up more space to breathe, release tension and above all give myself a little time to just be still and quiet.
I still want to get back to my prefered hobby, boxing, but for the moment I'm sticking with this floor lieing stuff called yoga.