Many you of ask me how did I come to create Piano-Yoga®? Was it an idea which suddenly popped into my mind one day? Something like, 'OK, today I will create Piano-Yoga!' To answer - absolutely not! It was rather a long personal journey.
I came to yoga from a musical background as, being a concert pianist, I had to practice for up to 8 hours a day and as a consequence, in my early 20’s, my back started causing problems. I ended up seeing a back specialist on a weekly basis until one day I said to myself: “No more! I need to find a way to heal myself, by myself.” And this is how I discovered yoga!
I was very fortunate to have a wonderful yoga teacher, Amanda James, who started me on my yogic path. I healed my back, and no longer needed to see a doctor. Whilst being a yoga practitioner, I was working hard on my musical career, and was booked to perform the famous piece 'Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini' by Rachmaninoff with orchestra. My teacher at a time told me that I should never attempt to play this piece, as it was not suited for my hands, which are quite small. However I would not take “No” for an answer! I was convinced that there must be a method which would allow musicians safely to stretch their hands, and so I continued looking for it. After spending a few months, and not finding anything cohesive (as I was looking for a full course, rather than separate exercises), I was facing a dilemma: Either to cancel my engagement, or create such a method myself. I did not want to give up; hence I decided to invent the course! All I did was to apply the principles learnt from my practice with Amanda James to my fingers. I created the appropriate piano exercises and, as if by magic, they allowed me to learn the piece, and to give a successful performance.
This was a beginning of Piano-Yoga®, as I realised that this method helped me to do something which traditional classical piano technique could not. The more I looked into it, the more I realised that yoga can greatly help to overcome performance limitations. Eventually, I decided to take 2 years out of my performing career, and enrolled into the Life Centre to study yoga professionally. Upon graduation, I officially established Piano-Yoga® Studio in London, and in 2009 published my Piano-Yoga® Book: “Transform Your Hands”.
My mission is to help many musicians (professional and amateurs) to perfect their technique though embracing their body and natural skills. I regularly hold Piano-Yoga® Retreats and Masterclasses world-wide, as well as offer 1- 2- 1 sessions. Recently I was teaching especially created yoga course for singers in Los-Angeles (USA). I personally studied Iyengar yoga, Ashtanga yoga, Yin Yoga, and Jivamikti Yoga, but in my teaching, my main focus is on the safety and the final outcome of each practice, whether that is the release of tension, the elimination of stress, a sharpening of focus or creating the mood which is desired for each practice.
In my new video tutorial 'Transform Your Practice: A Complete 11 Stage Guide' I offer a number of yogic exercises which I recommend doing before and during your home piano practice. I use them myself, as well as within the individual classes with my piano students.
Do you do yoga? Do you mix it with the piano? I would love to hear abut your experiences! You are very welcome to leave your notes below this blog.
Like piano, yoga is something you arrive into during your life, or rather, it arrives into yours. And if you click with it, it stays with you forever