Published in DRUM! Magazine's December 2010 Issue
Watch any great drummer today and you will see a flurry of movement, a blur of hands and feet, an unbelievable degree of independence and coordination, and they all have a strong sense of center.
The idea of staying centered while the arms and legs are in constant motion at our periphery is usually a concept in your head that doesn’t always translate to the appropriate action in your body. You might be leaning to one side or forward into the future (rushing) or slouching backward into the past (dragging). This is how posture can have a subtle yet profound effect on playing. Yoga can help in this process by getting you out of your head and into your body so you develop a more visceral knowledge, a feeling as opposed to a thought of correct posture.
If I may quote Bruce Lee, “Don’t think … Feel.” Lee was a master of staying in the moment or centered. This pose is all about opening up from our center to our periphery – a foundation idea behind yogic movement and a foundation for playing a drum kit as well. Here’s how:
1. Stand tall with your feet together.
2. Separate your feet roughly 3 feet apart from the midline and turn the right leg and foot 90 degrees to the right.
3. Bend the right knee and place your finger tips on the floor in front of the right foot and slightly to the right. The left hand can rest on the left hip.
4. Carefully shift all of your weight onto the right leg and lift the left leg straight out behind you. Straighten the right leg (try your fingers on a block or a stack of books if you cannot straighten your leg comfortably). The left arm can reach upward and you can gaze upward as well.
5. Hold for several breaths and repeat on the left side. A few repetitions are recommended. This posture can also be used in a posture flow to challenge your balance in motion.
The standing postures of yoga offer a great deal of benefit to any drummer wanting to keep his body strong and limber and they can be practiced almost anywhere, so get off your throne and stretch out regularly. Consistency is the key to success. Be sure to check with your doctor before starting this or any exercise program.