Yoga Yogi: Upward Facing Forward Bend

yoga yogi

Do this.

yoga yogi

Don't do this.

Like drumming, the practice of yoga is a path of continual progress with no end to the possibilities of development. And there is nothing like a change in perspective to open up new avenues of insight and understanding. This month’s posture does exactly that.

The basic shape is a forward bend, usually taught as a seated or standing posture, but this variation is flipped over onto its back. The shift in gravity through the body provides a completely unique feel unlike other forward bends and it will broaden your understanding of those postures. From a drumming perspective, I equate this with the idea of shifting your drums and cymbals to somewhere other than your standard placement. This is something that I fool around with from time to time and it certainly makes you play differently.

Take Bill Bruford. His setup went through many changes — to the point that it was almost set up like timpani, and as you might guess, he rarely played any descending tom fills. What you got instead were far more rhythmically creative ideas. another idea along these lines would be arranging your kit as a mirror image of your standard setup. Mike Mangini’s doppelganger setup — or apex as he calls it — is a great example of this approach, with the goal of fostering equal dexterity on either side. It’s mind blowing to see Mangini do it.

With a change in perspective in mind let’s give this one a try. Here’s how to get started:

1. Lay down on your back.
2. Bring your knees into your chest and then extend your legs upward.
3. Hold onto the back of your legs and gently draw your legs toward your body.
4. Keep your weight centered just beneath your shoulder blades with your pelvis as close to the floor as you can and still breathe comfortably.
5. A few repetitions can be performed.

This pose will stretch out your lower back and hamstrings, and after playing for any extended period, that is probably a good idea.