Introduction: Yoga Warm-up for Singers

Photo by Yasser El-Haggan


Whether you’re singing in a classroom, a coffeehouse, or Carnegie Hall, you can benefit from yoga before you sing.
 
This instructable is a four-step yoga warm-up for singers called FABS: Focus, Align, Breathe, Stretch. Anyone can complete this exercise in fewer than 10 minutes. You don’t need a yoga mat or props or any musical instruments. All you need is a quiet space and the intention to free your body, mind, and voice.
 
As a singer who struggles with performance anxiety, I am grateful for the peace and clarity that yoga brings, and for the opportunity to better serve the music. That's me in the picture. You can tell from my posture that I still have some work to do!

Tip
  • Use this tutorial to relax the body, mind, and spirit before singing. Do not use it to replace a vocal or instrumental warm-up. Try the two techniques together.
  • Maintain correct breathing in every step of this tutorial. Practice breathing in and out through your belly and not your chest.

Step 1: Focus

Before preparing your body, focus your mind and set your intention.
  1. Close your eyes.
     
  2. Start by using guided imagery to enhance the mind-body connection. There are many ways to achieve this.
    • You could picture something abstract, such as your body surrounded by light.
    • You could picture something concrete, such as singing on a beach, in a forest, or any other place that brings you peace. Play the scenario in your mind for at least 1 minute.
       
  3. Now, expand the mind-body connection. It can be om or any other word you like. Repeat the mantra for up to 1 minute. As you speak, imagine your heart opening and your soul singing.

     

Step 2: Align

To align your body for singing, try Mountain Pose. This pose is the foundation for all standing poses in yoga, and it supports correct posture. In this pose, you will align your body from your feet to your head. Do this pose for 2 minutes.

Tip
Please exercise caution when doing yoga poses. If you have any injuries or other medical concerns, consult with your health care practitioner before doing steps 2 and 3.

  1. Stand up straight with your legs and feet parallel and 3–5 inches apart. Balance your weight between your feet. Lift your toes and put them down, elevating the arch of your feet to stand up straighter. Straighten your legs without locking your knees, and imagine your legs lengthening.
     
  2. Now, imagine a block between your thighs. Then rotate your thighs inward, and lengthen your tailbone to help you stand up even straighter.
     
  3. Lift your chest to extend your spine. Lift up and widen your shoulders, and then move them back and down, lengthening your arms by your sides to open your chest.
     
  4. Lengthen your neck. Keep your chin level, parallel to the ground. Imagine a string attached to the top of your head, pulling it up to the ceiling. Look straight ahead, releasing any tension from our eyes, tongue, and throat.
Are you standing up straight and tall and feeling relaxed? If not, repeat steps 1–4.

Step 3: Breathe

Tip
Sit down in a comfortable location before beginning this step. If you become dizzy or lightheaded, stop the breathing exercise. Breathe normally until you feel it is OK to resume the exercise.

Try alternate nostril breathing to help you feel clear, relaxed, and energized.
  1. Close your right nostril with your right thumb. Breathe in through your left nostril.
     
  2. Close your left nostril with your right ring finger and pinky as you open your right nostril. Breathe out through your right nostril.
     
  3. Breathe in through your right nostril. Close your right nostril with your right thumb. Breathe out through your left nostril.
     
  4. Repeat the cycle for at least 1 minute.
Tip
Consider alternating between alternate nostril breathing and minute breathing. For minute breathing, simply breathe in for 20 seconds, hold your breath for 20 seconds, and then exhale for 20 seconds.

Step 4: Stretch

Try a standing back bend to open your chest.
  1. Stand with your feet parallel and hip’s width apart.
     
  2. Put your hands on your lower back, pointing down.
     
  3. Bend backwards as far as you can comfortably go. Breathe in this position for 30 seconds.
     
  4. Slowly straighten, removing one hand from your back at a time.

Try a forward bend to counter the back bend and help you relax.
  1. Stand with your feet parallel and hip’s width apart.
     
  2. Hinge forward from your hips, keeping your knees slightly bent so you can rest your abdomen on your thighs.
     
  3. Let your arms hang limp with the backs of your hands on the floor.
     
  4. Rise back up slowly, straightening your back one vertebra at a time.

For the final pose and the last step in the warm-up, try a standing Lion’s Pose.
  1. Stand with your feet parallel and hip’s width apart.
     
  2. Press your palms against your knees and spread your fingers.
     
  3. Lean forward slightly.
     
  4. Roll your eyes upward, open your mouth wide and stick your tongue out so it points toward your chin, and sigh or say “ah!”

Step 5: Conclusion

Now close the yoga sequence by closing your eyes and relaxing all parts of your body once more. If you feel like it, chant a word such as om. You may also say "namaste," which a word often used to close group yoga sessions. The word means "I bow to you."

The yoga warm-up for singers is now complete. Do you feel relaxed and confident? Good! Please keep this Instructable handy for the next time you have to perform. Don't forget, you can download a PDF version of the Instructable. You can also download the Instructables mobile app.

Once you are familiar with this routine, consider creating an index card for each step of FABS, with the header and a brief description. Or jot down the steps on a piece of paper and tape it to the back of your guitar or the wall of your studio.

Happy singing!

Thank for you trying this Instructable. Please e-mail any feedback to keyth9@yahoo.com.

Comments