How Violinists Can Use Yoga for Health and Performance

February 13, 2017, 9:26 AM · Hello from Melissa White and Elena Urioste! We are absolutely delighted to introduce you to our new program, Intermission Sessions & Retreat. We had a ton of fun making this video for you, and we really hope you enjoy it.

A bit of background about us: we first met in 2003 via a combination of ENCORE School for Strings, the Curtis Institute, and the Sphinx Organization. Through our attendance at and performances in affiliation with all three, we’ve grown to be wonderful friends and collaborators. And, fun fact: we both began playing the violin as a result of watching the very same episode of Sesame Street in 1988!

Unbeknownst to each other, the two of us stumbled upon our respective yoga practices in two different cities over the summer of 2009. Over the past seven years, the benefits that we have both experienced as a result of yoga have been innumerable, from improved muscular control in our violin playing to an increase in self-discipline to a greater sense of peace with the world around us. We’re both active teachers within our respective musical careers, and we’ve often found ourselves advising students to employ principles learned in yoga as much as those from our own musical studies. The truth is, the two fields are inextricably linked, and out of this realization the idea for Intermission was born.

Melissa White and Elena Urioste

So, what is Intermission, exactly? At its core, it’s a philosophy, or a celebration of the symbiosis between music and yoga. In more practical terms, Intermission is comprised of Sessions (a summer program for students) and a series of Retreats (getaways for professional musicians), and the mission of both is to infuse music-making with a sense of mindfulness, self-care, and positivity. Because all of the scholarly analysis and emotional output in the world won’t do diddly-squat if it’s trapped inside a rigid, strained, or burnt-out body!

In this video, we demonstrate a few of our favorite yoga poses that help to combat some of the most common aches and pains that plague violinists: tense shoulders, sore elbows and forearms, and a tired lower back, to name a few. The postures that we’ll walk you through are:

If any of these look confusing on paper, don’t worry — we explain everything in the video! Additionally, we’ll share just a few of the many benefits that yoga has afforded us, from improved concentration to more cooperative digestive systems (seriously).

We really hope you enjoy our introductory video, and if you’d like more information about Intermission — how to apply for our inaugural Retreat, testimonials about yoga from other musicians, how to support us, etc. — you can find us at:

Thank you for welcoming us into your home or workspace to take an Intermission with you, and namaste!

- Melissa and Elena

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February 14, 2017 at 06:14 AM · Yoga has helped me tremendously, as well. I like the fact that it emphasizes flexibility and strength in equal measure, and that there is so much balance work.

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