Meditation and mindfulness for musicians – Spotify for artists

For a musician, writing, recording, performing, promoting, touring, and often working elsewhere has very little time for self-reflection and R&R. But more and more artists – from Kendrick Lamar Per Katy Perry-Teaching towards meditation for their well-being and the possibility of tapping into another level of their creativity. It only takes ten minutes a day, but it can change your life, according to Jesse Israel, a meditation teacher and wellness leader, a former music manager and record-label head who knows the ins and outs of music.

When he was in his twenties, Israel started managing the band MGMT And launches record label Cantora Records from his NYU dormitory house. By the time he graduates, he is already experiencing panic attacks and debilitating anxiety. He soon returned to meditation and began to experience some dramatic changes. “My anxiety started to subside, and I started to feel much clearer about what I wanted to do, what I stood for, and how I could use my creativity and skills. I was working with.”

Eventually Israel left Cantora and began organizing community meditations. That monthly gathering, called the Medi Club, grew Big cool, Which involves mass meditation in iconic places like Madison Square Garden. Through these events, he has collaborated like a musician Miguel And its members Arch fire. Israel believes that when artists are vocal about self-care practices such as mental health and meditation, it helps make other instruments and resources more accessible to other musicians.

The Big Quote courtesy of Jesse Israel

The Big Quote courtesy of Jesse Israel

Why meditate?

When Israel speaks of meditation, it first focuses on the science behind it. Studies have shown that it can significantly reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression.

“Meditation can change our nervous system and re-energize our brain if we practice it regularly,” he says. He explains that although it is certainly not a cure, it can gradually alter an evolutionary function controlled by the sympathetic nervous system in how you feel and how you deal with the stresses of your life. The “fight-or-flight” response is designed to help people in life-threatening situations; When it is triggered, your heart rate increases, breathing becomes faster and shallower, muscles tighten, arteries constrict and blood thickens. The body is flooded with adrenaline and stress hormones and the digestive and reproductive systems are shut down so that you have extra energy to fight or escape.

“The unfortunate thing about this is that our bodies have not really been able to capture the changes we are experiencing today. Some bad fight-or-flight response like a bad email or text or Instagram comment will trigger, “Israel explains.” It is said that we feel an average of 25 fight or flight triggers every day. Can feel, but the physiological changes are still happening for about an hour, which means that most of us are stuck in a constant fight-or-flight situation, resulting in fatigue, exhaustion, and burnout, which affects our work, creation, and enjoyment of our lives. Affects.

However, meditation can begin to reduce the stress response by turning on the parasympathetic nervous system, which relaxes you, calms you down, allows you to digest properly, and releases sensory chemicals such as serotonin. “You will find that with less stress and anxiety blocking your system, you will begin to do everything with more heart, presence, attention, clarity and creativity. You will become more decisive, confident and comfortable,” Israel says. “And it can greatly increase your chances for success.”

Pictures of mass meditation courtesy of Big Calm

Pictures of mass meditation courtesy of Big Calm

Start practicing a meditation and mindfulness

Of course, getting started is always the hardest part. Here are Israel’s top tips for starting regular meditation practice and promising to do daily digital detox to help open your mind, body and creative soul.

1. Find a meditation teacher, course, or application.

Israel believes that the best way to start a continuous meditation practice is to be trained by someone who can teach you how to do it. But if this is not realistic for you, he suggests using an app, e.g. 1 monster mind, Calm down, Or Headspace. Otherwise playlists, e.g. Mind massage, Good resources too.

2. Commit to meditating every morning for a month.

It’s all about making a habit. Go with a teacher or app that clicks with you (you may have to try something to get started), and then promise to meditate for 10 minutes every morning for a month. “It may seem like a long time to start, but those 10 minutes will greatly affect the remaining 23 hours and 50 minutes of your day,” he says.

3. Put your phone in airplane mode when you go to sleep.

This is a suggestion for everyone, but he especially likes to offer traveling musicians. When you go to sleep at night, put the phone in airplane mode and do not turn it on again after your morning meditation.

4. Keep your phone out of the bedroom.

Better yet, keep the phone far away from your bed. This can be a little more challenging on the tour, but Israel does not recommend sleeping with the phone in your bedroom and ideally uses an analog alarm clock. “It can change the strength of the house, the quality of your sleep and even the ability to be present with your partner,” he says.

5. Turn off notifications for almost everything.

Nix misleading notifications. “If a musician can limit these to just a few critical apps, it will change their ability to be present, to be creative, to perform, to create music, to connect with their group. It’s a game-changer and I can’t recommend enough, “said Israel.

6. Find time for mini mindful moments …

Even when you are about to go out on stage. Here’s a quick and easy breathing technique for when your nerves will get better than yours: Sit or stand in a chair while keeping your spine straight. Take a deep breath, let the chest and abdomen be completely filled with air. Then, sip in a little more air and hold it for a few seconds before it comes out. Repeat five times.

7. Be present.

Another mindfulness technique is when you notice that you find yourself being distracted, say, a meeting with your label, shifting your focus to your toes, feeling every numbness towards your socks and shoes. “It takes you back into your body. Whenever we are able to reconnect with our body, we will be able to reset in the present moment,” Israel says.

Prioritize time to do nothing.

Outside of meditation, Israel also advises setting a time to do something – not to feel guilty about it. Read a novel, listen to music, take a walk, or just relax in the sun. “These things are so important, and they’re turning into almost lost art,” he says. But at this point artists will often realize their greatest creative potential. Science can even back up this theory, with plenty of evidence showing that a relaxed brain can bring us the best and brightest light-bulb moments.

– Stephanie Garr

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