Our guest blog is from yoga teacher and flautist Veronika Klirova who joins our Community Drop In on 1 February teaching Musicians’ Yoga to Manage Anxiety.

Nearly eight years ago, I started a new job at one of the symphony orchestras in the UK. I was fresh out of college and, quite frankly, couldn’t believe my luck having been familiar with the odds of this happening (considering the number of flute students versus the number of flute jobs). But for all the excitement, there was an equal amount of anxiety. Was I going to do ok? Would I manage all the new repertoire? And, one that I don’t like to admit, did they make a mistake? Am I going to be found out as a fraud?

Prior to this as a music college student, I established a steady yoga practice routine for myself. Yoga was my sanctuary from all the stresses and pressures of that stage of my career. It was a place where I could just let go. I felt amazing afterward but I didn’t quite see behind the scenes. I didn’t know what the specific tools were that were helping me so much at the time nor why.

This may explain the fact that, once starting my new job, I decided to put going to yoga classes on hold in order to manage all the workload that was coming my way. Not the wisest of decisions as you can imagine. I can still remember those first few months. How stressed out I was, my difficulty falling asleep, then waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to fall back asleep. Add to that all of the pressure I was putting myself under wanting everything to be perfect and you’ve got a recipe for a disaster.

Fast forward to today, having trained as a yoga teacher in 2018 and worked with performers since then, it has made me understand what practices would make the biggest impact for them and myself. And if there is one thing I would like you to take away from this, it would be that yoga is not just stretching or Instagram worthy postures. For me, the biggest impact comes from these practices being able to regulate your response to stress.

If I could go back in time and sit down with my anxious 25-year old self, I would teach them how to self-regulate, relax and find calm and resilience in the face of all of the pressures they were facing. And most of all, I would tell them to be kinder to themselves and take care of their mental health because selfcare isn’t candy. It’s a necessity if we want to thrive as performers.

On Tuesday 1st February 2022, I have the pleasure of being a guest at the BAPAM Community Drop-in session teaching Musicians’ Yoga to Manage Anxiety.