My friend Anne Jelinek knows all about mindful breathing.

I’ve been practicing yoga for many years, and like with my drumming, I’m always learning something. A big part of yoga involves mindful breathing and movement. I was reminded of this recently, and it struck me that mindful breathing lends itself to the practice of drumming. As a drummer/vocalist, I have to give thought to breath, especially if I’m singing a lead part. Working on new material for a recent show, it came to my attention that mindful breath is something that I could improve upon. Even when I’m not singing, I thought, my breathing should be steady, regular, and intentional. The act of mindfully breathing while playing drums helps me relax while playing, which helps me to be the best drummer/vocalist that I can be. The act of playing and performing is in and of itself relaxing, but my body isn’t necessarily relaxed at all times when playing. My not-so-relaxed moments can be anything from gripping sticks too tightly to tensing my kick-pedal foot. It’s not unusual for my gigs to involve over two and a half hours of playing time, not to mention that I’m my own roadie and drum tech. Being relaxed is super important to my drumming, and my ability to do it well. Does yoga help with all of this? Absolutely! There are also lots of great breathing exercises available on YouTube and your favorite streaming music service, and I highly recommend trying them. Nothing, however, beats the mindful act of breathing while doing (or playing).