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Yoga classes trade classic breathing for singing

Sandi Melody turns history in musical performance into unique yoga class

Sandi Melody leading a yoga sing class. Photo by Rebecca Clarkson
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Reported by Rebecca Clarkson

Singers and yogis harmonize in a new program led by Sandi Melody of Harmony House Music School where body awareness and performance are combined.

Melody has been a voice, piano and performance specialist since 1993, but only began teaching yoga this past summer. While earning her Yoga Teacher Training Certificate at Langara College, Melody recognized that both yoga and singing rely on a knowledge of subtle body movements and energy.

“Anything that you pursue, whether yoga or singing, it’s about refining and deepening,” Melody said. “It doesn’t matter what art form it is because in the end it’s all meditation, it’s about getting to that centre.”

Time-slot makes classes popular with retirees

Yoga-sing classes began on Sept. 8 and run every Friday at 10:30 a.m. at the Labyrinth in St.Paul’s Anglican Church on Jervis Street. Due to its time-slot, classes have become popular among Vancouver’s retired community and those who do not work a nine-to-five job.

Classes begin with 45-minutes of yoga followed by 45-minutes of singing. The program will run for six consecutive weeks, but Melody hopes to offer evening and weekend classes in the future.

Singing is a creative twist on classic breathing

“Songs with long phrases achieve the same effect as breathing exercises in yoga. In other words, through song we can exercise a certain control over mental states,” Björn Vickhoff, Musicologist  for the University of Gothenburg, Sweden said in a 2014 study.

Donna Kurtz has practiced yoga for twenty years but only incorporated singing after joining Yoga-sing. Kurtz said laughter and play in classes make the program appropriate for all ages.

“The feeling of singing is more important than how you sound,” said Kurtz. “There’s a tenderness that gets tapped into during class and it’s a really safe place to just let go.”

“In our western civilization we have this idea that only the gifted people can sing, and if you are not born with talent you should not do it,” Melody said. “It’s not about entertainment, it’s about singing for your health.”

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