How does a musician or writer create? I bet you are naming off phrases like “from inspiration”, “the muses”, “from in their soul”, etc. While yes, all of those attributes are important and bring value to our writing, as musicians and writers we have to move our bodies to create. We can’t sing or play without incorporating our bodies! Consequently, we have to be connected to our bodies in order to fully support our writing. If our bodies aren’t moving freely and we have energy blocks, we’re not really able to fully connect or receive feedback for our writing. Our bodies work in tandem with our thoughts and ideas, so giving our bodies special attention is an act of service to our art. Sometimes our bodies and minds become disconnected from stress, misuse, or lack of attention.
Allow me to introduce you to the concept of Body Mapping. This is a pillar concept in the Alexander Technique and has influenced my musicianship and writing. We all have an idea of what our body is mapped out like but sometimes maps get off track. I’ve found that some exercises from Alexander Technique and my yoga practice have really helped me fine-tune movements in my body so I connect with myself deeper.
There are a few mottos about treating the body right that we hear over and over. “You are what you eat,” “My body is a temple,” etc. And while those mean well, I don’t think they really offer us actionable steps to work towards servicing our bodies. If your body isn’t feeling good, chances are your writing isn’t going to feel so good either. Here are some actionable steps to nurture your body and to service your art.
Ways Songwriters Can Nurture Their Bodies
- Meditation: This is a great way to slow down and focus on your breathing.
- Yoga: I recommend a gentle yoga practice daily. The benefits of yoga are endless.
- Warm up/Cool Down: Send your body a signal that you are ready to create by warming up with a few stretches before you start playing or writing. When you are finished do the same to tell your body it’s time to move on.
- Drinking Water: Staying hydrated is a must! Drink about half your body weight or more a day and reap the benefits.
- Exercise: De-stress and clear your mind by taking walks, lifting heavy weights, dancing, whatever fits your style. If you are afraid of exercising try some in your home at first!
- Get plenty of rest! Rest is productive and important to keep your body healthy. Prioritize 8 hours of sleep per night, too!
- Eat Protein: Most of us are lacking protein which is an essential macronutrient. Protein will support your muscles and leave you feeling satisfied. There are lots of ways to get protein even if you don’t eat meat!
- Eat plenty of Vegetables and Fruits: Have a healthy portion at every meal! My favorite way is in a smoothie or a cold-pressed juice.
- Anti-Inflammatory Foods: Try to avoid foods like dairy, gluten, wheat, sugar, and corn that can cause inflammation. Inflammation can cause stiff joints and sometimes arthritis.
- Posture: Think about how you approach your instrument or writing. Make sure your instrument or surface is coming to you, not the other way around.
These are all examples of ways that we can move and get in touch with the map of our body so we can create the best art we can. Which one will you try first?