Yoga is a system of practices designed to enhance and improve mental and physical health. It consists of various exercises ranging from meditation to breathing exercises. The literature abounds with evidence of its benefits for stress, cognitive and physical performance, as well as psychiatric conditions like anxiety and depression.
For example, in the musical profession performance anxiety is predominant, involving self-defeating thoughts and intense autonomic arousal, which can be so severe as to drive the individual to renounce her musical career. In addition, there is evidence of an association between anxiety and performance-related musculoskeletal disorders, a disorder that is typically treated with rest and various relaxation methods. Yoga, in particular, seems to be therapeutically suited to alleviate and prevent those psychological and physical problems.
To test this hypothesis, the current study established a yoga protocol including meditation and breathing exercises for a sample of young professional musicians. Consistent with previous findings, the results show improvement in performance anxiety and overall mood in the participants. Specifically, the participants reported that the breathing exercises helped them effectively manage their performance anxiety even immediately prior to a concert.
Khalsa SB, Shorter SM, Cope S, Wyshak G, Sklar E. Yoga ameliorates performance anxiety and mood disturbance in young professional musicians. Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback. 2009 Dec;34(4):279-89. doi: 10.1007/s10484-009-9103-4. Epub 2009 Aug 6. PMID: 19657730.