Yoga Sequence For Flutists

Three Part Breath – Deergha Swasam  Slow deep breathing through the nostrils gradually expanding the abdomen, ribcage, and upper chest.  Inhalations and exhalations each last at least 3-5 five seconds.

Fire Breath – Kapalabhati  A series of 10 –20 strong, quick, consecutive  exhalations through the nostrils using diaphragm kicking.

Neck Rolls – Drop ear to shoulder on each side for 5 breaths.

Arm Elevations – Lift arms to sides, parallel with the floor, palms up, and drop fingertips towards the floor on each side for 5 breaths.

Mountain Pose – Tadasana  Feet together, lift arms over head pressing palms together and keep your shoulders dropped away from your ears.

Sun Salutation – Suryanamaskara  Forward bend, push up, upward dog , downward dog for 5 breaths , step feet between hands, forward bend, lift to mountain pose , hands to the heart.

mountain pose forward bend push up

Mountain Pose  

Forward Bend

Push Up 

upward dog downward dog  

Upward Dog

Downward Dog


Triangle Pose – Trikonasana  Spread feet 3-4 ft. apart, bring arms to parallel, bend to one side, arms perpendicular with the floor and hold for 5 breaths.  Repeat on opposite side.

Forward Bend – Prasarita Padotanasana  Spread feet legs width apart, fold forwards and grab inside of big toes.  Variation 2:  Clasp hands behind the back, lift palms away from tailbone and fold forwards.  Hold each for 5 breaths.

Warrior Pose – Virabhadrasana  Walk right foot forward and bend right knee to line up over the ankle.  Lift arms over head and interlock the bottom three fingers.  Hold for 5 breaths and repeat on the opposite side. 

Tree Pose – Vikrasana  Balance on one foot, place sole of other foot on the inside of the opposite thigh, bring hands to the heart and hold for five breaths.  Repeat on the other side.

triangle pose Forward Bend 1 Forward Bend 2

Triangle Pose

Forward Bend 1

Forward Bend 2

warrior tree  




Seated Forward Bend – Pashimottanasana  With legs together and extended in front of you, fold forwards with a straight spine and take hold of back of legs.  Hold for 5 breaths.

Butterfly – Baddha Konasana  In a seated position, place soles of feet together, grab insides of big toes and open feet like a book, letting knees drop to the floor and elbows press into the legs.  Hold for 5 breaths.

Spinal Twist – Ardha Matsyendrasana  Sitting cross legged, lift right knee and place right heel in front of left ankle.  Grab right knee with left arm, place right arm on floor behind tailbone and twist torso to the back.  Hold for 5 breaths, unwind and repeat to other side.

Seated Forward Bend Butterfly Spinal Twist

Seated Forward Bend


Spinal Twist

Bridge Pose – Setu Bandasana  Lie on back, bend knees with feet 6 inches in front of buttocks, hip width apart.  With arms along side the body, tuck shoulder blades in, lift hips off floor, clasp hands together beneath tailbone and hold for 5 breaths.

Child’s Pose  From table pose (hands and knees on floor shoulder and hip width apart), come to sit on the heels, fold forwards, bring arms along side the body, melt over thighs, and rest for as many breaths as is needed.

Deep Relaxation – Savasana  In a reclined position, slide legs and arms apart, close eyes, release tension in every muscle, allow breath to become more passive, and rest as desired for 5 – 10 minutes (ie. Meditation, visualization, slow conscious breathing, etc.)

Bridge Pose Child’s Pose Savasana

Bridge Pose

Child’s Pose 


Flute Playing Alignment Tips:

“Let the neck be free, let the head move forward and up in relation to the spine so as to lengthen and broaden the back”  Alexander Method Technique

Allow the head to feel suspended by a string from the center of the skull.

Start in recorder position and “ bring the flute to you, do not bring you to the flute”

“Rag Doll” and “Passive, Suggestible Joints”

Face the stand, rotate the lower body to the right until the right shoulder is relaxed, and place the feet in a “V”.

Breathing Tips:

The diaphragm is an involuntary muscle that will naturally expand downwards when the abdominal muscles are relaxed, making room for greater expansion in the lower lobes of the lunges.

Breathe into the back, expanding the rib cage 360 degrees, like butterfly wings.

The chest can rise during the last third of the inhalation; however, the shoulders can remain relaxed and dropped away from the ears while the chest lifts out and up.

Keep the throat open during inhalations and exhalations.   IE. “Finger Breaths”,  “HO!” said backwards

Eight Count Exercise: Inhale for 8 beats, exhale for 8, repeat; inhale for 6, exhale for 8, repeat; in for 4, out for 8; in for 2, out for 8; in for 1, out for 8, repeating each.  Try with and without the flute.  In order to evenly gauge the use of your air make sure that during 8 counts you are only half full after 4 beats of inhalation, and 25% empty after 2 beats, etc.

Extended Chromatics: Set the metronome to  =80 and play two octaves of chromatics in one breath, starting on a note of your choice, slurred, ascending and descending, in eighth notes.  Try this again with the metronome set to  =76.  Continue moving the metronome down one notch at a time until you can no longer play both octaves in one breath.

Recommended Readings

Alexander, F. Matthias, The Alexander Technique

Al Huang, Chungliang and Lynch, Jerry, Thinking Body, Dancing Mind

Fahri, Donna, The Breathing Book

Fahri, Donna, Yoga Mind, Body, and Spirit

Feldenkrais, Moshe, Awareness through Movement – Health Exercises for Personal Growth

Goldstein, Joseph, Insight Meditation

Lieberman, Julie Lyonn, You Are Your Instrument

McGee, Charles T. and Chow, Effie Poy Yew, Qigong – Miracle Healing from China

Ristad, Eloise, Soprano on her Head

Siler, Brooke, The Pilates Body – The Ultimate at-home guide to strengthening, lengthening, and toning your body without machines

Werner, Kenny, Effortless Mastery

Recommended Videos

Kripalu Yoga’s Video Series including: Gentle Yoga and Partner Yoga

Yee, Rodney, The Art of Breath and Relaxation, AM and PM Yoga for Beginners and Yoga Remedies for Natural Healing

Yoga Journal’s Video Series including: Yoga for Beginners, Yoga for Flexibility, Yoga for Relaxation, Yoga for Meditation, and Yoga Basics