Nicole is a Juilliard-trained classical flutist and Curriculum Developer, who earned a B.S. in Psychology from NYU and an M.A. in Education from Queens College. She is a Yoga Alliance Certified Yoga Educator, who studies the Ashtanga Yoga Method with her teacher and mentor, Eddie Stern. Nicole continually pursues anatomy studies with Irene Dowd and with Leslie Kaminoff and Amy Matthews at The Breathing Project, to refine her understanding of the structure of the human body and its relationship to the dynamic movement of the yoga postures and breathing practices.
Nicole is also passionate about her study of Sanskrit, the classical language of Ancient India. Each word is a small musical treasure, comprised of primordial sounds that were systematically developed to include the natural progression of sounds created in the human mouth. Nicole is fascinated by its inherent musicality and the physiological effects of its unique vibratory structure.
After developing scoliosis, a complex three-dimensional deformity of the spine, from many hours of flute practice over many years, Nicole dedicated herself to sharing the transformative science and art of yoga. Through yoga, Nicole was able to realign her spine and strengthen the muscles supporting her back. She now breathes and moves without pain or discomfort.
After speaking with musicians of all ages, Nicole realized that she was not alone. Many of them developed physical problems from long hours of practice. Musicians are often not explicitly taught how to prevent injury or how to recognize the warning signs by developing better body awareness and a healthy relationship with their instrument. During music lessons, most of the time is spent on the music itself. Not much time is allocated to how we produce the sound. One of the best ways to improve sound, is to take a step back and return to the fundamental issues of how the weight of the body is sensed, how the weight of the body is held and how that translates into playing the instrument with ease. It is about a global change in the support that is underneath the part touching the instrument, to facilitate a more refined way to move at or with the instrument.
Since all body movement is directed and coordinated by our nervous system, taming the mind and changing negative thought patterns is paramount to an artist’s success. Nicole understands that a consistent low-grade “fight-or-flight” response to chronic pain and stress is one of the main obstacles to healing. This incessant undercurrent of stress can cause and perpetuate muscle tension, poor circulation, impaired digestion and shallow breathing, depriving the body of oxygen and nutrients it needs for optimal health and healing.
Nicole emphasizes the cultivation of vinyasa, the synchronization of breath and movement. Learning to control the breath calms and clears the mind to cultivate a relaxed, yet focused concentration that reduces the risk of repetitive stress injuries and re-educates the body to replace debilitative tension-holding patterns with healthier movement habits. Nicole’s goal is to empower artists to fully inhabit their bodies so they can live healthier, happier and more productive musical lives.
E-mail Nicole with questions about Yoga for the Arts at firstname.lastname@example.org