Health & Wellness

Rozalind MacPhail’s 15 Healthy Habits on the Road

Posted by on May 2, 2018 in Featured, Health & Wellness, Issues, Lifestyle, May 2018 | 0 comments

Rozalind MacPhail’s 15 Healthy Habits on the Road

1. Juice half a lemon with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and a teaspoon of unpasteurized honey and mix into a big warm glass of water. Drink on an empty stomach daily when you first wake up. 2. Meditate for 15 minutes upon waking up and before going to bed. This helps to clear your head and make for a more restful sleep. 3. 25 minutes of exercise every day, whether it’s yoga, a walk in nature, a brisk jog or a relaxing swim in the pool. Don’t forget to pack a yoga mat for the road! I’ve practiced yoga poses in the airport when there’s been a delays and it make waiting so much easier. It also adds great cushioning for my electronic equipment. 4. Add Emergen-C packets to your water bottle and drink more water than you think you need! 5. Write in a journal daily to unload any stress from the day. It can also be a great way to remember all of the magical moments we’re experiencing on the road. 6. Bring loads of healthy snacks! I pack raw veggies and fresh fruit, rice crackers with hummus, raw nuts and seeds and homemade vegan treats if I have a place to store them. I try to avoid anything that will make me feel bloated. Dark chocolate is la lovely treat. 7. I can’t live without my blender! I love making homemade almond milk and smoothies to get in some extra veggies while I’m on the road. This is hard to do when flying though. When heading to a new town, I look for places where I can buy fresh green juice and homemade nut milks. I always look for the healthy food store to see what treasures I can find. I always buy local whenever possible. 8. Add a mindfulness app to your phone as a reminder to relax and release when things get stressful. 9. Bring an inspiring book that you can get totally lost in. 10. Buy postcards on the road and write love notes to all the people you are grateful to have in your life. Sometimes just writing about things we’re grateful for can totally turn our day around. 11. I like to add liquid chlorophyll to my water bottle throughout the day. It builds the immune system, cleanses the blood and keeps bad body odour away. 12. I bring oil of oregano and put a couple drops underneath my tongue with a big glass of water when I’m feeling run down. 13. I love my neti pot! Keeps the sniffles away and cleans any dust and mould out of our sinus cavities. Great for allergies and congestion from flying. 14. Packing my favourite caffeine-free tea helps me avoid the urge for coffee when I’m feeling tired. 15. I always pack my favourite soap. That way, wherever I am, I always have something from...

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Music As Silence

Posted by on Mar 6, 2018 in Featured, Health & Wellness, Issues, Lifestyle, March 2018 | 0 comments

Music As Silence

"Transcendental Meditation is a simple, natural, effortless technique practiced 20 minutes twice each day while sitting comfortably with the eyes closed.  The TM technique allows your active mind to easily settle inward, through quieter levels of thought, until you experience the most silent and peaceful level of your own awareness — pure consciousness." I started practicing TM last fall, and in combination with plant medicine work, I have learned how to really listen to silence and feel stillness, both in my flute playing and in my life.  --Fluterscooter There wouldn't be music without silence, or movement without stillness.  How much are we paying attention to the spaces between notes, conversations, nature?  There is so much noise everywhere, and the noise can keep getting louder if you remain unconscious.  I have never had a television and am rarely on social media, have moved far away from loud cities, spend much of my days meditating and in quietude, and will soon do a 10 day silent Vipassana retreat. The idea of living as a monk or nun appeals to me. These might seem like extreme examples, but it is because most people do not understand how to really embrace the silence and be aware.  While driving, I often observe trees throughout the seasons, and as they are only branches in winter, the beautiful spring foliage would not exist if it was not for the spaces between the branches where the leaves will bloom. The shakuhachi is a great example of this.  In my past article, "Can We Achieve Enlightenment Through Sound?" I discussed breathing and meditation through practicing long tones, as monks used the shakuhachi as an extension of meditating (breathing meditation, in and out, and listening to the sound to achieve enlightenment).  What I realize now is that while breathing and meditation on the long tones is effective, listening to the space in between the notes is equally, if not more important, and when I practice long tones now, I am taking more time in the spaces rather than thinking about getting to the next note.  And this also relates to PROCESS.  Many performers are focused on the performance and forget about the process, because they are thinking to the future rather than the present.  I enjoy the process far more than the performance, and I like to practice what I call "mindless mindfulness," or "mindful mindlessness."  They are both the same but also different.  For example, making ice cream cones for 16 hours a day might sound like a boring, mindless activity, but it's all about the approach.  When we do any activity mindfully and filter out any noise, any activity can become meditative, peaceful, and pure. Before I started practicing TM, I did not fully understand meditation.  What are you supposed to think about?  Why are all these thoughts in my head and how do I get them out?  How do I relax?  By repeating a silent mantra 20 minutes a day, twice a day, I realized I'm not actually supposed to think about anything during meditation and just focus on my mantra! Of course, thoughts will come up, but just as easy as the thoughts enter, so can the mantra.  And that is really where it clicked for me.  By going back to a place of silence by mindless...

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Music as Breath

Posted by on Mar 2, 2018 in Featured, Health & Wellness, Issues, Lifestyle, March 2018 | 1 comment

Music as Breath

"The sound of the flute is the breath of God" -Rumi The Flute View's Viviana Guzman and Fluterscooter discussed breathwork, trance, meditation, silent retreats, and how learning breath from various spiritual practices can be incorporated into using our breath as flutists, and how we can make better music from it. Fluter:  How has doing this spiritual work changed your musical landscape and how does it relate to your flute playing?   Viviana: I've always felt as I'm doing my morning tuning, it's almost like I'm tuning my aura as well.  I feel like after I've done my difference tone tuning, I'm in tune within the laws of nature.  Then I feel like I can breathe and I'm in sync with nature.  If I don't do it, I feel like something is off.  I have to do it everyday and several times a day.  That's what I like about going to Bali; there are various ceremonies throughout the day.  It's a constant reverence and gratitude that I try to maintain as well in my playing. The key thing is to keep every thought positive, since your energy influences everyone and everything around you. Then things flow in a more gentle and easeful way with no restriction. F: Barbara and I were actually just talking about the Law of Attraction, so it seems to be something we all practice.   Explain a little about breathwork and what breathwork is.   V: Breathwork is basically hyperventilating, but when you do it consistently, you go into almost a trance state, and when you go into this state, eased by closing your eyes and eased by music that may inspire your soul or leading you into unknown places of sadness, joy...you go through the spectrum of emotions. It's a group class with facilitators, and everyone is breathing together, and you go into a deep, deep trance together as a group.  In a group, the healing happens in an exponential form.  For me, I journal (I've journaled since I was 13), and journaling is part of my daily practice as well.  After intense breathwork, it can come out as poetry and connects to my deep, deep core.  We all can do this, accessing the higher self. There are these incredible words of wisdom that we can tap into if we close our eyes and listen to what those words are. F: And the stillness.  That's something I've really been focusing on lately.   V: That's thing; in our daily lives, in this modern world that we live in, it's hard to find in the busy cities.  I tend to be allergic to cities...a lot of negative, noise, agitation...which is why I've lived next to the ocean for the past 25 years!  The ocean, for me, is incredibly healing, and I'm always listening to the words of wisdom of the ocean:  ....going with the flow, catching waves, riding the wave, etc...listening to the sounds of the birds and animals.  What do they have to say? What are the pearls of wisdom they may have to offer?  So I find so much more beauty of wisdom in nature.  I'm an Earth Woman, so I'd rather live in simplicity.  When I left New York City, I left everything on the street (Fluter: I did the exact same thing!) and...

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Music As Meditation

Posted by on Mar 2, 2018 in Featured, Health & Wellness, Issues, Lifestyle, March 2018 | 0 comments

Music As Meditation

The Gonjiam Flute Festival was intense, so lots of meditation and quiet time was required.  The Flute View's Barbara Siesel and Fluterscooter both practice transcendental meditation and found some time to sit down and chat about their practices and experiences with meditation. Fluter: Explain how you got into meditation.   Barbara: When Keith and I got married, I wanted to rejoin a Jewish community because I felt like I was very disconnected.  Nothing really connected until we went to this one called Romemu, which is part of Jewish Renewal, and emphasizes mind, body, and spirit.  You don't actually have to be Jewish to go; we're completely ecumenical.  This path combines both the spiritual and ecstatic parts of the Hassidic Jewish sect of Judaism.  It's the fastest growing Jewish community in the country!  It's really been an awakening. Around the same time, Keith and I were invited to study Transcendental Meditation (TM), so I started learning TM and was trained by Bob Roth. F: How long have you been meditating? I just started practicing TM in the fall and it has helped me so much.   B: I've been meditating and part of the Jewish community for about 8 years.  I do feel that music and performing is a form of meditation, and the more I can open myself into a flow state where a higher power could come through as a vessel to play music, for me, that's when my playing and ego is out of the way.  I sometimes pray for God to take away my ego when I perform. For me, it's a relatively new path, to be conscious of it (my ego), and to consider it the most important thing I can do in my performances. I've been a heady, intellectual person for so many years, and when you're too intellectual, you go into "the narrow place," when I'm being God instead of letting God be God.  I'm using my will and ego to try and control my life, and I actually can't do that.  For example, getting into my head and doubting my playing, complaining etc...that's when I have to stop and realize I'm in the narrow place.  So, before each concert (at Gonjiam), I meditated and asked to be connected and to be out of the way.  At first, the concert started out in the narrow place, in my head, for the first 2 lines of a piece, and then I said goodbye to the ego, and there was this energy rush in my playing! F: I noticed there was a change in your playing and it just flowed.  You were in your flow state  Explain what that is, for those who don't know.   B: We all know how to play the flute, it's not that we suddenly will forget how to play.  You can easily get in that flow state by having done a lot of practice so your body can do the work for you, and you get out of the way.  Some people get into flow by practicing a lot and letting go, but I think if you meditate a lot, you'll learn how to drop into the space.  TM taught me how to drop into the space.  I can meditate on the subway, the bus, etc...but sometimes it still...

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Music As Medicine

Posted by on Mar 1, 2018 in Featured, Health & Wellness, Issues, Lifestyle, March 2018 | 0 comments

Music As Medicine

I had the opportunity to interview and chat with the fabulous Giselle Real-d’Arbelles a few (4!) years ago, and I've loved watching her transformation as both a musician and healer.  I caught up with her again, as she is releasing her debut album of original medicine songs.  --Fluterscooter     In the past couple years, after seeing the power that my original flute music has to heal, my thoughts and practices of music have shifted from the classical paradigm to something entirely different.  Explain how this shift has happened for you.    I actually had always felt that music was healing some how and in high school when preparing for college I had seriously considered studying music therapy. I ended up going for performance and set that idea aside. It wasn't until I started attending ceremonies that came from ancient, indigenous traditions that I first hand started to experience the depth of music and sound healing. I started to experience firsthand how the music being sung or played guided so much of my healing process during the ceremonies and moved a lot of stagnant energy within me finally bringing me to a state of love and well-being. It wasn't long before I found that I too had the ability to help guide other people's healing journeys through sound and music. Once I started doing that work there was no turning back. I realized the power and opportunity of the platform that so many of us musicians/artists have to send a positive and impactful message while we have the ears and eyes of our audience and I don't want to waste that opportunity. I'm committed now more than ever to spread the message of well-being, and earth consciousness, and love through my music wherever I am performing, and of course in my recordings. Explain your work as a healer and with medicine. How did you get involved with healing?   Thank you for asking this question because it has really made me think about what it means to be a "healer'. I am quite careful about calling myself a "healer". I believe that we are really all our own healers and we have people that can show up in our lives as a channel to remind us of our own ability to heal ourselves. When I was first introduced to plant medicine I never could have imagined the radical impact it would have in my life in a way that empowered me more than ever, and reconnected me to my true self, and to my beautiful home that is this planet Earth, and my mission here in life. I know many readers don't know what "plant medicine" is so I'll briefly explain that when you hear people refer to "plant medicine" they're usually talking about plants that have strong healing properties on not only a deep physical level, but also emotional, mental and spiritual level. We are told that our many of our ancestors have been working with these plants for healing and tool to reach enlightenment for hundreds, even thousands of years in what are known as traditional, indigenous ceremonies usually working with other elements such as fire, water, wind, and earth. The ceremonies are most often held in a community setting to help us all connect to each other more and...

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Music As Movement

Posted by on Mar 1, 2018 in Featured, Health & Wellness, Issues, Lifestyle, March 2018 | 0 comments

Music As Movement

Karen Moratz is a symphony player, university professor, and yogi.  There has always been a strong correlation between music and movement, and especially with yoga.  From breathing to postures, moving both air and body helps flute playing and how one approaches music.  Read about Karen's journey below.     Many flutists are shifting to more holistic practices such as yoga in order to help their playing, and to just find a more spiritual path for themselves.  Explain how this shift has happened for you.   I first discovered yoga in high school and rediscovered it again years later, when, as Principal Flute of the Indianapolis Symphony, I sought ways to reduce stress and care for my "instrument. " Over time, my yoga practice became more and more consistent and really became an inextricable part of my life. A work stoppage in 2012 afforded me the perfect opportunity to undertake my 200 hour training at Cityoga in Indy. This deepened my own practice immeasurably, and I so enjoy sharing my love of yoga with the community here! Explain what you do as a yogi and how you see your role in the yoga community.  How did you get involved with yoga, and what specific yoga do you focus on?   We have an amazing yoga community here in Indianapolis, and it's growing all the time. All of the teachers here in town have so much to offer, and we are a very supportive group, which makes larger city-wide events feasible. I began practicing at Cityoga with a combination of Restorative, Hatha, and Power Yoga styles. Then The Yoga Studio opened the city's first hot studio and I fell in love with hot Vinyasa. More recently, I've discovered Yin Yoga, which is more meditative. I'm Artist in Residence (flute) at Butler University, so I began teaching yoga at Butler University's Health & Recreation Center. I currently also teach a Hatha Flow class at the Yoga Studio Annex, a new addition to The Yoga Studio that focuses on styles other than Hot Vinyasa-- but I also sub for Vinyasa classes there. I also offer classes for the musicians and staff at the Indianapolis Symphony, and just last year we began yoga events at the ISO that feature live classical music. Lets talk about BREATH.  In yoga, the breath is so important, as it is to the flute.  How do you see parallels in this?  And how can we incorporate yogic breathing into our flute practices, and vice versa?   I do incorporate yoga into my flute teaching, which has happened organically the more my yoga practice has deepened. I find that we all tend to hold our breath when we are focused on a task at hand: driving or typing, for example. And although breathing is inherent to flute playing, we tend to hold our breath even when we are counting measures of rest! In technical passages especially we tend to drop the air. One of the best foils for this is to become more conscious of the breath, which is the basis of every style of yoga practice, but especially pranayama-- yogic breath. One simple way to incorporate breath work into flute playing is to divide measures of rest into timed inhalations and exhalations: breathe out for two measures, breathe in...

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Is your Social Media feed affecting your self-esteem and productivity? by Fluterscooter

Posted by on Dec 1, 2017 in Articles, December 2017, Essays, Featured, Health & Wellness, Issues, Lifestyle | 0 comments

Is your Social Media feed affecting your self-esteem and productivity?  by Fluterscooter

How many times have you checked Instagram today?  Facebook?  Twitter?  Are you looking at your phone as you're reading this article?  How many times did you check your phone during your last practice session?  These modern technologies are not only causing us to become more distracted and disconnected, but they are also affecting our self-esteem and productivity both in the practice room and in our daily lives. We took an Instagram poll: 116 replied that they turn their phone off/on silent during practicing, but 85 replied that they do not. And this is a problem. As a student and a young professional flutist, I consider myself lucky that smartphones did not exist during my formative years.  I had intensely focused practice sessions with no distractions except if someone needed the practice room.  Where I see how phones are necessary to not miss calls for gigs and such, I do not see the point of bringing them into the practice room otherwise.  Since I started my Transcendental Meditation practice, the importance of quieting the mind and getting into a zone of pure focus has changed my practicing methods.  Think of your flute practice as a meditation.  Would you check your phone when you meditate? For example, you are concentrating on a phrase, and then your phone vibrates.  Whether or not you check the message, the thought of the phone vibrating is still there, and your phrase has been interrupted and your concentration affected. Or you take a break and check social media, with the rage of the daily news infiltrating your thoughts.  Picking up your flute after that and trying to focus on creating beautiful music will not be as easy.  Or, you look at videos from other flutists and think to yourself, will I ever be that good?  While the videos can also be motivating, for the most part, they set unrealistic expectations for a less advanced student and can be discouraging. Is the next generation of musicians turning into distracted performers? It will be interesting to see how this next generation of flutists will be as performers.  Will their performances flow as well as their predecessors'?  How will nerves come into play?  And what about audiences? For those of you who answered "No" to our Instagram poll, here are a couple things you could try: Disconnect to Reconnect.  I have been making it a habit to turn off all devices at 8pm every night.   Try it!  And, of course, try it in the practice room and see how much more connected you are to the music. Stop looking Outward and look Inward.  Look within the music, your sound, your breath.  If you feel yourself getting distracted by the outside world, look...

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Introduction to Feldenkrais with Niall O’Riordan

Posted by on Aug 1, 2017 in Articles, August 2017, Featured, Health & Wellness, Issues, Lifestyle, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Introduction to Feldenkrais with Niall O’Riordan

Niall O'Riordan, a 2014 Galway Rising Star, attended the festival for the seventh time this year. He grew up listening to Sir James Galway, from his earliest years in Ireland when his father would look for Sir James' records every Friday from a second hand shop.  Like most of us, he listened to Galway's recordings every night for many years, his favorites being the Bach E Major Sonata and Beethoven Serenade. These days, Niall is not only an incredible professional flutist, but he is also a certified Feldenkrais instructor. I had the opportunity to take a lesson and speak to him more about Feldenkrais at the class.     Describe how you got into Feldenkrais.   Like any other musician, I struggled with some extra tensions in the body. I didn't have any pains, but I can remember my shoulders would be achy after playing, and I knew there was something I needed to open up physically in myself that would improve my playing.  I did a lot of yoga, but things weren't changing so much for me. I bought a class pass to a yoga studio in London, and I went to a lot of the Feldenkrais classes. We did a lesson where we would lie on our backs and extend our arm out to the side very gently; there were a lot of variations, but it was mostly about creating freedom in the shoulder joint. Before I did this class, I was lying on the floor and trying to stretch my arm out but never able to comfortably touch the floor.  There was a moment in one of the lessons, where suddenly my arm just landed on the floor in a new and comfortable way, and I knew that this stuff works! Then I decided to go to a lot more classes and started to do training, and it was only the second training they have ever done in London. Every lesson I did in the training kept coming back to my flute playing. There is a link between me being awarded the Rising Star and when I was doing the training. The second year I came back and played for Sir James, it was a combination of doing a lot of practice and my Feldenkrais training. Something changed with how I was relating to the instrument; I was much freer.   How can Feldenkrais benefit flutists, and what would you recommend to someone who is new to it?   Feldenkrais isn't as well-known as other methods such as Alexander Technique. Ultimately, the flute is a physical activity, and I think the main thing about playing any musical instrument is that it is very habitual. We stand in a similar position all the time and move in a certain way, so habitual patterns and movement get set up in the system. Some of them are very useful, but there is also a lot of extra effort that starts creeping into our self-use.  The Feldenkrais method provides a way of us learning about our habits and movements and having more choices, so we can let go of some of that extra effort that we use. As far as good first steps for flutists, I have recorded two series of lessons, one is called "Breath and Balance (Volume 1)" and the other is "Better Tone and Jaw Comfort." Those are good introductions because I frame it in...

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Music Is The Ointment That Heals by Dyan Parker

Posted by on Jul 1, 2017 in Articles, Essays, Featured, Health & Wellness, Issues, July 2017, Lifestyle | 0 comments

Music Is The Ointment That Heals by Dyan Parker

  After years of research on healing, it became apparent to me that our bodies and minds act in unison. It is therefore important to have an antidote to our emotional wounds so that they do not affect our physical health. Music is capable of healing those wounds. How does that happen? How do we come to be wounded in the first place? And then how does music heal such wounds? We are wounded in very various aspects of our lives on a regular basis. We are wounded when we are lied to; we are wounded when we are betrayed; we are wounded when we do not reach our goals and we are wounded when we disappoint others — or when they disappoint us. We are wounded when we disappoint ourselves. We are wounded when we look around and see a world in chaos. We are wounded when we are afraid. And we are wounded when everything seems to be collapsing around us. We are wounded for so many different reasons, many of them rooted deep down in our emotions. If left unattended, however, these emotional injuries can become physical wounds and eventually turn to disease. Over time, they can become chronic and can even be fatal. The fallout from the emotional wounds runs the gamut. It is up to each of us to be alert to what is going on in our lives and all that is happening around us. When we are on autopilot we inadvertently ignore what our instincts tell us. To paraphrase a famous quote…The greatest wisdom comes from a life that has been examined sufficiently so that you can trust those small voices that you hear all day long. You might think you are better off brushing things aside, such as those negative thoughts and experiences, but they remain in your subconscious mind. Every conversation, every interaction, every little thing you hear and see remains with you, stored in your mind and in your body, down to your cellular structure. That storage can create dis-ease if it is not cleared out, in the same way you periodically clean out the refrigerator. At the same time, whatever is put into your cellular structure also becomes part of your response mechanism. You are unlikely to respond appropriately unless you take your time to examine the experiences you store before allowing them to be packed away and become part of your thinking process. You need to first understand that what you are storing in your brain and emotional memory is fact, and not a misinterpretation of the actual facts. This process is no different from placing items into long-term storage. You need to be alert and aware so that you only carry along what serves you on this voyage through life. When you retrieve information and respond spontaneously you want to be able to trust those responses. That process allows you to develop coping skills (see definition below) that will help you in the long run. What are coping skills ? The skills that we use when faced with stress are known as coping skills. People develop a pattern upon which they rely during the emotionally difficult times. To help you cope in a healthy manner you can meditate--visit a beautiful, calm place, without even leaving your...

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The Embodied Musician by Niall O’Riordan: Review

Posted by on May 1, 2017 in Book Reviews, Featured, Health & Wellness, Issues, Lifestyle, May 2017, Reviews | 0 comments

The Embodied Musician by Niall O’Riordan: Review

This is a series of audio instructions for how to position one's body and pieces thereof in order to be mindful of how the various relationships affect you, including creating tension or stress, using the Feldenkrais method, which is described as "an educational method focusing on self-awareness and learning involving gentle movements which can bring about improved coordination and enhanced functioning."  It begins with "The Primary Movements of the Jaw," for example, and directs you to perform various actions and to think about what you are sensing.  The fact that the program is audio and does not include video is an advantage in some ways; one tends to focus on the words more when there is nothing to look at.  You won't be listening to this while multitasking or driving to work; it requires concentration, and feels more like meditation guidance rather than lecturing. Focussing on what is going on in your own body, particularly as it affects your playing, can only be a good thing, and serious musicians should consider such instruction as a way to fine-tune their motions. If nothing else, it provides a new way to think about what is going on when you are playing and to notice things that you do automatically that you may want to change, in small ways as suggested.  Niall O'Riordan's Irish lilt and soothing, no pressure approach are also appealing aspects of the series.  Definitely, The Embodied Musician is a delightful and important enhancement to any flutist's training...

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