Professional musicians experience high levels of stress, performance anxiety, and debilitating performance-related musculoskeletal disorders.

Researchers from Harvard Medical School, in Boston evaluated the benefits of yoga and meditation for musicians.

First, the details.

  • 45 young adult professional musicians volunteered to participate in a 2-month program of yoga and meditation.
  • They were randomly assigned to a treatment group.
    • Yoga lifestyle intervention
    • Yoga and meditation practice
    • A no-practice control group
  • Both yoga groups attended 3 Kripalu Yoga or meditation classes each week.
    • Kripalu emphasizes proper breathing, alignment, and coordination of breath and movement
  • The yoga lifestyle group also participated in weekly group practice and discussion sessions.
  • All participants completed questionnaires that evaluated music performance anxiety, mood, performance-related musculoskeletal disorders, perceived stress, and sleep quality.
  • Many participants later completed a 1-year follow-up assessment using the questionnaires.

And, the results.

  • Both yoga groups showed a trend towards less music performance anxiety.
  • There was significantly less general anxiety/tension, depression, and anger compared to the controls.
  • There were no changes in performance-related musculoskeletal disorders, stress, or sleep.

The bottom line?

The authors concluded that similar results in the 2 yoga groups, despite differences in their treatments, suggest that the yoga and meditation techniques may have been responsible for the improvements.

The results support a smaller study by the same researchers several years ago.

8/9/09 18:13 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.