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Campers tuned in

7/15/2014

By ELIZABETH GOLDEN

By ELIZABETH GOLDEN

egolden@dailynews.net

Music and yoga might not seem synonymous, but High Plains Music Camp at Fort Hays State University now is offering a class aimed toward teaching young musicians the benefits of yoga.

Sara Matayoshi, Knoxville, Tenn., attended the camp for the first time last year as a violin and viola instructor. This year, she came back teaching yoga for musicians.

"I think yoga is an important practice for me and musicians in general," she said. "Our health and wellness is sometimes neglected when we're sitting a lot and playing. I thought this could be a good addition to the camp."

Ivalah Allen, camp director, listened and agreed to provide the class.

"Being a musician is a lot like being an athlete," Allen said. "You sit in these rehearsals for hours. Your shoulders ache. Your back aches. This class teaches students how to relax during rehearsals and stretch before and after. You have to breath deeply and have the stamina to do things for hours on end."

Matayoshi has been practicing yoga for 15 years.

"It has influenced me in pretty much every area of my life in a very positive way," she said. "It has helped me become more me. The process of learning music and learning yoga are very interconnected -- the patience, the discipline, the self-care, the willingness to listen. It gives you a different perspective."

Approximately 10 students registered for the class.

Samuel Neff, 15, Salina, has been attending the camp for five years.

"I feel like I continually have the problem with tension in my back and shoulders," he said, due to playing the cello. "I figured this would be a good way to release it."

Grace Demaree, 14, Assaria, also struggles with back pain.

"I thought this would release some stress," she said. "It's relaxing and a great way to spend the afternoon, and help with relaxing and flexibility."

Matayoshi believes yoga allows musicians to stretch muscles most affected during hours of stationary practice.

"We use all these different muscles in our hands," she said. "It can help stretch and lengthen on a purely physical basis."

High Plains Music Camp is a week-long event for students entering sixth through 12th grades. Performances are free and open to the public at 7 p.m. each day in Beach/Schmidt Performing Arts Center.