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mahadev

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On the birth anniversary of Pandit Nikhil Banerjee , here is something I ought to share with you all.

How do you sit with a sitar ? Simple, try and follow his example. He always sat straight as an arrow. I never ever saw him play with his back bent. Not even slightly, not even after many hours of practice. His back was always perfectly straight. Takes some practice but the benefits are considerable. Breathing is easy, the brain gets enough oxygen, everything works better. Most of us will slouch after some time, let's admit it. So, keep that in mind, watch your posture. Everything he did, he did it for a reason. His playing says it all, perfection, real art, the pursuit of excellence in action. That included posture.

My 2 cents from the memory bank...

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mhamlin

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It's funny how slouching sneaks up on you. I will start my practice with my back nice and straight, then after a while I will take inventory and notice my posture has gone bad. Gotta keep on top of that.

Thanks for sharing the memory.
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neela sangeeta

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Reply with quote  #3 
Thanks for that Mahadev.

I think it is a good idea to sit on the edge of a pillow or rolled up blanket while practicing. It tilts our pelvis forward and engages your lower back, helping you to sit straighter with better posture, just like you might do in a yoga class. A Feldenkrais practitioner helped me with this and even gave me this little seat:
http://www.salubrion.com/products/l-100-seat.php
It is made for meditation, but works great for any type of sitting: sitar, tabla practice, typing on computer.
This has helped my riyaz tremendously over the last few years.
Best,
Neel
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mahadev

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hmmm... I am not so sure. If you can't sit at all without the help of a pillow or some other
implement , ok, then use it but ideally you should be able to sit on a level surface.

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goljawari

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Actually, I too have heard of several senior artists who sit on a very small, hard cushion type of piece when playing sitar. Also, I've heard from a few doctors that this would indeed help the back and legs.
GJW
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rex@sitar.co.za

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Reply with quote  #6 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "goljawari"
Actually, I too have heard of several senior artists who sit on a very small, hard cushion type of piece when playing sitar. Also, I've heard from a few doctors that this would indeed help the back and legs.
GJW
Yes, this really helps the posture. Surely it is possible to maintain proper posture without this as Mahadev suggested. This takes concerted practice and helps if you start from a young age. But if you're not careful you can really damage your left knee (I did!) and overly strain your back. Everyone is built slightly differently and has different degrees of flexibility. Just be careful - if you're feeling undue pain due to your posture use pillows or even rest your back against something.
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mahadev

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Absolutly, don't strain anything. Of course I am speaking for myself (as usual... )

I started yoga when I was very young, around the age of 14, I can sit in padmasana for any length of time without any support or pillow, actually I can't sit with a pillow, drives me mad.. but that is just me, tam tam...hehe,

Now players like Pt. Nikhil Banerjee who started playing at a very young age have the same
advantage but that is of course not the case for people who grew up in the West where sitting on the floor is the exception. Still, if you start in your 20's you could aim for the no support option, gradually. Whatever works.
If you can get there eventually you will find it's just great to be able to sit with a sitar anywhere, anytime without having to bother with pillows etc. Yoga definitely helps but as always with yoga exercises, listen to your body. If your body says ouch then go easy.
People have caused themselves injuries with yoga, it is a very gradual process.

I have to keep reminding myself how 'indianised' I have become after all these years....

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