For Pittsburgh Symphony double bassist John Moore, just putting in a day’s work demands strength, control and incredible accuracy from seemingly small core of muscles and movements. Those specialized movements, however, rely on the rest of the body for support. That’s why Moore uses a yoga routine designed to “engage the whole body” and ease chronic pain – a routine developed specifically for him by Lilith Bailey-Kroll.
“If you’re a kid, playing, and you’re using your body all the time, you get around to doing everything, moving every which-way. But when you’re an adult, you don’t necessarily do that,” Moore notes. He recommends Lilith to others in similar professions, “especially people that are using repetitive movements,” in danger of ignoring additional muscles and positions vital to performance.
Moore joined the Symphony in 1996 after a stint with another ensemble in San Diego; his wife is now also a Symphony member. When not performing and traveling, Moore has been “trying to fix up an old house” in Lawrenceville, near the Pratique yoga studio. After attending a few open classes at Pratique, he began one-on-one sessions with Lilith.
“I was looking for some therapeutic way to address some of my pain issues,” Moore says. Some of his back and hip soreness, he suspects, comes from the posture required to play the double bass – “it just has to be like that, in order to do what I do.” Some, he notes wryly, simply comes “from being alive for a certain number of years.”
Previously, Moore had taken a group yoga class taught by a friend at CCAC, and found it “a really relaxing and interesting, self-nurturing kind of activity.” But “when you have a yoga routine that’s tailor-made for you, it’s really a whole different thing.”
For Moore, that meant a routine that helped him feel his whole body engaged and energized. “She works really hard to find the position that suits the person – not only to treat the physical ailment or imbalance, but also what people like,” says Moore. “She knows that I like to do a lot of biking, and I used to run a lot, so she wanted to come up with a routine for me that was more energetic.”
“She’s a really good teacher,” he adds. “She knows that you can’t expect people to learn everything the first time, so she eases you into the correct position — she gives you a general idea, and then amore specific idea the next time.”
After two years, “I’ve noticed that when I’m doing the yoga regularly at home, I do feel a lot better,” Moore says. Now, “yoga and playing the bass kinda go together.”