Keeping the winter holidays stress-free represents a challenge, but according to the National Mental Health Association, alleviating stress can also minimize the “holiday blues.”

Healthy eating, rest and exercise top the National Mental Health Association’s list of things to help a person feel better.

Other suggestions include trying something new, spending time with supportive and caring people, and spending time with new people, as well as doing something special for “you” to re-charge your batteries.

Robin Taylor, owner of Robin Taylor Productions and a producer, composer and musician, says she helps people fend off stress all year-round with her yoga and drumming practice in Santa Monica and Venice.

Her classes promote healing, health, well-being and a sense of community that she says people need and want in their lives, especially at this time of year.

Taylor’s “Primal Flow Yoga” weaves together asana flow yoga and drumming to create a class that delivers exercise, a feeling of community and stress reduction.

Taylor says the co-ed classes are fun and begin with meditation followed by synchronized drumming, breathing and movements that coincide with specific asanas, or yoga postures.

“I wanted my yoga practice to have a different kind of edge,” Taylor says. “Having practiced yoga and having been a drummer for years, I had a sense that adding drumming could deepen the experience of yoga.”

She co-teaches the class with yoga instructor Hala Khouri, who handles the actual yoga instruction while Taylor teaches the drumming.

“People who have been doing yoga for years but who have never drummed say the drumming enhances the depth of the yoga for them and they feel more in tune with their movement,” Taylor says.

All are welcome to her classes and no experience is needed for yoga or drumming. Participants can bring their own drum, rent one from Taylor or drum on the floor.

Taylor says all that’s needed is an open mind and a playful spirit.

Creating a class that is part yoga and part drumming has allowed Taylor to share what she says are the transforming effects of drumming with those who might not otherwise know about it.

She also teaches “Sacred Rhythm Drumming” at the Foundation Center in Venice, which offers great exercise and frees creativity and energy.

“Once we let go and get in tune with our physical body, it frees blocks in the body and releases stress,” Taylor says.

Drumming since she was six, Taylor says her drumming classes are all about having fun, letting loose and letting inhibitions go.

“Drumming is amazing for people,” she says. “It takes people out of their head space and into their heart.”

She adds that, like dancing, participants stop thinking and just have a good time.

Her classes came about through her own evolution as a person and from seeing the need and interest in the community. She says that when she performed her pop/rock songs and drummed on stage, women would always ask her to teach them to drum.

Her classes evolved from these requests and from doing music therapy and recognizing how powerful and uniting music and drumming is for people.

“It helped me in my life to find balance and strength and I wanted to share that,” she says. “It’s not just about drumming, but it changes how you perceive yourself.

“People say ‘I can’t drum, I have no rhythm’ and then leave the class and say ‘I drummed, I have rhythm’ and find when they’ve done something they thought they couldn’t do it shifts their confidence.

“It can change someone’s life.”

Taylor has taught drumming at corporations who hire her to promote team building and to enhance motivation and inspiration with employees. She says utilizing drumming and rhythm helps participants strengthen their natural state of rhythm, gain trust in themselves and touch a place within that they normally don’t get to touch.

“Each person is accessing their individual creativity and the stronger each person is, the stronger the team will be,” she says.

The team building aspect comes about by sitting in a circle where everyone’s doing the same thing together, listening to each other and through the exchange of energy.

Next year, Taylor will introduce a special Mother’s Day drumming class for mothers and daughters, a business and personal partners class and a workshop for actors.

Information: (310) 795-0044


Julie Kirst can be reached at