Mind, Body & Soul: WellBeing – Yoga and The Voice

Yoga and The Voice

Throughout university, I had a part-time job as a yoga instructor. I had gotten certified and taught wheel-0333-4 classes per week and all in all— it was a great experience!

I had gotten in great shape, met amazing people, and made some pretty solid cash— for a university student.

However, as time went on, I slowly became disenchanted with yoga. Sure, it bugged me that something that had started as a religious practice in India had slowly transformed into “bending” in hip studios, but more so, I was bothered by how it had become a “cure-all” for just about anything.

If you went online or to your local gym, people were promoting yoga for just about anything: yoga for aging, yoga to help with exams, yoga to help you get richer.

Sure, yoga, stretching and deep breathing can help with a wide array of mental and physical ailments, but can it really go beyond fitness? As I began my career in the music world I had come across plenty of articles touting how yoga can help singers and vocalists. I couldn’t help but to wonder what these courses were like, and if they really work.

After looking into these programs with a skeptical eye, I’ve actually concluded that these practices can in -fact be beneficial. Here’ is how yoga can in fact, help your voice.

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What To Expect?

If you look into any program that offer tools for yoga and the voice, —you will find a mix of simple yoga poses, as well as lots of chanting and breathing exercises.

Meditative or yogic breathing is also referred to as, Pranayama, which simply means “breath
control”. The breathing techniques are done in pretty much every ordinary yoga class, though in a “vocal yoga” course, you will likely be doing mostly breathing exercises that are good for your voice and voice control.

This could be deep belly (diaphragm) breathing, humming, or even chanting—all used to relax the voice, and exercise your breath control.

However, don’t vocal exercises also promote proper breathing technique? Yes, but vocal yoga touches on something very interesting:, the relationship between voice and emotion.

Yoga For The Lump In Your Throat

The term “lump in your throat” is one that vocalists hear often, and one that we’ve actually discussed briefly here in iSing. It’s something that’s not a physical condition, but instead, something emotional.matsyasana9658

You may have been in a similar circumstance: a speaking engagement, a job interview, answering a tough question to a client, and your voice seems to shrink. And there’s a reason for this.
Evolution pioneer Charles Darwin theorized that the human voice might have originated when certain chest and throat muscles contracted in excitement or fear.; In other words, he believed voice and emotion came from the same impulse. Science hasn’t mapped exactly how it works, but the larynx, or voice box, is thought to be wired directly into the brain’s emotional center, the limbic system. This may be why a lump in the throat is often the first sign of emotional distress.
A typical yoga class is said to relax the body and de-stress the mind, which can relieve any tension that may be caused from nerves. However, if you’re looking for something more voice-centered, some instructors swear by chanting, as they believe that partaking in a yogic chanting class will give the throat the perfect vibration to relax it.

Lastly, proper posture is amazing for your voice. Speech-language pathologist Arboleda, whlion2o’s also a yoga practitioner, promotes posture in particular—and not only because it helps with the breath. “How you’re positioned affects the shape of the throat and the alignment of the very small pieces of the larynx,” she said in an interview with Yoga Journal.
“It’s a complex system, and everything needs to come together symmetrically.” Poor posture can bend the soft tissues of the throat out of shape, muting your sound.

So the next time you want to unwind, and also strengthen your voice, —look into classes that combine yoga and the voice.

For Your Reference: Yoga Exercises For The Voice

• Lions Pose
 • Shoulder Stand
 • Fish Pose
 • Upward Bow Pose

Images are “Copyright by YogaBasics, used by permission”.

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iSing Magazine is a digital publication dedicated to singers.

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