The Practice That Restored My Energy, Voice, and Spirit
I suspect most moms can relate to this statement: “Mothering a tiny baby is one of the most exhilarating and exhausting experiences of my life.”
My newborn daughter was so precious, needed me so much, and I felt drawn to nurture her as much as possible. I nursed her around the clock, sacrificed a lot of sleep, optimal nutrition, and my self-care went out the window. It’s was a welcome sacrifice during her first month of the fourth trimester. Then the extraordinary exhaustion set in.
Only a new mom can know what this exhaustion feels like—it’s the kind that coffee cannot fix, should prevent you from driving a car, and actually keeps you oddly wired from anxiety and hypervigilance so you couldn’t take a nap if you had the opportunity. It’s awful.
I felt this way for many months in the fourth trimester and beyond. My energy dropped and it affected how I spoke. I ended up developing vocal fatigue that sounded flat, felt strained in my throat, and further zapped me of energy because I was not breathing well. Thankfully, my embodied voice mentor called me out on it and I took immediate steps to resurrect my vocal life, which jumpstarted my wellness plan overall for body, mind, voice, breath, and spirit.
It all started by feeling the Y Buzz.
The Y Buzz is a therapeutic tool developed by embodied voice, speech, and movement trainer Arthur Lessac, who is the originator of Lessac Kinesensics. You can learn more about him and his work here.
The Y Buzz strengthens the vocal folds and the voice itself, integrates vocalization with the breath stream, and focuses the mind due to the speaker’s awareness of vocal vibration.
Here’s how to feel it:
Start by breathing in as if you enjoy smelling something you love, such as fresh baked cookies, coffee, or your baby’s head. Sigh out of your mouth with gratitude. Repeat this several times to feel an optimal breath in and out.
Feel a slight yawn in the back of the throat as if you are about to enjoy a nice big yawn. Feel also a slight forward-moving action of the cheeks and lip muscles as if quietly saying “Shhhh” or about to kiss a sleeping baby. The synchronicity between the slight yawn and the forward movement of the lips and cheeks is “forward facial orientation”. It creates the space we need to feel vocal vibration.
Next, hum a tune you like, but keep it in your speaking voice range. If you feel your voice take a leap such that your voice vibrates high up in the back of your throat, you leapt into your head voice. Bring it back down so vibration stays in the front of your mouth and lips.
Now hum on an N consonant. You will feel vibration on the upper gum ridge where the tip of the tongue meets it. The upper gum ridge is the area of the hard palate/roof of the mouth just behind the upper front teeth. Really become aware of vibration on this area and enjoy the way it feels.
Next, hum on a Y consonant on any pitch. It is as if you are about to say “Yes”. Hum in your speaking range and in your singing range. Then feel the vibrations of the Y waft down as you go down in pitch until you reach your speaking pitch range and the vibrations of the Y resonate in the same area in which you felt the N—the upper gum ridge. You can explore this by alternating between saying “Nnnnnnno....Yyyyyyyes....” back and forth.
Once you feel the “ping” of vibration on the upper gum ridge, gently massage it with a pulsing “yeee, yeee, yeee”. You will feel the Y consonant and a long eee vowel. Sustain an easy exhalation, forward facial orientation, feel as if you are floating up through the crown of the head, and pulse the Yeeee, Yeee, Yeee. You want to be in the lower third of your speaking voice range and can test this by saying, “Hi, my name is Mommyyyyyyyyyyyyyy” and Y Buzz at the end of the word “mommy” (which is a Y Buzz sound).
Next, you can explore your Y Buzz range by doing baby siren glides with the Y Buzz. Go up and down one or two notes above and below your typical speaking pitch. You will feel the vibration on the upper gum ridge the whole time. You may also feel vibration wafting up into the sinus cavity and perhaps even on the nasal bone or the third eye if you gently place your fingers on these areas.
You have now found your Y Buzz range. Develop it daily and gently with awareness of its vibrations. You can speak in this vocal range for everyday life so long as you feel vocal vibration moving forward toward the upper gum ridge.
You will develop the strength of your voice, revitalize your breath energy, and will restore your spirit with its meditative qualities.
You can explore the Y Buzz and more of vocal tonal energy in my online course Embodied Voice: Feel Dynamic. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments. Be well.