What is “Embodied Voice”?
Think of “embodied voice” as a yoga discipline for the voice.
The word “yoga” in Sanskrit means to “yoke” or “unite” body, mind, and spirit such that the fluttering of the mind comes to stillness; i.e., you are present. Just as we explore this in a traditional yoga class through a series of postures and breathing practices, we feel the subtleties of the voice through a range of vocalizations and consonants that you express in your daily life. When you develop your voice and speech through an embodied voice practice, you can directly carry over what you explore to your everyday life.
Like Hatha Yoga, it all starts with sensation. Feel your breath easily. Sigh it out. Notice what moves in the body. Notice the quality of the mind. Notice how intricately connected the body and mind are. In fact, it’s really the bodymind, a complex that includes your physical body, your feeling body that takes in stimuli, your feeling body that feels balance and rhythm from within, your intelligence, your memories, your thoughts, your intelligence, your emotions, your breath, your Spirit—YOU. It’s all you.
The bodymind links perception and action, thought and impulse, feeling, and behavior. By focusing on the sensations you feel as you explore breath and voice within the bodymind, you heighten and develop your awareness and vocal skill so you, in turn, can discover all of your expressive possibilities.
What does an embodied voice practice look like?
When you begin to quiet your thoughts and find a single-pointed focus on your voice as you hum, you are connecting to a pure form of you. It’s beautiful. You begin to take pleasure in how you hum, the feeling of vibration as you hum, how your bodymind becomes the background of your attention as you feel the hum and how your bodymind becomes involved in some way in the humming (feeling light, feeling grounded, feeling effervescent). You are free from tension. You are embodied—there is no disconnect in body, mind, breath, or Spirit. You are in a state of yoga through how you feel the voice. This is embodied voice.
Embodied voice practices include:
· Developing consonants for intelligible speech and clarity (no more speaking more quickly than you can get the words out) and enjoying the musical nature of your speech. It’s there waiting for you to discover.
· We develop vocal power in subtle and extravagant ways, but there is never any force, pushing, or shouting. Instead, we create vocal power by getting real with a pinpoint focus of the voice on a particular part of the roof of the mouth and expand our vocal range from there. It is empowering to feel strong without having to do so much to get there.
· We yield to the flexibility of our mouth and jaw spaces by finding freedom in how we feel our vowels. We release tension from the jaw and tongue and soften our hearts along the way.
· We bring all of this awareness of voice and speech through the bodymind complex into texts provided to us by amazing poets and writers. We feel a deeper connection to the written word becoming the spoken word in ways that convince us magic is a real force in the world.
· We carry this over to how we speak in everyday life. The magic remains, and we are thoroughly grounded, confident, vulnerable, committed, and present in daily life. We are in a state of divine union with ourselves, our surroundings, and our Spirit within and around.
Much of this material is from my longer blog post about embodied voice, which you can read here.