Expand Your Voice Expand Your Spirit
We are all constantly aware of our appearance—especially what our face looks like in the mirror. But we also have another “face,” one that we carry into every facet of our lives but rarely think about, even though much of our self-expression is carried within it. Except for those of us who are singers or in speech therapy, we tend not to focus on our voice; it just seems to come out of our mouths automatically.
However, when we learn to pay attention to our voice—how it works in the body, what it conveys energetically, and especially how to harness its immense power—we can change it. And by changing our voice, we can change our lives and our spiritual connection to others.
The sound of a voice has everything to do with communication. Words change their meaning, depending on the quality and intention of the sound produced. One obvious way to demonstrate this phenomenon is to say the same phrase aloud several different ways. Try saying the sentence “See you later,” for example, these ways: sweetly • peacefully • sarcastically • breathlessly • playfully • wearily • authoritatively
To change the meaning of the sentence, you might emphasize various words, speed some words up or slow some down, slur or enunciate certain consonants, add ring or more breath to your sound or vary your volume and pitch. Try saying, “See you later,” with a slightly tight throat, and then try it with a very loose, easy feeling. The possibilities are vast.
As an exercise by yourself or with a partner, see how much you can vary these three words. Notice how your face, body, throat and emotions make slight or even big changes as the message varies.
As you can see by the above exercise, the voice is a malleable part of our bodies, connected to our emotions and intentions and vital to all communication. It is not static, but can have many shades and nuances.
How does the body produce this miraculous tool of communication? Understanding the answer, even in a basic way, is the first step in getting acquainted with and opening or freeing the voice so that you can more fully express who you are.
The voice is made up of four components: an energy supply, a vibrational source, a resonator and articulators.
The energy supply is a steady stream of exhaled air. If you can’t feel a lot of airflow as you speak or sing, you are not opening up and relaxing your throat as much as you could. Practice saying a full sentence, such as “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.” Say it slowly, feeling the airflow as you speak. Then say it again slowly with less airflow. If you run out of breath more quickly the second time, that’s because you have run out of airway or throat space.
The vibrational source is the vocal cords. Just like a motor in any mechanical device, we need to stay out of its way so it can function effectively. That means that the voice doesn’t get more powerful by pushing it.
The resonator is the open throat, the same space where the air is moving freely as you speak or sing.
The articulators—tongue, lips, teeth and palate—take the raw sound produced by the vocal cords and the air stream and shape it into meaningful words.
Most of us have experienced tightening of the throat or voice, which is a fear or stress response created by our natural defense mechanisms. A tight voice is a false way of feeling less vulnerable; however, it actually blocks our personal energy.
To raise our vibration as spiritual beings, we must relax the throat and the areas around it to produce a free, expressive and resonant voice. A relaxed voice energizes the throat chakra and also helps us listen to others better.
Ronni Sarrett Lederman is a voice teacher and Reiki master in Bronxville. For more info, visit VocalFocus.com.