Up until three years ago, I was scared to sing in front of other people. I felt so vulnerable and nervous whenever I sang — like I was baring my heart and soul to the world. At that time, it felt very uncomfortable. I didn't know how to unlock the power of the voice. I still feel like I’m laying my heart on the line, but my relationship to vulnerability and fear has changed drastically since then.
I began taking an honest look at the unhealthy, unbalanced areas of my life. Taking a holistic inventory of my life meant acknowledging that all facets of my life are inextricably linked and when one area is out of balance, all other areas suffer. Bringing awareness to the fears I was holding around my creative expression gave me the opportunity to examine them closely and realize they were merely self-imposed limitations aimed at holding back my artistic expression.
When we explore our fears and choose to move head-first in the direction that they block, we free ourselves from their burden. And that, my friends, is where the juiciness lies. The fears that were once locked doors in my psyche transformed into the very keys that opened up new pathways for health, creative expression, and healing.
Singing became a joy! As I began working consciously with my voice, my life transformed. The more I sang, the more my confidence grew. It positively affected the way in which I saw myself and related to others. I courageously spoke what was on my mind more effectively in all of my relationships. Working consciously with the voice opens pathways of communication within the body and throughout life.
4 ways to unlock the power of your voice
Meditation & Breathwork
Spending 10 minutes a day meditating can greatly enhance your vocal practice. During your meditation and throughout the day, observe your internal voice. Is it one that empowers and encourages you in all that you do? Does it belittle and scorn you? There is no judgment for your internal dialogue, only awareness and compassion. We cannot change what we are unaware of, and once we take note of our internal dialogue we can offer it affirmative speech to guide and support us.
During meditation, focus on your breath. Take deep belly breaths and exhale with control, engaging your core. When you sing, the power comes from the breath and core — not from the throat — which allows you to project a strong voice. You are breathing deeply and oxygenating your body while moving vibration throughout your body. Powerful emotions may arise as you work consciously with your breath and voice to release fears you have around expressing your voice.
Creativity is greatly magnified when we live healthy, nourishing lives. Your voice is propelled and affected by many different muscles. Take special care of them! Hydrate your body with enough water and drink special teas (such as lemon ginger honey or licorice root) that will soothe your throat. This will relax your speaking voice and lubricate your singing voice. Limit foods that cause mucus in the body as they will congest your throat, sinuses, and ability to speak and sing clearly. Some foods that cause excessive mucus are: dairy, gluten, alcohol, sugar, and caffeine. Nourishing your body with cleansing foods and drinks will enhance the flow of energy in your body.
The heart of it all! By bringing awareness to the voice on a daily basis and practicing vocal strengthening techniques, you will begin to unlock the power of your voice. It doesn’t matter how you sound now. The point is to practice consistently. Just like other muscles in the body, the ones used when we sing need to be stretched and strengthened. Think of your voice as it truly is: a expression of muscles and breath working together. You wouldn’t a novice runner to finish a marathon with no training and you shouldn’t expect your voice to sound perfect when you start either.
Enjoy yourself, practice often, and sing whenever you can — in the shower, the car, or belt it out as you listen to your favorite song. Join a choir or work with a vocal coach if you want to develop your voice more rapidly.
The process of unlocking the power of your voice is a fulfilling, creative exploration. It is a journey deep into the heart of who you are. It is an evaluation of the way you communicate with yourself, in your relationships, and with the world.
Singing is joyful! By living a healthy lifestyle that is nourishing to our body, creative mind, and heart, our ability to express ourselves through our voice and song with joy and ease is greatly enhanced.
Photo credit: Lucas Zhao Photography