So often we are swayed by external circumstances, and we try and create an effect outside ourselves. This is especially true in our modern world of multi-tasking and perpetual distractions, and many of us are so used to running our lives based on external input and desired results that we don’t question it, we accept it as how things are. In singing, this manifests as a disconnection with our inner resonant space, being unable to sense the palette lifting and an internal sense of a vowel, and undue effort in creating a desired sound. But there is another way!
As you inhale and release your abdominal muscles, allowing the diaphragm to drop, see if you can extend your awareness to a feeling of effortless lifting of the soft palette, an openness behind the nose an eyes, as if you were naturally smiling with slight surprise. See if you can sense the air wafting in to the yawn space, not forcing a yawn by shoving the tongue down, but allowing the hint of a yawn-smile to emerge. This lifting is counteracted by the dropping of the abdominal muscles, pelvic floor, and thus the larynx and base of the tongue – all of this happening in a passive way, from an inviting and allowing made possible first by a tall, neutral spine and activated alignment. When we inhale in this way while keeping the following vowel and intention in mind, we set ourselves up for an internal resonance that will resonate outwards to our external world without undue effort on our parts. Once we are phonating, whether it’s speaking or singing, stay in touch with your breath flow and your resonant inner chamber, the open pharynx, and stay curious about the inner sensations rather than overly focused on an external effect.
In life, we must also take some time to “drop in” and allow Breath/Spirit to permeate our beings before we share with others. Create regular times in your life to relax and rejuvenate while also setting intentions for the next period of activity in your life. Whether it’s yoga practice, meditation, chanting and singing, or a massage or retreat – give yourself the gift of nourishing your spirit and infusing yourself with life force before returning to your external activities. You’ll find over time that the inner journey is what it’s all about, and the external will unfold with more ease. Namaste!