Find The Voice

Are the Grammy’s getting you thinking about your own voice? Well, obviously there’s only one Adele, but the rest of us can learn to use our voices for maximum expression and, it turns out, better alignment in our bodies.

Next weekend, Body Mind Centering teachers Roxlan Moret and Diane Elliot will be leading a workshop at Samamkaya Yoga Back Care & Scoliosis Collective that explores how to free the voice and breath in a way that supports the spine, organs and nerves. Elysha Lenkin spoke with Roxlan to learn more about this workshop.

Elysha Lenkin: Explain how the voice works in relationship to our body’s alignment.

Roxlyn Moret: We sometimes think of our voices as just being the vocal chords, the vocal folds, and they create vibrations. These vibrations resonate through the cavities in the body, and one we will be particularly focusing on is the pharynx that is behind the nose in the back of the throat and the mouth. Constrictions and tightness in this area are really right at the top of our spine. So when you hear somebody with a big voice, that voice is finding resonating surfaces not just in the pharynx - in the cavities in the body, but in the bones and in the muscles as well. Those can be resonating surfaces.

So when we look at voice, it can have a powerful impact when we let the vibration go through our body. And where we have physical restrictions, our vibration will be blocked and stopped. So when you think about an opera singer or Adele, and you look at the bigness of the voice, it’s because it’s not just coming from those vocal folds. It’s coming from a really deep place in the body. The leading American choreographer Eric Hawkins used to say “If you really want to move, then you really want to be able to find the voice moving through your body. “

It’s so interesting because a woman who has known me for 40 years came up to me after this workshop in Portland last year, and said ‘Roxlan, if somebody had said that you would be teaching voice when I met you 40 years ago, you could have knocked me over with a feather!’