Singing is part of my spiritual path. I have said, since I was a child, that I felt most alive and connected when I sing. I have also come to see that it is where I feel the most vulnerable, honest and real. Through sound, I feel I touch something vast, beyond my mind, and beyond words. My voice calls me to be in optimal harmony with my soul expression and life purpose, and in greatest alignment with the whole.
Each day, I continue to explore the extraordinary power of vocalizing, that ranges from non-verbal utterances to lyrical melodies. The process is both humbling and powerful. Giving voice is by no means limited to singing or making pleasant sounds. The voice is capable of an extraordinary range of expressions, from the guttural to the angelic.
As a transformative tool, the use of raw, unedited sound brings us quickly into the world of primal power and pre-verbal impulses. We tend to think verbally; yet sound takes us beyond the filter of words. Dancers know this experience when music sets in motion a wordless, electrical impulse to express through their bodies.
In the same way, sound comes as a wave through our being that expresses the primordial. As such, sounding and freeform vocalizations can be a powerful therapeutic tool that bypasses the intellectual mind and reveals core truths. Many people have had experience with years of psychotherapy, only to find that after a few sessions of sounding, they finally touch areas in their being they could not previously access through words.
Try this guided practice, which builds on the one in this month’s Inspired Living column, to help you access the transformative power of sound within your own body.
Find a quiet place where you can lie on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the ground. Begin to breathe naturally, deeply, but without force. Allow your body to relax and your awareness to deepen.
Sense or visualize that your body is a tube that runs from the crown of your head to your feet. Then begin to yawn, and sigh. Allow yourself to open up, letting go. Keep yawning and sighing.
Then gently start to make subtle sounds, like you do at the end of a yawn. Nothing dramatic. Nothing big. Just easy does it. Allow the sounds to flow out of you, effortlessly. The less effort, the better. Keep the sound open and broad. Imagine that you are exhaling and releasing sound on a vowel like “uh.”
Keep following any sounds that arise naturally on the exhale, without trying to make something of them. You are not singing, or even trying to make sounds. Sometimes, there may be no sound with the exhale. There may just be breath or a yawn. Stay broad and focus your awareness inward, allowing sound to spontaneously arise when it is ready. Listen. Become present to it. Witness what comes. Make room for the inner sounds to emerge, without any classification or judgment.
Follow this exploration for some time. Keep your mouth, jaw and face easy and relaxed.
Now, try playing with vocal sounds. Simple “ah”, “oo” and “oh” sounds. Try “ee” or “eh.” Easy does it. Stay with that wide, spacious yawn feeling. You are free from wanting anything to happen.
Allow this unfolding to occur and inner sounds to emerge. Enjoy. Be. Discover what wishes to be expressed, rather than try to express. Follow this for some time.
When you have had enough, simply return to your normal breathing pattern. Take a few long deep breaths and notice how you feel. Notice any changes in your body, your mood and your thinking. Take a few more deep breaths, thanking the universe for this opportunity, and thanking yourself for meeting it.
Parvati is an award-winning singer, composer, producer, yogini, author, and Founder and CEO of the international charity Parvati Foundation. Her work is dedicated to protecting all life on Earth by establishing the Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary (MAPS).