Finding Your Voice

     In the previous post, I spoke of the power of sound through music, the singing bowls and nature. Sometimes though, these may not be available to us. But there is one sound making that is always with us - our own voice. The use of voice for healing and sacred communion is ageless.
     Humans make sounds all the time, for a wide variety of reasons. First, of course is the sound of the spoken word. A language to communicate to each other, and we not only use words, we use volume, accentuation, and cadence to convey emotion.
     Think about some of the sounds you make every day beyond the spoken word. When you hit your finger with a hammer, you yell. When you're settling down in your favorite chair after a long day, you sigh. When you're happy, you hum. When you're working out or doing a physical activity, you may grunt or groan. The list goes on. Sound making is part of our daily life.
     What we might not realize is that making sound with our voice can actually help our physical being. Studies show that chanting can lower our blood pressure, slow our heartbeat and brain waves. Toning is the elongated sounding of a vowel sound such as AH, OH, OOO or it can change into other sounds. It is not singing, it is more free form. There is no right note and anyone can do it. Toning utilizes breath and breath is life itself. Breath is a powerful tool for transformation. Often when someone is upset or stressed, deep breathing can restore calmness as it moves the life force throughout the body. With sound, we can learn to immediately relax tension, release stress and pain, restore homeostasis to the body.
     Not only can we create physical transformation with our voice, we are able to use sacred vowels and mantras with intention to connect to our deeper nature and experience Divine connection. Sacred sound is found in most religions, whether it be hymns, mantras, sacred vowels or chants.
     The beauty of our own voice as a healing modality is it is free and we have access to it all the time. I use humming a lot during a stressful moment to just center and relax. I had a client who was having difficulty after a minor car accident. She had to drive for her job and she was having mini-anxiety attacks every time she got in her car. We worked on her toning the AH vowel as she was driving. What happened is that she would begin to breathe, she would focus on making the sound and center her energy there instead of on her anxiety.
     As you begin to work with making sounds with intention, you can actually begin to move the sound throughout your body, focusing on areas that may be experiencing pain or blockage. Certain vowel sounds such as EEE focus in the head, AH in the heart and OM in the solar plexus. If you work with chakras, you can find several teachings on the sounds associated with each chakra.
     In meditation classes, I use the Tibetan Warrior Syllables from Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche. It has been interesting to observe how difficult it is for some participants to make sound. When they begin to use toning, they can get in touch with how they have "lost their voice" - perhaps in a relationship, in a work situation or within their own being. As they open to making sounds it often times translates into finding their voices in other areas of their lives.
     I think about a room of 4 year olds. If you ask them, "How many of you sing?" most of them will raise their hands without hesitation. Ask that same group as adults, and maybe 2 or 3 will raise their hands. We give away our voice and the power of our own healing sounds for many reasons, but, regardless of the reason, today is a good day to rediscover this powerful healing modality.