Some Simple Healing Voice Practices for Troubled Times…
I’ve heard many people, lately, expressing feelings of emotional overwhelm and hopelessness about the state of our world, about the challenges coming at them from all directions… personal, global, political, environmental and more. Sometimes it seems that we’re in a new era of difficulties and stress, and this takes quite a toll on us. Have you been experiencing any of this?
So much is happening all around us, in our circles of loved ones, out in our communities and beyond, globally as well. There are some things we can control in our lives and so much we cannot. This can be so frustrating.
So what can we do when it all starts getting to us, creating an array of emotional reactions, and activating tension, pain and often hopelessness? I’ve been feeling this myself, too, lately. I’ve had some personal and family challenges coming up, along with all of the political and world events we’ve all been hearing about, and natural disasters of every kind, seriously impacting people all over the world.
Many of us feel a strong desire to take action to help those suffering all around us, and that’s so important to do. Most of us already know that we’re all connected in this world. We care about others and want to end suffering. But what happens to our own self-care and health while navigating all of this? All of this stress can take a toll on our own physical and emotional health.
It’s tempting, with our chronically busy schedules, to let the self-care practices go, and our own relaxation along with it. Work, errands and productivity always seem to take precedence. We often feel we need to get one more thing done and then we can relax, often late in the evening. And we convince ourselves that it won’t make much of a difference to our health and balance if we skip our meditation or relaxation practices. But it does make a difference in the long run.
When I notice I’ve been skipping my daily relaxation periods, meditation, spiritual and healing practices, usually there’s an accompanying sense of stress, tension and lack of centeredness that starts to creep in. When I re-adjust my schedule to prioritize these daily practices that I know keep me healthy, I feel better almost immediately. My meditation, chant, journaling and other practices help me stay more calm, centered, grounded and clear-headed, so I am better able to respond to life’s challenges in a healthy way. Just a few minutes a day with each of these practices can make a big difference.
What are they? Here are some that I’ve found most valuable for maintaining my own emotional, physical and spiritual health, amid these chaotic and busy times.
- Start with some breathing exercises. One simple one is to inhale to the count of 4, hold your breath for 4 if you can, then breathe out to the count of 4. Do this as slowly as your breath will allow. Build up to exhaling to the count of 8. Or, try this…inhale and imagine breathing in grounding and supportive earth energy from deep down in the earth. Imagine this energy coming into your feet, your legs and on up, helping you feel grounded and supported. Then, breathe in divine energy through the top of your head, and imagine it flowing down into your body, healing and inspiring you. These, and many other breathing practices, will help you be more centered and clear-headed for the rest of your day.
- Explore your voice. This can seem a little daunting if you’re someone who’s not used to using your voice. If you feel silly or think you don’t have a good voice, do it anyway – this isn’t about being a good singer. Just settle into these, staying as relaxed and upright as possible. Try taking some long, deep breaths and breathing out with a sound… a long “AH” or a grunt, or anything that feels relieving and releasing. As you do this, imagine releasing all the tension, pain and stress you’ve been holding onto.
- Try a humming practice, starting with 3 to 5 minutes a day. All you do is push your lips out and together. Keep the inside of your mouth and throat as relaxed and open as possible, and just begin humming. Feel the vibration in your lips, your body, wherever you notice it. This is a great practice for balancing and grounding, as well as for bringing awareness to your body and emotions.
- Chant OM, which is said to be the primordial sound of the universe. Try this for 3 to 5 minutes per day, to start. Allow it to center and ground you. After a few moments, begin to notice how your body feels while chanting this. Chanting OM is calming, healing and balancing for your entire system.
- When you’re feeling stressed out, overwhelmed or tense, take a deep breath or two and notice any emotions or body sensations you’re feeling. Really pay attention to this for a few moments. Then take another breath and release it with any sound that feels right, no matter what it is. It doesn’t have to be pretty. Experiment with different sounds, loud and soft, high-pitched or lower-pitched, gritty or smooth. Just play with it. Try groaning, wailing, yelling, etc. You may want to find a place to do this that feels safe to let it out.
I encourage you to start playing with these exercises. I have lots of different practices that I do, often alternating them according to what I feel I need that day or that week. The idea is to bring awareness to the various levels of your being, and to how your body feels when you give it sound. These vocal sounds can bring you into balance.
If you’d like to learn more, please sign up for one of my healing voice classes. We can also schedule a one-on-one healing session, where I can teach you much more about valuable daily healing and spiritual practices.
Please feel free to contact me here for more information.