Our Secret Weapon
Have you ever seen a video of the human vocal apparatus? It looks like an oyster that flops up and down, around and over, divided by an opening with the vocal cords on each side. The vocal muscle opens and closes the cords to let the air in and out. It’s the only muscle in the human body that behaves this way. When we exhale, its multi-dimensional movements make folds and crevices for the air to pass through. The cords must vibrate symmetrically for the voice to sound rich and full. Speaking makes the crevices close and then open, in cycles, stopping the air and starting it again. This produces a sort of buzzing that passes through the neck, the facial crevices, and the mouth, creating a sound like no other because of the unique facial texture, bone structure, and cartilage surrounding the vibrations.
A vehicle to the outside world
The pitch of a voice speaks almost as loudly as words. Your child’s laughter, the tension when someone is having a hard time, sarcasm, apprehension, and approval are all expressed with tones. If we’re frightened, the cords will tense up and the pitch will rise. A spontaneous pattern of belts and sighs turns into laughter, a sharp cry means danger. A halting tone may indicate dishonesty or fear.
Speaking, singing, sighing, screaming, all come from thoughts and emotions. And so, the voice is intimately connected to our state of mind. It’s a bridge to the world around us, our statement of who we are. Lubricating, exercising, and relaxing the voice with de-stressing techniques are some of the ways we can conserve it, physically. Becoming mindful of how we use it will lead to healthy communication and clear vocal expression. Someone once said, “It took me two years to learn to talk, and an entire lifetime learning to keep my mouth shut.” Mastering our words is a life-long discipline.
How to self-regulate with the voice
Singing, humming, and chanting can be extremely therapeutic. This small muscle, found at the base of the throat, sends vibrations to every part of the body. It is like a caged bird when it’s constricted and unused, or an eagle flying high when it is liberated and allowed to expand. The energetic impact of the voice is unequaled.
It depends on our breathing patterns. Like a sail in the wind, if we breathe deeply, the air coming through the crevices will be strong and even. But if we breathe sporadically without strength, the voice will diminish. We can mindfully adapt our voice to the situations around us. If we’re facing an angry person, we might try using a soft, assertive voice. If someone is sad, we might comfort them with our tone.
Is there a perfect voice?
In the world of artistic expression, the voice is judged and qualified by its richness, its range and its musicality. However, each voice is unique and wonderful, made of a special tone-spectrum. The diverse resonant fields around it create its shades and pitches. With practice, you can strengthen, stretch, broaden and give your voice more depth. There are many techniques to honor and improve it. Listening to yourself attentively, letting your voice become your daily friend. Allowing it full access will connect you to your vocal capacity and to your authentic self. It will teach you to know when to speak, when to laugh when to roar, or whisper. Ultimately, it will give you the power to decide how you want to broadcast outwards into the world.