Spleen Meridian

How Emotions Affect Your Voice And The Power Of Self-Acceptance- Written by Kirbanu, Commentated by Annie

Annie Au Yin Yoga Self-Acceptance Spleen Meridian

How emotions affect your voice and the power of self-acceptance

Emotions & Your Voice

Have you ever heard the term, “It’s not what you say but how you say it that matters?” Ever noticed that the sound of your voice changes when you express different emotions? That when you speak words in anger your voice sounds completely different compared to when you’re happy? Have you ever felt an emotion so strongly that you were simply unable to get the words out and you felt like your voice was trapped in your throat or shut down?

“In Chinese medicine, our organs correspond with specific emotions. Our Liver connects with anger, Spleen with worry, Lung with sadness, Heart with excitement and Kidney with fear. Our speech is an extension of how well our Qi (energy) flows. With proper training, we can hear directly in our speech which organ(s) is affected.” - Annie

Whether we like it or not, we are emotional beings. We feel and our feelings affect both our thoughts and our bodies. Our emotions are energy and the voice, located within - and produced by - the body, is significantly impacted by them. 

How Emotions affect Your Voice

Inside the body, it is the limbic system where the majority of our emotions come to life. When a feeling is activated there, nerve signals with information about how the body should behave based on that emotion, get sent throughout the body. This includes being sent to the muscles involved in breathing as well as to the jaw, neck, shoulders, tongue and larynx. All of these areas are involved in the mechanical creation of your voice including the physical vibrations produced by the vocal folds which are located in your larynx. What this means is that every emotion you feel directly impacts the muscles mechanically involved in producing your voice. 

In life this fact can play out in disempowering ways. For example, imagine the following situation: you’re standing before your boss needing to speak about an important, uncomfortable topic, but no matter how many times you’ve practiced what you wish to say your voice still shakes, your pitch goes up two octaves and you squeak out the words instead of expressing yourself confidently. Or imagine this situation: you need to talk to your partner about a problem in the relationship, but despite your best preparation, when you go to open your mouth the words barely come out. Your knees wobble, your voice becomes raspy and you’re unable to say what you wish to. Or this situation: you’re finishing teaching a yoga class and you’d like to sing a mantra during Savasana but you’re so nervous that your voice cracks and shakes and you can’t sing the mantra in the way you can when you’re alone.

Emotions Guide the Voice

Emotions guide our voice and we can choose to either work with this fact or have it work against us. In vocal production, whether it be for speaking or singing, our emotions impact:

  • The pitch we express ourselves in

  • The speed we say things at

  • The strength or weakness heard in the voice

  • The melody of the voice

  • The breathiness of the voice

  • The way words are articulated and emphasized 

  • Even the words we choose to say, or not say!

Self-acceptance is the Key to Vocal Freedom

Self-acceptance means accepting yourself as you are in this very moment. It means accepting the story that brought you here - the good and the bad - and accepting all that you think, feel and are, now. At times this idea may be overwhelming. But when we fail to accept ourselves we cause a split within our own being which has a ripple effect on our voice. We shut down parts of who we are, which disempowers us and it disempowers our voice. 

“Yin yoga is unique in a way that we’re forced to face head on with our emotional obstacles while holding a pose. In Yin yoga, when practiced earnestly, we learn to sit with the discomfort and accept our body and mind for where they’re at in that moment.” - Annie

Failing to accept ourselves includes failing to accept how we feel in the present moment. In my own experience this often happens because I think “I should” feel something other than I do in response to a situation. So if I’m feeling angry and I try to speak to the person I’m angry at, and my voice shakes, I might feel frustrated at myself. Rather than accepting my anger and how it expresses itself through my voice in that moment, I try to control it and make it sound different. And when that doesn’t work, the frustration I then feel causes a split within me, and within my voice. This often makes my voice break and causes me to not be able to express myself at all. Which leads to more frustration and the cycle continues!

What I’ve learned overtime through my own singing and mindfulness practice, is that self-acceptance is the key to vocal freedom.When we can accept ourselves and how we feel in the present moment, we become complete and can actively use our emotions to energise and colour our voice. This is a very loving and nurturing practice.

“Being yogic is to cultivate loving awareness in all aspects of life. This can be done through singing, talking to others, eating, walking, and even sleeping (Yoga Nidra). Our vocal speech is directly related to the Lung and Large Intestine meridians. These channels resonate with our ability to let go of our own expectations and past conditionings, which allow us to express freely.” - Annie

Using Emotions as Food for the Voice

The following exercise is one I share in my online courses for yoga teachers & students . The idea behind it is to allow ourselves to actively use our current emotion as energy for the voice when we speak or sing. To do this exercise, sit in a comfortable place where you won’t be disturbed:

  1. Tune into how you feel in this moment without judging or trying to change it. Simply allow your feeling to be there, as it is, now.

  2. Imagine this feeling is a living energy. You can give it a colour if you wish to. 

  3. Locate this energy in your body. Again, practice being the observer - all the time allowing your experience to be as it is.

  4. Now chant Om. As you chant imagine that the energy of your feeling moves out from its location in your body through your voice. Allow how you feel in this moment to be carried on the vibration of your voice and out into the world. Repeat this five times.

  5. Close your eyes and observe your experience.

For me doing this is an incredible form of self-love and self-acceptance and the result it has on my voice is dramatic. Working with our emotions and our current state as we speak or sing allows us to accept who and how we are, now. Sharing our voice from this place of self-integration is a valuable and empowering gift for ourselves as well as for those around us.

To learn more about your voice and how to use it with confidence, power and impact for yoga teaching and/or singing mantras, take a look at Kirbanu’s YOU ARE YOUR VOICE online courses. Enjoy 10% off when you enter the code: ANNIESL003.


Kirbanu

Kirbanu is an Australian voice coach, musician & yogi  who fuses vocal science with mindfulness techniques to teach people how to use their voices in empowering ways for speaking and singing. Her passion is to share practical tools & techniques with you so you too can experience the joy and confidence a holistic connection with your own voice brings.

Her online Voice Courses for Yoga Teachers & Students: YOU ARE YOUR VOICE

Find Out More: www.instagram.com/kirbanuwww.facebook.com/kirbanuwww.youtube.com/kirbanuSpotify, i-Tunes, Apple Music @kirbanu







Thinking Too Much? Top 3 Yin Poses To Get Rid Of Your Worries

“If the problem can be solved why worry? If the problem cannot be solved worrying will do you no good.”

― Master Shantideva

When was the last time you worried? Perhaps last night? This morning? Or a few seconds ago? As purported by many scientific researches, humans are designed by nature to be fearful. This is logical as fear encourages us to be cautious, to run away from predators or to preserve food for an unexpected famine. However, as we progress in time, many of our worries are based less on real life danger, but rather on hypothetical stories that run incessantly in our minds.

Annie Au Yin Yoga Poses to get rid of Worrying

In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), sickness can be caused by blocked emotional expression or prolonged/ intense emotional stimulation. These emotions may include anger, worry, fear, sadness, and mania. The concept and practical use of Chinese meridian system distinguishes Chinese medicine from other ancient healing modalities. Out of the twelve regular meridians, the Spleen/Stomach meridians are associated with worrying, as well as emotions like remorse, regret, obsessiveness, self-doubt, and suspicion. Commonly, when energy stagnant in these two meridians, you are likely to over-worry about things that may not have any tangible connections in your reality.

Yin poses help relief energy blockages throughout the body. The mechanism behind is similar to how water runs through a garden hose in your backyard. Just like pinching a garden hose with water running inside, the water pressure would increase behind the pinched spot. Upon release, the water forcefully pushes forward, carrying with it any toxic residue that may have lined the inside of the hose. Comparatively, while holding a yoga posture, the compressive or tensile force created in the body pinches the flow of energy in the meridians. After a few minutes as you come out of the pose, the energy is also released removing any energy stagnation in the channels.

If you’re a constant worrier, here are the top 3 poses you should do to help clear your worries away:

1. Sphinx/Seal- Hold for 3-5 minutes

Annie Au Yin Yoga Sphinx
Annie Au Yin Yoga Seal Pose

Start by laying on your stomach and place the elbows under the shoulder. Place the feet together or slightly apart, relax the legs. Slowly sink the chest and shoulders downward. You may feel slight to medium compression in the low back and tension in the chest and stomach.

To intensify the posture, go to Seal by lifting the elbows off the floor. Adjust the pressure in the low back by walking your hands closer or further away from the hips.

If you feel any sharp pain or numbness, go back to Sphinx or release the posture completely.


2. Saddle- Hold for 3-5 minutes

Annie Au Yin Yoga Saddle Pose
Annie Au Yin Yoga Half-Saddle Pose

Sitting on your knees or in hero pose (see picture), slowly walk the hands behind you on the floor as you lean back. Stop once you feel tension in the thighs and hip flexors. If you feel a lot of sensation in the low back, place a block or bolster under the spine for support. Only go as deep into the pose as you can breathe comfortably.



3. Melting Heart (Anahatasana)- Hold for 3 minutes

Annie Au Yin Yoga Anahatasana Melting Heart Pose

This pose is a gentle opening for the upper and mid back. Start on your hands and knees, slowly walk your hands forward until the chin or the chest touches the floor. You can place a block under the chin or forehead for support. The hips can be slightly forward or behind the knees. You may feel slight to medium sensations in the shoulders. You can also widen the arms to see if it softens the pressure in the shoulders. Note: If you feel any tingling or numbness in the arms, come out of the posture slowly as you might be experiencing nerve/blood vessel compression.