Healing

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







What Is An Emotional Edge And Why Do We Need To Respect it?

Emotional edge, what is that?

Annie Au Yin Yoga Teacher Training 2020

 

For many seasoned Yin yogis, you might be quite familiar with the physical edge. A famous analogy of the physical edge is the Panda vs. Black Knight. As famously coined by the founder of modern Yin yoga Paul Grilley, the Pandas are students who never lean enough into their physical edge in a Yin posture, thus never receiving the benefits of Yin yoga (the works of Yin yoga is to stimulate our connective tissues through passive hold over time). On the contrary, the Black Knights are those who believe in the mantra ‘No pain, no gain.’ They are the students that Yin teachers need to look out for, as they tend to push beyond their physical edges and put themselves at high risk for injuries.

So what about the emotional edge? What exactly is it?

Ever done a practice where you’re on the verge of crying? You might be feeling emotional that day or you’ve been going through some hardships in life. We’ve all been there. There are also times where you don’t even know where the tears are coming from, but they’re there. This, my friend, is our emotional edge. It’s an abstract line that divides you from experience hard human emotions. For some people, forward folds trigger anxiety and for others hip-openers are the doorway to sadness. It could also be irrelevant to the poses; you’re just feeling all the feels that particular day.

While we’re practicing, we must respect our emotional edge the way we respect our physical edge. Imagine our uncomfortable feelings are our connective tissues. We lean in just enough to maximize awareness and stimulate growth. We check in with ourselves to see what our emotional landscape is that day, and how we can navigate our discomforts through self-acceptance. If we never lean in, we’re always lingering superficially and never go to the depths where our highest potential awaits us.  On the other hand, if we over step our emotional edge, we are damaging our psyche and abandoning self-love.

Respecting our emotional edge is an act of non-violence (Ahimsa). We learn through our Yin yoga practice how to create healthy boundaries for ourselves. Overtime, you’d see that the awareness you have in your practice would transfer to everything you do in life. Establishing a symbiotic relationship with our intimate partner, family/friends, and coworkers requires us to respect our emotional needs and set clear boundaries.

Everything starts with us. Begin on the mat and slowly out into the world.

 

Namaste & LOVE

Annie

Mantra Singing to Help Heal Anxiety

Mantra singing to help heal anxiety

Written by Kirbanu + Excerpt by Annie Au


Mantra is a sacred prayer. It's a sacred chant using words that have been imbued overtime, sometimes over thousands of years, with intention, reverence and manifestation. Every mantra is an opportunity for us to turn within and focus on an element of the human experience that we wish to shine light on, unfold or understand in a deeper way. The repetition of mantra helps us to calm the mind, open the heart and enter into a communion with our higher nature, each other and the divine.

Singing mantras forms a great focus point for meditation, one of the main natural techniques we can use to combat anxiety. When we repeat a mantra aloud, the mind is forced to focus upon a single thing and we relax. We align our mind and emotions with the meaning of the mantra and we learn to surrender into the moment.


"In Traditional Chinese Medicine, imbalances in the Heart Meridian may cause anxiety. The diaphragm is connected to the heart organ via the pericardium sac, and is often tensed. Singing mantra helps release the diaphragm and
restore love and compassion in our heart centre."- Annie Au Yoga



The act of singing helps us focus on what we're experiencing within our body: We hear the sound of our voice, we're aware of our mouth, tongue and lips shaping the form of the mantra, we feel a vivid bodily connection to the sensations that the mantra brings us, as we sing it, in that moment. When we combine this felt experience with our focus upon the meaning of the mantra, we offer ourselves an incredibly opportunity to self-nurture. We provide a loving, gentle healing to the part of ourselves that experiences anxiousness.

Overtime, as we develop our mantra singing practice, we begin to learn self-acceptance. We allow ourselves to be as we are, in the moment, with all our fears and anxiety. And we use these as fuel for our singing. This level of self-acceptance is transformative. We feel the gift within us of our own voice and the joy it brings to use our unique voice as an altar of worship to express mantras through.

There are a number of elements we can focus on when singing mantras. Here's a few that I share in my online You Are Your Voice! Courses for Yogis & Yoga Teachers:

  • Focus on your mouth sensation: How does the mantra feel in your mouth when you speak the words? Practice saying Om and focus entirely on the feeling it brings you in your mouth.

  • Focus on the sensation in your body: How does the mantra feel in your body when you speak the words? Practice saying Om and observe the feelings it brings you in your body. Is there a place where you feel it stronger than others?

  • Focus on the meaning of the mantra: What does the mantra stand for? What meaning does it have? And what does this mean to you? Think about it. Feel it. Be it.

  • Focus on the sound you hear: How do you hear your own voice singing the mantra? If you're in a group, how do you hear the voices of others singing the mantra?


If you are looking to improve your voice for yoga teaching and/or singing mantra, YOU ARE YOUR VOICE is the perfect course for you! Enjoy 10% off when you enter the code: ANNIESL003.

About Me:

kirbanu Yin yoga the voice mantra-Annie Au Yoga

I'm Kirbanu, an Australian voice empowerment coach, musician & mindfulness practitioner. I fuse vocal science with mindfulness techniques to teach people how to use their voices holistically and in empowering ways. Having performed over 500 concerts in 5 years and taught vocal workshops worldwide, I truly understand the necessity of being able to express ourselves clearly, with confidence and in a way that is in alignment with our mind and body. My deep passion is to share practical tools & techniques with you so that you too can experience the joy and confidence that a holistic connection with your own voice brings.

My Voice Courses for Yogis & Yoga Teachers: YOU ARE YOUR VOICE

My Music & Mantras: Spotify, i­Tunes, Apple Music @kirbanu Instagram:

www.instagram.com/kirbanu

Website: www.kirbanu.com