Saturday, February 25, 2012

Choral Contemplations

Don't forget to breath deeply from your diaphragm, inhale into your stomach, your chest, the sides of your ribs, your back....exhale slowly...

Remember your alignment...plant your feet evenly on the ground, stack your spine, one vertebra on top of another, keep your shoulders down and back, your head steady and centered... 

Know your range...accept your current limitations, and remember that as you develop your practice, that range will grow...

Be present, engage in the rhythm and flow of this practice...if your mind wanders, you risk losing your place...concentrate

These are directions I could easily imagine hearing from a yoga instructor, but this advise is just as applicable to singing as it is to an asana practice.

I sing in a lovely little choir at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Northern Westchester.  As I was getting ready for rehearsal on Thursday evening I began to think about the similarities between the time I spend on my yoga mat, and the time I spend in choir rehearsal.

In singing, as in yoga, it's incredibly important to properly align your posture.  The singer's stance is much like tadasana (mountain pose), where aligning and vertically stretching your spine helps create more space in your body to be filled with your breath.

Breathing itself is equally important in both practices - in yoga, your breathing pattern is often dictated by movement between poses, in music, a singer breaths between musical phrases.  In both activities it's vital to breath at the proper moment, and to inhale deeply and exhale fully.  

Performing a vinyasa sequence is much like singing a your yoga practice, there will be poses that will be easier or harder for you based on your natural strength and flexibility - in a song, there will be notes that are comfortably in your range, and others that are more difficult for you to hit as strongly.  Each pose or note is equally important as the next, and needs to be performed even if it is challenging.  With practice, both your vocal range and your yogic range of movement will grow.

A power yoga class might challenge you to move quickly through asanas without losing your form, some songs will have you singing runs of clearly articulated sixteenth alignment-focused yoga practice might have you holding a pose for a very long time, just as singers are often challenged to hold a single note for multiple measures without losing their breath.

And finally, in both singing and in yoga, it's incredibly important to focus intensely on your practice, to be completely in the moment, to devote all of your attention to your alignment and breath, and the movement between notes and poses.  This concentration will help keep you from hitting wrong notes and from moving your body in inappropriate and damaging ways.

I wonder what other parallels I can draw between my yoga practice and other areas of my life...

- Lori

No comments:

Post a Comment