Voice lessons aside, one other thing that helps with singing or public speaking will be a feeling of looseness and flexibility in the throat. While some may rely on
‘Hot tea, lemon and honey’ to achieve this, there are actually some yoga poses that help ‘loosen’ the vocal cords and with practice actually increase the flexibility of the muscles in those areas.
Now, from personal research, a specific book titled ‘Singing for the Stars’ by Seth Riggs-(the vocal coach of the who-is-who of the Music Industry)-specifies that stretching to warm up not only the vocal cords but the whole body before doing vocal warm-ups are very helpful.
That considered, I specifically incorporated those poses that I know from sensation loosen the cervical region that of course contains the throat. (As an added bonus, some of these poses loosen other body parts that come in handy for my ‘James Brown-Michael Jackson-Prince’-esque moves by the way…)
Now I will show you my choices and explain each one briefly.
1. The Sun Salutations.
This is more of a combination of poses, versus being an exclusive pose. Its ease and versatility comes in handy for warming up the entire body and increasing the blood flow. Moreover, with the deep breathing associated (and the corrective effect it does have on breathing in general), this unique collage of indeed very simple movements will come in handy for just about warming up to do anything.
2. The Wheel Pose:
This is a backward bending pose that owing to its execution stretches the entire body immensely. When properly executed, one’s head will be turned upside down which consequently stretches the throat and increases the blood flow to the head. When, I’m doing mid to up-tempo numbers, I love executing the wheel pose to sort of get the adrenalin pumped up and I also add the spinal twists (it’s counter pose so to speak) for an even more balanced stretch that it may offer.
3. The Lion Pose:
Think “Scary Movie 1” here for a minute, remember when Marlon Wayans yells “whazup” and stretches out his tongue? Well, this pose has a similar concept in execution. Moreover, I actually read that taking its name into consideration, it is often a pose recommended for overcoming shyness, as some Yogic texts claim in executing a pose, you take up the characteristic of the object or creature it is named after. Since this is the Lion Pose, it is believed that boldness and confidence is increased. For now, let’s just stick to the immense stretching of the throat that it offers.
4. The Shoulder-Stand Sequence:
Well, this sequence includes a pose known in Yoga as Savagasana (meaning it affects all body parts). It is a simple inversion pose and when executed with its counter poses: The Bridge and the Fish Poses, they adequately loosen up the whole body. If my performance or session is in the earlier parts of the day, I may simply execute just this sequence alone (with the previously mentioned sun salutations) and be fine. The fish pose especially loosens up the chest and is often recommended for respiratory disorders such as Asthma and Bronchitis.
5. The Relaxation Pose:
The name says it all. After a session or performance, it is always best to cool down the vocal muscles as this comes in handy for extensive daily use. Perhaps no other pose comes close to relaxing not only the vocal cords but the whole body like the Relaxation Pose yoga has to offer. This simple relaxation technique is something I have incorporated into my list of essentials as a vocalist and will come in handy for interested parties as well.
In addition to these poses and since singing involves a great degree of breath control, the Breathing Exercises (aka pranayama) belonging to Yoga come in very handy, as well as do some Yogic Cleaning techniques for the body such as nasal, throat and tongue cleansing…but that’s another topic altogether.
Moreover, a yogic diet -which is akin to the Mucus-free diet of the drug-free fraternity/lifestyle-helps to ensure excess mucus within is curbed and of course fasting-an advocated practice of Yoga-augments this even more. In fact this last factor is secretly why I hardly ever run out of breath while performing folks.
Perhaps if I ever end up winning a Grammy someday (hey, you never know…), I’ll be able to get up at the podium and acknowledge Yoga much more for helping me sing better, but for now, if your trade , passion or hobby demands an intense use of your vocal cords, you can surely benefit a lot from adding a little bit of yoga to making them work a lot better.