Roar (accessed on Snappa, March 2, 2023)

I began teaching my inaugural EmPowering your Voice! workshops last night. These sessions have been circling around my artist-teacher brain for several years; I began a prototype of them in the first fall of the pandemic with some likeminded women at a 5-day retreat, but this week, they became a reality. The idea grew from teaching I have been doing annually for the last several years as part of the teacher training program at Pranalife Yoga, owned by my (now) friend and colleague, Asia Nelson. As part of the education program for these teachers, the vast majority of whom have no background in singing or music whatsoever, we have used healthy, anatomically-based voice work as a way to assist would-be yoga teachers in the confident use of their voices in the yoga studio and beyond.

The resonance (pun intended!) of these workshops never fails to amaze. Each year, we witness profound discoveries of self and empowerment amongst the participants, as they drop into heretofore-untapped inner resources and strength through their vocal instruments. Often in just minutes, with some deep breath, alignment, and resonance work, a person can call upon sounds and sensations that make them feel intensely powerful and whole. It is usually the highlight of my teaching year, largely because it is so astonishing every single time. I’m used to the epiphanies of my university and post-graduate students who have chosen voice as their instrument to make music. But for these people, who have no expectation from their vocal organ as an agent for self-actualization or a reflection of their identity, it’s truly miraculous. So I’ve been wanting to spread the wealth, as it were.

And this week, as I sat on the floor alongside four wonderful women who had chosen to embark on a journey together for the next 6 weeks, I felt so incredibly grateful for all I have learned from these many students over the last while. They have brought me here. Their emancipation from fears of smallness and insignificance by accessing their inner voice has been so inspiring that I have created a program around this practice to elicit personal growth through singing. We open ourselves to our innermost being by breathing together, singing together and creating a believing community in which to grow this practice. Already in one two-hour session, we five humans have cemented a common purpose and have found joy in breathing and making sound together. Our intention is to grow together in our vocal power and create a new, affirming community to support our emerging vocal selves. As Helen Reddy once famously sang: Hear Us Roar.