Today’s post will be the first of a seven part series on relating the Chakra system to the singing voice.
DISCLAIMER: This post may be rather “woo woo” for some readers, and I am FULLY OWNING this. I like the concepts provided by this system from a largely psychological perspective. Much of the singing voice operates from a place of the unseen, so this won’t feel too off the beaten path for most readers. Also, this feels like it wants to be written, so I am just going to follow that inner guidance, and take dictation – HA!
For those that aren’t aware of chakras, they are an energy system that come to us from the Vedas and the Upanishads. There are many resources and books out there to learn more about them. I’ve found that they are also somewhat similar to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, which is how I will be using them within this particular context.
This first post is about the root/base chakra, also known as “muladhara” which means root support in Sanskrit. This chakra governs issues of survival, security, and stability. This chakra is the ‘ground floor’ of all the other chakras, and the idea is that each chakra needs to be opened in order to be functioning properly.
When thinking about this chakra, certain topics arise for the singing artist as they relate to the vocal path.
The first is a feeling of abandonment, and lack of trust. A lack of ‘presence’ in the body is also another common problem, as singers may feel more ‘in their heads’. Getting in touch with your body is a really great way of grounding yourself. Classes in Yoga, Alexander Technique, Aerobic exercise, walking, yoga, hiking, running, biking, gardening, Tai Chi, and Pilates can be WONDERFUL ways to come more into an awareness of your body in space, and connect you more to this particular chakra.
For issues of survival, one of the recurrent themes for singers is the idea of PERSONAL FINANCES and JOBS! For many singers, feeling grounded and confident in finances is a tremendous hurdle. If you are constantly running around for money or behaving in a financially irresponsible way, it can be difficult to get a sense of the security that comes with feeling ‘safe’ around money. Getting clarity about your particular financial situation can help you to feel more secure and stable. Are you in debt? Does this overwhelming feeling cause inordinate amounts of stress? Getting some information on solving your financial issues can really help you feel more grounded and safe. I always recommend Suze Orman’s information for people who have money issues. While she’s gotten more aggressive as of late with her DENIED segment – her earliest books come from a very caring and compassionate place.
Fear is also another symptom of imbalance in this chakra. Working through your fears can be very beneficial. One way I’ve found that has helped me, and might work for you is The Work of Byron Katie. This method asks you to question your stressful thoughts and really go into yourself and inquire “Is it true?”
The other part of the root chakra that is mentioned is the idea of the right to be here. Do you often feel that you don’t have the right to sing? Did someone in your past tell you that you didn’t sing well and so you feel guilty for exploring music and your voice? What keeps you from feeling that YOU and your voice matter? Are you able to appreciate the abundance that you have in your life at THIS MOMENT? Friends, family, music, love, air, health…these are all priceless possessions. Are you aware of them?
When the root chakra becomes more open and functional your sense of belonging increases, as does your ability to trust others. The sense of acceptance of where you ARE RIGHT NOW in your vocal journey becomes a place of PEACE because you realize that reality cannot be argued with. Your sense of fulfillment in your own skin will increase, as will the sense that you and your song matter.
Many singers struggle wondering if their voice ‘matters’. Do I belong? Am I good enough? I was always saddened by those beautiful voices of my colleagues who quit singing because they didn’t “make it”. As if somehow if you aren’t at the Met your voice is worthless. How could your voice not matter? Every voice is unique, precious, and special, and deserves the chance to be heard. Have you stopped to appreciate the unique gift of singing that you have right now, warts and all? Even with an imperfect technique, the joy of singing can still be present, you know.
It’s important to take into account each one of these posts as we move through the chakra system. Gaining security, a sense of financial stability, and grounding in your own body will help you access these higher levels as we explore them.
The next post will cover the Svadhisthana, or Sacral Chakra as it relates to singing. This is the chakra of sensuality and creativity – how appropriate for singing artists!