Chakras and the Voice (Part 4/7)

The heart chakra or Anahata (which means “unstruck”) is the ‘bridge’ between the lower three chakras (Root, Sacral, Power) and the upper three (Throat, Third Eye, Crown).  It is where the realm of the physical and the mental come into contact.  It is also interesting that this particular chakra is situated just above the Power chakra, and just below the Throat chakra. This connection will be explored below.

Your love of touching other human hearts through singing comes from this chakra. When I was a soloist in a church choir I would always notice how open my heart was when I sang religious solos to the congregation. I was always amazed at the sense of open emotion when I sang this music – tears flowed freely, and the experience always seemed to heal spirits.

This Heart chakra is also a HEALING chakra.

One weekend, I did a concert of religious music for a ladies club which was recorded on cassette.  Many months later, someone approached me to tell me that while her husband lay dying, she played that tape of my concert of hymns, and it brought her husband such joy and peace in his final days.

After I stopped crying and sopped myself up off the floor, I understood in that moment that singing is a HEART first, VOICE second activity. When I have felt the BEST about singing has been when my heart was the most open to others. Singing that comes from this heart place is pure and sacred.

If the heart is closed, the throat can make singing sounds that may stun and dazzle but will never touch the deepest part of the collective human spirit. Technical perfection in singing is useless if the heart isn’t open too. How many singers have GREAT voices –  but the heart is never moved?

I find that singing to children, the ill, the elderly has always carried more emotional weight than ‘regular’ performance alone. In fact, I almost always know that I will sing well when I feel a swell of emotion in my chest. I then know that my heart is alive and ready to sing.

The most beautiful songs come from our hearts.

Perhaps that explains my particular take on singing and the teaching of singing; my truest purpose is to transfer this love of music and the voice to other human hearts so that they give that to their audiences.  Teaching voice allows me FIRST to open a singer’s HEART, and then the voice will tend to follow right along behind.

The element of this chakra is – (wait for it) – breath.

Now just stop and think about that for a minute.

Is it possible that you can think of breathing for singing as the working of your HEART? This is a profound discovery I’ve made lately. Air is the element of this chakra, and is the least dense of the elements of the chakra system so far. Air is freedom – think of birds flying. Air is freshness, lightness, simplicity, and softness. When you’re in love you’re ‘walking on air’.  In Hinduism, breath is known as prana. This is our LIFE force at work, breath is at the HEART of our lives. Interconnecting the heart with breath is a BEAUTIFUL way of working with your singing-body in a loving way. Making breathing into a system to be MASTERED, leads to tensions both physical and psychic.

What are some ways to bring more awareness of this chakra into your life? I’ve found volunteering to sing in certain places can be a wonderful way of opening your heart. Do you freely give your song to others, without a thought of the financial return? Can you sing to someone unimpeded by thoughts of money? Singing in hospitals, retirement homes, and hospice centers is a very special and profound experience. Spending time with children and animals is another way to open up your heart to others. Volunteering at the animal shelter, or a soup kitchen are phenomenal heart-opening experiences. Getting into nature is also very heart-opening. Get a Journal and write down 5 things that you LOVED about your day every day.

Practicing Metta meditation is another way of opening yourself to the love inside you.

Practice in your daily singing the ability to NOT judge the sound, and get in touch with why you love singing in the first place. Singers tend to be more ‘mind first’ than ‘heart first’ when they practice because they’re trying so hard to fix and improve their voices.  Can you sit in one practice session a week and remind yourself why you are doing this in the first place? Why do you love to sing? This is a good place to come back to every week.

The next post will cover the Throat Chakra, or the Vishuddha chakra. I hope you are finding these insights useful!

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