The Yoga, The Voice

"Beyond cultural diversity, musicianship, form, and aesthetics there is an organic impulse to translate into sound, rhythm, and movement the emotion of being alive." Mickey Hart

Since ancient times, every spiritual tradition of the world has used sound for healing and as a gateway to transcendence and exploration of consciousness, the therapeutic value of music was considered indivisible from its own nature. Specific chants and music were played as a form of natural medicine. Today sound is used extensively in scientific research and integrative medicine.

The singing voice is a vehicle to connect with the flow of life that can gush through our being at a full force. Like no other sound, the voice becomes a link with our spiritual life by revealing deeper aspect of the self. The singing voice through the function of breath and sound supports the process of transforming energy patterns, creates measurable effects in the physical body, and can affect consciousness more efficiently than any other form of sound.

As the field of healing with sound and music is rapidly re-emerging in our culture, it has becomes increasingly important to understand more about how sound and chanting can support therapeutic and growth processes. The yoga of the voice™ is a certificate program that offers the integration of the precise body-mind-spirit discipline of yoga with ancient and contemporary techniques of chanting, sound healing, music therapy, and voice development as a gateway to connect with our true energetic sound and light nature. Through an in-depth study of the use of the voice and the music of cultures that use sound to transform consciousness and realize healing, the program format includes intensive training, workshop settings, private study, and study abroad organized student's travels to countries and cultures where sacred sound healing still abounds.

The 100 & 200-hour Yoga of the Voice™ Certificate is the only of its kind, providing the students with mindful, holistic, and stimulating education in an optimum environment for personal and professional development. Students become familiar with both practical and transcendental uses of sound, enabling them to go deeper into the experience of the transformative power of sound and the voice.

Students learn a selected repertoire of chants focused on distinct uses of sacred sound including Indian ragas and mantras, sonorous and melodious yogas (ancient yogic practices involving sound and movement), Afro-Brazilian ritual chants, and indigenous healing songs from many traditions of sound enlightenment. The curriculum highlights vocal improvisation, voice range and tone quality techniques, emphasizing the inherent connection with ancient sources of devotional wisdom and mystical uses of sound, including the music of the Sama Veda, the Sufi approach to vocal ritual and deep listening, the Hindustani system of raga–rasa, the theory of Rudolf Stainer on the etheric tone, and contemporary research on extended vocal techniques.

Students discover how through the practice and application of certain sounds, musical intervals, scales, rhythms, and chants is possible to impact specific areas of the brain and the body, recognizing immediate ways to transform energy patters and emotional states. Through a cross-cultural approach, practitioners of the Yoga of the Voice ™ learn shamanic and ceremonial forms of vocal expressions, like methods of toning and overtone singing, tuning to divine energy through seed syllables, invocations and medicine melodies, enabling them to incorporate these practices in their personal and professional life. The finest objective is to embody divinity through sound, enhancing vitality, and experiencing the liberating devotional nature of music.

Students will discover which musical culture opens personal doorways to free their voice and sing more, realizing how group chanting encourages kindness and respect for other cultures, nature and life.

How Yoga informs the Voice

The word yoga means union, coming from the Sanskrit root yug— to bind or yoke. This union refers to the merging of divine consciousness with the human spirit. As an integral science for human development, Yoga consists of a system of philosophical, physiological, spiritual and mystical practices (angas) toward the state of unconditional liberation. Through various techniques and modalities, Yoga teaches us to connect with the power and the light at our center, and that the path of enlightenment is a return to that source. All forms of yoga use a diverse display of ancient seed sounds and mantras that are especially effective when they are intoned while the body and the mind are at ease and relaxed. Those sound formulas become the vocal conduit to invoke and manifest the union with the Divine within. Students become familiar with the function on mantras and a musical practice that protects and purifies the mind. Their therapeutic value is unquestionable and constantly evolving.

Yoga is an integral science for human development and through various techniques and modalities the yoga of voice uses the voice as a gateway to connect to our true energetic and emotional nature, presenting a framework for understanding how practices that engage the voice as a yoga can affect one's state of consciousness, and emotions, bringing about deep healing, inspiration, and collective joy.

Through ancient breath and sound practices, the yoga of the voice guides the practitioners into the experience of devotional chants and sounds that clear, tune, and stimulate the brain and the energy of the chakras. As a result, the mind expands into luminous states of consciousness and an ecstatic sense of well-being, as chanting triggers a spontaneous identification with the sacred; a dimension of consciousness characterized by a release of openness, radiance and love.

Students discover innovative ways to open their voice by integrating diverse dimensions of healing with breath, sound and the voice; the contemplative, the expressive, the shamanic, and the ecstatic. Students share an original repertoire of chants from different traditions of contemplative singing, into the core of Nada and Shabda Yoga and Tibetan spiritual music, healing songs and deity invocations, including expressive chants from Afro-Brazil, the Amazon, and Sufi mystic sound poetry.

The music healing modalities presented through the Vox Mundi School programs are designed to free the practitioner from any personal memory of vocal constraint. Students learn to shift the focus from "the singer " to the onset of tone. Is the voice, not the persona of the singer who is singing. This idea contributes to the progressive empowerment of the practitioner and student confidence and the willingness to sing under any circumstances. This attribute, the repertoire, and the method become instrumental in creating a safe therapeutic and educational atmosphere. Technique and knowledge empower the capacity of the voice, and there is an essential kind of listening that happens when the body and the mind are relaxed and focus on sound and expression.

Where you can learn this? The Vox Mundi School of the Voice, Emeryville, Ca Inner Vision Yoga, Chandler, AZ Vox Mundi- Soho, NYC Vox Mundi-Rio, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Alumine University, Buenos Aires, Argentina California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco (from Fall 2006)

Q. How can Yoga of the Voice™ transform your life?

A. Through as daily as possible devotional practice of using the voice for energetic release, self-expression, medicine, and meditation, we become centered and balanced both physiologically and psychologically. Clarity, wisdom and a great sense of wellbeing become evident with a minimal practice of just 10-21 minutes per day. When we become familiar with the practice, it becomes "yoga", and we are "united" with the practice, we are One with it. The day by day practice "centers" us more than anything else we do. We become aware of the improvement, we become more confident, as many other positive signs of the regular practice. The chanting voice becomes a natural vehicle of daily enlightenment and contemplation. Like a good habit that we can't live without it.

The Practice of Droning

Allow for sound to follow breath, and voice to follow sound. Release a vocal tone through a relaxed and small lip opening, like humming (sounding like "wuu"). Sustain your focus on that specific tone, toning over a subtle drone played by an external instrument or device. Keep a clear sense of sounding one or two notes, dwelling in that tonal space. We attune ourselves to tone, not yet exploring melody. [The drone is a continuous tone or harmony usually created with the simultaneous sound of the tonic and dominant (Fifth), or the tonic (Fourth). If played on strings, it will involve many other partial harmonies and sonorities. As an essential part of Indian classical music, the drone is sometimes described as "the breath of God," leading the musician and the listener into a state of contemplation, and slowly clearing the mind to a state beyond thoughts and emotions]. We immerse ourselves deeply into the experience of opening the voice, departing from the root tone, diving into subtle undulations of the same tone, wandering through transformations of timbre and texture. Sounding into the realm of somatic and emotional resonance, the phrasing is simple, calm, and knowing. The tone always returns "home," to the infinite tonal ground offered by the drone. Variation: use a variety of seed-sounds such as: Ah, Eh, Om, Ram, Bam, Yam, Lam, Tam. These sacred syllables are related to the embodiment of the qualities of the elements of nature. Duration: 5 to 10 min. This toning practice is recommended to enhance deep listening and concentration; the effect of relaxing the mind through this vocal meditation is enhanced creativity.

For more information on programs visit: www.voxmundiproject.com

Silvia Nakkach, MA, MMT, named by Utne Reader as one of forty cutting-edge artists that will shake the art world in the new millennium, is a pioneer in the field of sound and transformation of consciousness. Her innovative work is integrated in the comprehensive training, The Yoga of the Voice™. She is founder of the Vox Mundi School and the creator and coordinator of CIIS's Sound, Voice, and Music Healing Certificate program.

Silvia Nakkach

Silvia Nakkach Return to top of page

An internationally known pioneer in the field of sound and transformation of consciousness, Silvia Nakkach, MA, MMT, has cultivated a voice that transports listeners into the heart of devotion. Her vo...

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