|Each of us has an inner voice yearning to express itself — a soul, made of divine energy and love, longing to be set free. Yet some of us have difficulty expressing who we really are at the core, feeling fearful of how others may perceive us, especially if our success depends on others’ opinions.
As children our first dreams may have been to be on stage, performing as an actor or singer. We may have been told to be quiet, stop showing off, or that our voice wasn’t of star quality. Sadly, many of us may have given up our dreams, or put them on pause, muting the freedom of self-expression and one of life’s greatest freedoms.
When we deny ourselves of the opportunities to express ourselves authentically, we create an energetic store-house that holds our self prisoner, pent up, unheard, and unexpressed. These communication blocks could lead us naively into unhealthy situations. Therefore just as we practice yoga on the mat, or yoga in our walking life, we must also allow that yoga of full expression in all it’s myriad of forms to flow through us and express itself fully. To allow our deepest emotions to be freed, to be heard, seen, noticed, felt and accepted in some way is as much a part of our yoga experience as any other, for it is nature for the soul to express itself. It is why we exist at all.
Louise Hay as well as many notable healers claims that most diseases and disorders are the result of a block in our energetic free-flow. Learning to sing in a non-judgmental environment which encourages self-expression can be very healing. Chanting in kirtan is a great way to release into self-expression in a safe space. In fact, singing and dance has been recommended for cancer patients as a way to express their innermost emotions, thus accessing their own natural healing process. When we authentically use our voice, it becomes a wonderful way to heal body, mind, and soul, and connect to our Source within.
I like to think of my voice as an instrument of expression, for the pleasure of the Divine. I warm it up and tune it like a musical instrument, emptying out my ego and fearfulness, so God may hear the devotion in my heart through the voice. I become God’s flute, at least that's how I feel inside when I sing. This wonderful experience of true freedom through self-expression is an ego-less, selfless expression of my divine energy and devotion. The expression of the soul, by nature, is a spiritual yoga experience. We are all made of the same essence of spiritual energy, and therefore to connect with our core existence is to have and create a connection with God and Goddess within. This is the ultimate goal of all yoga paths (see Bhagavad-Gita) . Whether we sound like Sarah Brightman or rock like Steve Tyler, we all have something special to share. The more fully we allow ourselves to express our divinity through the singing, dance and other arts, the more we resonate with spirit. Our hearts become lighter, uplifted and we feel genuine happiness as we get connected through the yoga of self-expression.
If our true goal is to express devotion to God and Goddess through the voice, it is not necessary to aim for a perfect performance. Some of the most famous successful singers don’t have perfect voices yet people love listening to them! These singers believe in themselves, and express their deepest thoughts and moods, and this resonates with us in some way. Expression is not about technique as much as it is about breaking free and allowing yourself to shine, without worrying about how others are going to perceive you. It is an experience of your SELF you are looking for. To go within, have the experience and fully connect is one of the most pleasurable moments in life. When we hold back, for fear of how others may perceive us, worrying how bad or good we sound and look, we stay stuck in old habits that prevent us from growing spiritually. How does it serve you to look good in others eyes if it stunts your own transformation?
We all have a natural instrument, the gift of voice. Once you are familiar with the yoga of self expression, you learn to tap into your “inner” voice. This exercise builds self-confidence, openness, energy and trusting in the gift of your natural voice which results in your ability to self-express. Yoga means to connect to the Divine. During this Kali-Yuga age we currently live in, the recommended method for self-realization, purification and liberation is the chanting of the Holy Names of the Divine in His/Her various of forms. Therefore, using the voice to express divine love is one of the most important methods of getting connected yogically. The Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Catholics, Vaishnavas and so many other groups of seekers chant on beads and recite prayers for hours each day. Because they realize this is where their Yoga lies.
Sound vibration has the power to heal or harm. In the ancient Vedic literatures as well as the Bible, it is written that God created this world with sound. In the Vedas that sound was said to be OM. Each and every sound uttered is reverberated around the world through the ether SEVEN times.
If we speak of peace, we will send the energy of peace around the world. If we sing something poetic and beautiful, nature will shiver with delight! Imagine using the power of your voice to heal the environment, mend a broken heart, and soothe a lonely soul.
There are two ways to express your voice. One is parrot-like, the other is with rasa (pronounced raas), which is a Sanskrit word. The parrot voice mimics and tries to copy, but its heart may not be melting with spiritual sentiment, so the singer is not moved, nor is the Divine. The person who sings with rasa (a heart drenched with emotion, love or mood) will be affected deeply. This experience is not relevant to vocal technique, but rather the absorption into the experience, fully, uncaringly and consciously into devotion. Who hasn't had that experience of heart-felt emotions while listening to a beautiful song or melody? When someone sings with feeling instead of mimicking the words or tunes perfectly, the listener becomes emotionally involved. Remember that feeling is more important than technique. This is true for any form of yoga, prayer, artik or sadhana practice.
The sound vibration of modern civilization in today’s world is creating an overabundance of noise pollution around the world, hence we hear the term EMF (electro-magnetic frequency). It's no wonder so many people are depressed, angry and confused! What we speak, think and express affects not only ourselves, but also all of creation on some level. We can make a better choice to express healing vibration through the gifts we are given. Through the yoga of self-expression, depression turns into joy, disease into vibrant health, war to peace, pain into love, and loneliness and fear into happiness and courage. There is no end to how the yoga of self-expression could change our lives and those around us. When we allow ourselves to express more fully, we help lead others out of darkness and permit them to feel safe about expressing who they are authentically. If enough of us express ourselves more fully we would realize real change in world event, and it is all possible with rasa and intention.
To be our perfect, whole, creative, expressive self is a gift. Even if we find ourselves too busy, living a stressed-out life, which goes for many of us these days—taking time to self-express through art, music or dance, we can fully satisfy even the most estranged feelings of isolation.
• Krishna Rose, originally from UK has been singing professionally for 10 years, and teaches workshops on The Yoga of Self-Expression. She performs at yoga centers, festivals and churches hosting spiritually charged concerts all over the country with her husband / guitarist Radhaji, a yoga teacher & founder of Mystical Yoga.