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Unchain Your Melody

You can add vocalization to almost any pose to develop your sound and calm your emotions

By Karin Beuerlein

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You can add vocalization to almost any pose to develop your sound and calm your emotions, says Suzanne Sterling, a yoga teacher and kirtan leader. Using traditional Sanskrit seed sounds like "om" and "ah," find a comfortable pitch and sing gently on the exhalation as you move through your daily practice. Most beneficial to the voice are poses that release upper-body tension, relax and open the throat, and promote alignment. Here are a few to try:

Simhasana (Lion Pose) is a great way to revitalize and relax all the muscles involved in vocal production. If you vocalize as part of this pose (the lion's "roar"), keep it gentle and move completely through your vocal range, high to low. Don't force the sound.

For passively relaxing the throat, seek out poses that tilt the chin toward the chest. "Shoulderstand is a great pose for the throat," says Ann Dyer, a nada yoga teacher and vocalist based in Oakland, California. If you can't do Shoulderstand, try Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose).

For actively opening the throat, you want gentle bends that tilt the head back. Dyer recommends Matsyasana (Fish Pose) and Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose).

Karin Beuerlein is a writer in Knoxville, Tennessee.

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