Let's talk about toning. Wait...hold up! We aren't talking about pilates and supple thigh muscles, although we love those too. No, toning is a form of vocal exercise used as a simple yet powerful means to healing and opening up expression. We talk to singer, composer and sound healer Eve Marie Roy about how to practice toning at home.
What is toning?
First up, fear not, for toning requires no singing skills. Instead, it is about using long drawn-out vowel sounds to experience the energy and vibration in different parts of the body
What are the benefits?
Think of it like an internal massage, which reduces stress and restores balance to the body and mind, as well as opening up the power of the throat chakra. Singing is one of the most powerful fields we have in our body. Sound is deeply connected to sexuality and our ancestors used both as tools for healing. These healing practices were shut down by the Catholic Church and Inquisition, and now we live in a time where we aren't really allowed to be sensitive and emotional. But these emotions are doorways to self-empowerment. Many of us have the feeling when sing that we aren't good enough, that our voice is not good enough. These are programs! There is no 'good enough'. To release them, you have to hear your voice, cry the tears that are trapped. That's very important. But beyond this, there is something about sound that has nothing to do with emotion. If you sit at home and work with the 5 basic vowels that underlie the universe, you fortify your energetic body which is a really healthy thing - the more you sing the stronger it gets.
Toning with vowels is a path to explore the energy centres and electromagnetic field of our systems, heightening our awareness and teaching us to 'listen' to our inner selves. The vowels themselves are much more important in toning that the pitch.
You can sit at home and tone! Before you start singing, anchor yourself with the breathe. Create a connection within yourself so you are harnessing your vital energy, and feel yourself rooted deeply to the Earth. Picture a vertical channel connected to Mother Earth and feel a sense of being breathed by it. Once we get into the breathe, invite that to rise into your body and start to breathe with the tip of the perineum. Breathe into the deepest place in your belly and feel the release and slow contraction. Practice this breathing exercise, sit and breathe until it becomes instinct. If you sing or tone from the chest, it will always be limited. You want to sing with the Kundalini serpent energy, the Fire, the Earth, with your whole body, you want to sing on 3 levels of consciousness, to connect with the darker fertility of inner earth and the tribal energy that resides there. Allow this energy to move energy up and let it move through the body and embrace all emotions that it meets.
How to work with the vowels?
Begin with the breath, work with the lower belly, allow the oxygen to release and the space there to be filled with prana. Then make an sssssss sound, calling the serpent of Inner Earth and harnessing this power; gently contract the perineal muscles and draw the energy up till there is no more oxygen and gently release perineum. Do these exercises for a while. Next, start exploring the five basic vowel sounds - Ah-Eh-Ee-Oo-Uh. Practice moving from the lower tones to the higher tones. You can work with these sounds as a form of meditation and it will change your life. When you get into your personal vibration and practice selfless toning, you create a space within your being where it's not about you and your emotions, its just about the sound ; then you go deeper into effect of every sound and vowel. Everything has a frequency and you can explore this with the voice. Just don't be shy and linear about it, allow yourself to use the whole mouth, the jaw and to move with the sound. When you find blockages, go deeper and dance with the blockage, This will teach you the way, it will teach you all of the nuisances and spectrums of your own voice.
FOR PRIVATE SOUND SESSIONS AND VOCAL TONING WORKSHOPS, contact Eve Marie Roy via her website.