Where is your body stuck?
Do you have pain or trouble moving easily because of stuck jaw, neck, shoulders, arms, hands, back, hips, legs, knees, ankles, or feet? A simple release of muscle tension might not be enough. You might also need to sweep out the crumbs of old emotions and stuck beliefs to discover what is behind your body’s creakiness.
I trained under Gene Worth, a voice coach for professional opera singers, when she was about 90 years old. She said that when something happened to you as a child, and you didn’t have the skills to resolve it, or didn’t understand it, you stuffed it into the subconscious where it stays stuck in the body. It is a like a black hole, attracting to you the same situation or relationship or pain, over and over, until you get it. It shows up in stuck patterns, habits of limited moving, as we grow up.
As adults, we have more wisdom and capacity to process emotions. We can envision solutions to the puzzles from the past, and reframe holdovers from childhood. Gene Worth taught that this is necessary, if we wish to use the body as an instrument for singing. Also, I might add, as an instrument for healing.
How often do we see our body as an instrument that must be kept in tune? We may hold beliefs that limit us, whether carried over from childhood or acquired through the bumps and furrows, bends and twists of life. If they are ignored, they contribute to postural distortions: the rounded shoulders trying to protect the heart from hurt, the tight muscles that can never relax, always on guard, the pain in the neck that keeps coming back. An instrument out of tune!
How you use your body can be explored both by a voice coach and by bodywork. Both can help you overcome habits that block the path ahead. I’m not a voice coach. I do offer gentle Ortho-Bionomy® with gentle massage for old injuries.
In a session, I hold your body in the direction it wants to go. This lets you notice how you tighten your neck and throat when you don’t speak up for yourself. Or that you clench your arm and shoulder, when you want to strike out in rage. Or that you stiffen your hip when you are digging in your heels about something. You may find that emotional patterns are a window into how you create different body ailments. You learn how to change from the inside out, so instead of a creaky body, you have new patterns of comfort and ease.
It goes the other way, too. When you let go of tight muscles and fascia, it brings emotional relief. You leave with a new picture of yourself and a window into how you can keep changing.
Self-compassion for creative power
Your body has tremendous wisdom. It is up to you to unlock it. It takes mindfulness, inspiration, body awareness and self-compassion. You hold the keys to your suffering and to the relief of your suffering. You can step over that threshold, into who you are meant to be, using the body as a teacher.
Gene Worth said if you want to use the whole body as an instrument for singing, it must be free of limitations. In a session, I notice your body’s limitations, and bring them to your conscious awareness.3 I am here to support your healing, so that your body can be free to sing its melody.
1 Stanley Keleman’s Emotional Anatomy and other books offer a great window into self-awareness from body posture. I use his work on regaining voluntary control over emotional postures.
2 Posture Training for improved self-awareness
3 See Thomas Hanna on Sensory Motor Amnesia, where we have held tension patterns so long, we forget we can move out of them: Somatics.