Embracing Freedom: Yoga for Singers

Embracing Freedom: Yoga for Singers

Developing a new method of movement for classical singers. 

Mariana Masetto
Buenos Aires, Argentina

Embracing Freedom: Yoga for Singers

Developing a new method of movement for classical singers. 

In every physical action we take in our music making, whether singing or playing a musical instrument, being aware of our posture will lead us to be in a state of harmony within ourselves - to be in a function I call unity. If we consider the meaning of harmony (which is not only used in music), it makes us ponder the balance of proportions between the different parts of a whole, the result of which will always be beauty.

In music, harmony is the discipline which studies the perception of sound in a vertical or simultaneous way, in the form of chords, and the way it relates to its surroundings. Regarding the physical body, there is no doubt that musical chords are comparable to a harmonious muscular posture. If we are conscious about how to move muscles, creating more supple and relaxed movements, we will find that we are being casually harmonious. My new method Our voice has body is a coming together of music and yoga, which I have been developing through my own experience while trying to maximise the potential of the art of singing. 

During my yoga practices, I used to feel the desire to break into song. And while taking singing lessons sitting next to my teachers’ pianos, I used to get this urge to move and activate my body. That is how my need to unite both of my passions - singing and yoga - was born. First I started practising yoga in my rehearsal space next to the piano, playing some chords and vocalising while doing a pose. Then I recorded some successive chords over which I would attempt different poses according to my daily needs - for instance, whether I had to perform in a concert or a rehearsal, or I was experiencing pain or my menstrual period. These practices brought about such enthusiasm in me that I quickly started to implement them in the singing and percussion classes I was giving. 

This became the beginnings of my teaching method where, at the beginning of any class, I asked my students to vocalise while they did different yoga poses. During the second part of the class, we worked on the voice specifically, playing with rhythms and movements as we sang.

In developing this method, I have been able to integrate singing with yoga and, at the same time, with rhythm. It is very important to clarify that the practice of working through the poses as you sing is not a mere physical-muscular phenomenon aimed at benefitting the vocal apparatus, but rather a means by which to achieve concentration during processes as subtle as generating music with our own bodies: singing. When we work with the body, through the body, and for the body, we may transcend physical consciousness and reach higher states of thinking. The mind becomes calmer and one can approach being more serene and concentrated. 

Read more about Mariana or purchase her book here