We come into this world with the tools we need to journey toward wholeness of body, mind, and spirit. Sound, especially self-created sound, is such a tool. It gives us access to wisdom and knowing. Our voice can heal the body and spirit, yet it weighs nothing, costs nothing, and takes up no space.
In childhood, many of us were denied our pleasure of singing because we did not measureup to specific standards, so we relinquished our true voice, our personal sounding power.
Finding my voice has been a long journey. A major step occurred in 1992 at a workshop led by Jonathan Goldman, followed by an amazing two-year commitment with Don Campbell and the School of Therapeutic
Sound and Music during which I experienced and explored many avenues of sound. The most transformational experience for me was that of toning.The term was first used in the 1960s by Laurel Elizabeth Keyes in her book Toningand she describes it as “an ancient method of healing—the idea is simply to restore people to their harmonic pattern.” Since then, using the human voice as an instrument for healing has become more known, studied, and defined. Now toning is defined as “the sustained, vibratory sounding of single tones, often vowel sounds, without the use of melody, rhythm or words. “
Bypassing language entirely, toning allows us to express our heart and soul directly, quieting the over-active left brain. The practice uses pure nonverbal sound to increase the flow of breath, balance energy
flow, release emotion, resolve past trauma and restore harmony to the body-mind system. And it facilitates deep breathing—to fully release sounds we have to expand the belly and diaphragm, thus inhaling more fresh air.
I use toning frequently because it’s easy, it adjusts to time and place, and most importantly, it releases and transforms pain and feelings without any analysis or mental dissection.
Some fundamentals: First and foremost, toning does not require any special skills,vocal ability or training, and is therefore available to all. Secondly, it is impossible to make a mistake!
To begin, simply find a comfortable position where the abdomen and diaphragm can move and expand and
your spine is straight. When you are ready, inhale through your nose feeling the expansion of your lower and upper abdomen and then your lower and upper lungs. Release your breath through your mouth while making one long sustained sound. This is tone! When you make the sound, relax your jaw and let it hang open. Working with vowel sounds is particularly effective—they truly create a resonance in the physical body that is felt.
How about beginning right now?
Start with an A as in father. Gently, as you exhale, make the sound A and repeat with each exhale several times.
Now begin to play with the pitch. With your next out breath, lower the pitch. Do this several times. Then make the pitch higher, again using the A sound to receive the full effect.
Your only intention is to pay attention to what is happening in your body and around you.
Now find the most comfortable pitch/tone and repeat the A for several more exhales, experiencing the sound of your own voice. When you are done, be still and pay attention to the silence. Notice what you are experiencing within and without.
There! You have toned! If you feel inhibited by making strange sounds, you’re not alone. One way to overcome this is to start humming and feel the vibration.
We live in a universe of sound; at the core of our physical existence we are composed of sound. Every cell, organ, and body system responds as a group to sound vibration. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we had the proper hearing apparatus? We might even be able to hear our own harmony and disharmony. The ancients knew this, and the scientific community is now using the technology to validate this premise.