fbpx
Can we talk about your breath? ūüƨ

Can we talk about your breath? ūüƨ

Can we talk about your breath? ūüƨ

W R I T T E N  B Y  Allison Mondel

When I say the word “breath,” what is your first thought?

For many, this whisks us away into the Badlands of Something I Should Be Better At. ūüė¨

When I was 14 and began “formally studying” voice, I learned all the things you are supposed to learn when you take voice lessons.

The first two things you are taught when you Study Voice:
1ÔłŹ‚É£ How to Stand.
2ÔłŹ‚É£ How to Breathe.

I was imprinted with the understanding that Standing and Breathing were actions, something I was supposed to Do in order to exact excellence in my singing. ūüďĚ

Because alignment and breath are indeed truly vital to the successful outcomes we desire for our sound.

What were you taught about your breath? Does that make you feel 100% secure and confident in how it supports your voice? Is there any mental or physical tension in the way you breathe? What do you wish for your breath? Have you ever thought about it?

Sometimes I have a real love-hate relationship with singing technique. I was taught that you¬†manipulate your breath in order to breathe well, and to support your loveliest sound and lengthiest phrases. ūü™ď

But lemme tell you, that gave me nothing but bad breath. ūüėģ‚Äćūüí®

By manipulating my breathing system, or really by vacuuming my air into some internal existential scuba tank, my breath support became more unwieldy and unreliable as I got older.

More tension crept into my entire singing system until I didn’t trust one breath to go my way. And add to that the actual stress of my life, and the acute physical and emotional remnants of a traumatic c-section, well… things got a little *rocky* in the breath department. ūüĎé

Interestingly, the catalyst that initiated the wild healing process of my body and spirit was discovering my breath. But not exactly according to my education and experience in the voice studio…

I discovered how stretchy and flexible your breath can be… how your breath is a brilliant mechanism that responds intimately to your state of being (and state of mind)… how your entire sound-making mechanism responds to the cascading effects of the air intake in a brilliant, synchronized dance of life… how nice, I mean, close to blissful, that it can be…

Or NOT. ūüėę

But let’s get back to singing for a sec. Let’s rejigger this breathing concept. Because here’s the takeaway for you…

Breath is not something you manipulate. As in,¬†“take a breath.”

Breath is something that you allow. Such as, “receive your breath.”

The more you let in, the higher quality your air. And the higher quality your air, the more improved your breath support will be, both for singing, and for life. ūüíĚ

So take a moment right now, become still and centered. Your breath will slow and an exhale will be initiated. As you await your inhale, be willing to let yourself receive the precious gift of life-giving breath. 

That is the fuel of your voice. 

Love,

Allison

 

 

 

About Allison Mondel
Transformational Voice Coach, Singer, Teaching Artist, Director, Mentor, Speaker

I am a visionary artist, educator, and voice coach whose work stands at the intersection of vocal wellness, spiritual wisdom, and personal empowerment. With 25+ years of professional experience as a performer, teacher, and mentor, I empower others to access their innate vocal gifts through a holistic process, and ascend into their personal greatness. I have helped hundreds of students access their voice and step beyond their doubts into joyful, courageous, and purposeful self-expression. 

You may be interested in…
The unnatural nature of Resistance.
The unnatural nature of Resistance.

W R I T T E N  B Y  Allison Mondel I know it may not seem that way, but we are constantly in effortless motion.Every day we are spinning around the Earth's axis at about 1,000 mph.The Earth is currently hurtling around the Sun at 67,000 mph.The Sun and Solar System...

read more
How to define your voice.
How to define your voice.

W R I T T E N  B Y  Allison Mondel Think back to the last time you were about to start singing something. What was the first thought that came to your mind?I hope this comes out ok.Don't do it wrong.What will they think of my voice?Is there enough ________?Am I doing...

read more
A solution to transcend worry.
A solution to transcend worry.

W R I T T E N  B Y  Allison Mondel I'm sitting in a room full of unopened packing boxes in my new home.It's been a time of rapid upheaval and change in my family's life. My back aches from lifting and my mind is cluttered (just like my new dining room).Yesterday I...

read more
How do you (actually) use your sacred voice?

How do you (actually) use your sacred voice?

How do you (actually) use your sacred voice?

W R I T T E N  B Y  Allison Mondel

The purpose of the voice is to communicate. The purpose of the sacred voice is to send love into the world.¬†That’s right… love.

You inhabit an instrument of love.

To activate and use our voice in this love-centered way is a process that I learn about every day, making mental notes on a process that is anything but mental. 

The process in which you use your voice, that is, how you make sound, can be analyzed and documented to the kilohertz, and manipulated to create whatever results you desire for your sound. 

But that’s not why I am here, and I am pretty sure that is not why you are here?

You want to find a way to express the gorgeous loveliness that is the content of your being through your voice, unhindered and unbound from physical and mental tension begot by fear, overwhelm, and lack of clarity.

How?

Well, according to my mental notes, and documented experience, and referencing every singer I have ever worked with in this new paradigm, it is actually pretty simple. 

Here’s the gist…

First, a definition:

The sacred voice is your Self activated by breath and intention and manifested into sound. It is commonly obscured over time by our experiences of rejection, shame, and unworthiness around our voice, singing, and creativity in general (but in other ways, too).

The sacred voice is an aspect of your being, part of your humanness, if you will. It will never leave or betray you, but rather lie in wait for when you are ready.

There is a three-fold process in which to activate and access the sacred voice. I call this the Sacred Voice Framework, borne of a vision and rendered into three simple concepts. Here it is:

Pillar One: Heartcenteredness

The heart center is the source of our sacred voice. It is the nexus from which we connect all aspects of our being (body, mind, spirit, emotions, energy), as well as our connection with Source and all other beings.

Pillar Two: Flow State

As we use our voice and activate sound vibration, we sustain the flow of breath energy at all times. This is achieved by sustaining our awareness of our breath (which is easily interrupted by the mind). Being in the Flow State sustains presence in the moment.

Pillar Three: Intentionality

We create¬†our experience of our singing by using our intention. This means that we craft a desired outcome for whatever aim we choose, and allow our voice to follow,¬†trusting our body’s sound mechanism¬†in its inherent wisdom and functionality.

Here is how to start:

To intentionally use your sacred voice is as simple as using your intention:¬†“I call forth my sacred voice.”

Next, use your intention to:

1) Bring awareness to your heart space, resting your mind and easing your ego (even if that seems as remote as the Himalayas!). When you drift away, you return to this centered awareness, over and over again.

2) Become aware of your breath moving through you, now activated in your physical body, and make this your focus.

3)¬†Direct your intention to what you choose to create next, in that moment. This is where things get creative and interesting. Intention could range from “I am going to make one sound and see if I don’t completely shrivel up” to “I will sustain my breath energy over the top note of this phrase until I take my next inhale.” Or anything under the sun, really.

Now the trickiest bit…

You have to trust that this process is unfolding.

You have to trust that you are co-creating your voice, rather than making or forcing your voice do something for you, and then blame it for not meeting the mark, malfunctioning, or abandoning you. 

This framework is a way to re-envision how you use your voice. It promotes the notion that you are a precious, divine being capable of enriching the world with love in the complex form of sound energy without exception.

It is one of the most sacred acts you can offer: to bring forth love through your voice. 

Try it out sometime?

Hugs,

allison

IMAGE: Photo by Jeffrey Hamilton on Unsplash

further reading

How to define your voice.
How to define your voice.

W R I T T E N  B Y  Allison Mondel Think back to the last time you were about to start singing something. What was the first thought that came to your mind?I hope this comes out ok.Don't do it wrong.What will they think of my voice?Is there enough ________?Am I doing...

read more
A solution to transcend worry.
A solution to transcend worry.

W R I T T E N  B Y  Allison Mondel I'm sitting in a room full of unopened packing boxes in my new home.It's been a time of rapid upheaval and change in my family's life. My back aches from lifting and my mind is cluttered (just like my new dining room).Yesterday I...

read more
What is your *real* voice lesson?
What is your *real* voice lesson?

W R I T T E N  B Y  Allison Mondel Sometimes I joke that everything I have learned about life I learned from singing. But it's so true! It has been quite the journey, though. Sometimes it was pretty tricky, sticky, and ugly. But then also wildly illuminating,...

read more

trust is a four-letter word

trust is a four-letter word

trust is a four-letter word

W R I T T E N  B Y  Allison Mondel

[dssb_sharing_buttons columns=”5″ btn_padding=”0px||||false|false” _builder_version=”4.9.2″ _module_preset=”default” share_font=”Alata||||||||” share_text_align=”left” width=”90%” max_width=”100%” module_alignment=”left” custom_margin=”0px||||false|false” border_color_all_icon=”#333333″][dssb_sharing_button share_text=”Share” use_custom_icon_size=”on” icon_font_size=”-1px” _builder_version=”4.7.4″ _module_preset=”default” share_letter_spacing=”0px” border_radii_icon=”on||||” border_color_all_icon=”#333333″][/dssb_sharing_button][dssb_sharing_button social_network=”twitter” share_text=”Share” _builder_version=”4.7.4″ _module_preset=”default”][/dssb_sharing_button][dssb_sharing_button social_network=”pinterest” share_text=”Pin” _builder_version=”4.7.4″ _module_preset=”default”][/dssb_sharing_button][dssb_sharing_button social_network=”linkedin” share_text=”Share” _builder_version=”4.7.4″ _module_preset=”default”][/dssb_sharing_button][dssb_sharing_button social_network=”email” share_text=”Email” _builder_version=”4.7.4″ _module_preset=”default”][/dssb_sharing_button][/dssb_sharing_buttons]

If I had a nickel for every time I hesitated before I sang, I would be a gajillionaire.

And sheesh, I even know why I do this, and I STILL do this! I am, truly, working on it. And I trust that I am meant to harvest the lessons from this innate hesitation. A balk, a questioning, a wait-a-second, a moment of…¬† mistrust.

Will it come out ok? Will it be what I want? Will it be right? Will it be wrong? 

I know that the mind is playing with me. I know that my body is responding to these moments with WAIT! I’M NOT SURE! I even know the solution, for goodness sake. But it’s still a challenge.¬†

How do we cultivate trust in our voice? How can we be sure that what is about to come out is what we both desire and expect? 

This is, I believe, one of the most challenging aspects of our singing. This, Dear One, is what we call a soft skill. It is not technical. It is mindful. I call it: Intentionality. It is the third and final pillar of the Sacred Voice framework, as I perceive it. 

Trust is cultivated when we set up conditions within ourselves to succeed. Not flail and flounder and fear and feel out of control. But to feel great, to sing great, to feel free of those hand-waving thoughts that are constantly questioning what is coming out of your mouth. 

For example, you might be a high soprano, singing some song and you come up to a high note and think, “oh no! this is too high, I can’t sing that” or “oh dear, i’m not sure this is going to work out” or “this is going to be awesome!”¬†

Guess what? Your obedient mind will take the cue and deliver you exactly what you prescribe. So my prescription for you and for me is: get clear about what you desire for your successful outcome. Do you want to have a fearful experience? Or a confident experience?

Unfortunately, we are so conditioned to expect negative outcomes that it feels like quite a leap to expect desired outcomes. 

I have been conditioned to expect that my voice is untrustworthy. I know why, and you can certainly read about it in this blog. But now I am partaking in the unfolding process of re-building my trust. It is rather uphill, if you care to know about it. I am confronted everyday with my own mind, and calling it out, and then re-wiring my brain to do something different than the same bloody thing it is used to. 

But there is hope. Because the more deeply I trust myself, I draw closer to the sacred within me. My Sacred Voice is no longer just a theoretical/metaphysical construct, but a force and entity within me that is deep and wide and infinitely capable. My re-building trust goes hand in hand with… surrender to my Sacred Voice.

I must surrender my ego and my control and my fear to this beautiful, graceful, gentle presence within me, guiding me and my voice, like a hand at my back, whispering “let go… just let go.”

I am learning to step back. I am learning that by stepping back from control I gain trust. It is, frankly, frustrating. I also see this tendency played out in every aspect of my life, so there is a great deal of complexity and patterning that I am learning to unravel and re-wire in many areas. 

Yet what is unfolding is completely marvelous. It is a bit slower than what I would choose, but it unfolds apace.

I am learning that my success depends upon two things:

1) letting go of control in order to build trust,  and

2) define my successful outcome.

This comes from one who has known the opposite: lack of trust, over-control, unpredictable and flimsy results.

Well, I’m over it. Starting… now.¬†

Intentionality follows Heartcenteredness and Flow State in the framework that I have built for singing with your Sacred Voice.

I now create an intention for singing with… trust.

Hugs,

allison

welcome to
The Studio!

I’m Allison Mondel, Transformational Voice Coach and big-hearted seeker on a mission to help others discover their innate, brilliant Sacred Voice, and transform their singing and their lives.

further reading

The unnatural nature of Resistance.
The unnatural nature of Resistance.

W R I T T E N  B Y  Allison Mondel I know it may not seem that way, but we are constantly in effortless motion.Every day we are spinning around the Earth's axis at about 1,000 mph.The Earth is currently hurtling around the Sun at 67,000 mph.The Sun and Solar System...

read more
How to define your voice.
How to define your voice.

W R I T T E N  B Y  Allison Mondel Think back to the last time you were about to start singing something. What was the first thought that came to your mind?I hope this comes out ok.Don't do it wrong.What will they think of my voice?Is there enough ________?Am I doing...

read more
A solution to transcend worry.
A solution to transcend worry.

W R I T T E N  B Y  Allison Mondel I'm sitting in a room full of unopened packing boxes in my new home.It's been a time of rapid upheaval and change in my family's life. My back aches from lifting and my mind is cluttered (just like my new dining room).Yesterday I...

read more

Sacred Voice Pillar One: Heartcenteredness

Sacred Voice Pillar One: Heartcenteredness

W R I T T E N  B Y  Allison Mondel

[dssb_sharing_buttons columns=”5″ btn_padding=”0px||||false|false” _builder_version=”4.9.2″ _module_preset=”default” share_font=”Alata||||||||” share_text_align=”left” width=”90%” max_width=”100%” module_alignment=”left” custom_margin=”0px||||false|false” border_color_all_icon=”#333333″][dssb_sharing_button share_text=”Share” use_custom_icon_size=”on” icon_font_size=”-1px” _builder_version=”4.7.4″ _module_preset=”default” share_letter_spacing=”0px” border_radii_icon=”on||||” border_color_all_icon=”#333333″][/dssb_sharing_button][dssb_sharing_button social_network=”twitter” share_text=”Share” _builder_version=”4.7.4″ _module_preset=”default”][/dssb_sharing_button][dssb_sharing_button social_network=”pinterest” share_text=”Pin” _builder_version=”4.7.4″ _module_preset=”default”][/dssb_sharing_button][dssb_sharing_button social_network=”linkedin” share_text=”Share” _builder_version=”4.7.4″ _module_preset=”default”][/dssb_sharing_button][dssb_sharing_button social_network=”email” share_text=”Email” _builder_version=”4.7.4″ _module_preset=”default”][/dssb_sharing_button][/dssb_sharing_buttons]

About a year ago, I experienced a vision. I was half asleep, it came in the wee hours of the morning, and it was one of the most impactful moments I have ever had.

I looked out from my own eyes, and I saw a matrix of lines. It was a vast, infinite grid of endless x-, y-, and z-axes and a glowing reddish light at each intersecting point. Quickly the matrix starting falling away, disintegrated towards me until there was only one point left. I knew that this last point was me. And that this was at the center of my heart. I understood in that moment that this was a Showing of sorts, revealing two important truths:

1) the points of the matrix were all of us, all of humanity, each personality interconnected with the other. And the falling away of the individual morphs into a coalescing of the collective. All are one.

2) that each point, each soul, was represented at the *heart*, the center of our being.

This was my awakening. 

If we desire to connect and source our voice from the essence of our being, we begin at the heart center.

That seems incredibly abstract in one respect, and utterly simple in another. And this is not exactly news. Is it not a practice that has been embodied by various religious and spiritual institutions for thousands of years? It is a potent and meaningful concept, but for me it had a deeper and more personal impact following this important vision, especially around my voice.

I want my singing to be sacred at all times.
I access the divine through my heart.
The heart is the seat of my Sacred Voice.
I commit to using my Sacred Voice at all times.

Since then, I have been examining and pondering and practicing a framework for the Sacred Voice. Its first tenant: Heartcenteredness. When I began to integrate this practice, EVERYTHING CHANGED. In my singing, in my teaching, and absolutely in my life.

And lemme tell you, it was wobbly and strange and I resisted like crazy. My mind was constantly battling me: Allison, this is ridiculous, get back to work, people will think you are crazy, you ARE crazy!, you are off track, you are wrong, this goes against all of your programming, etc.

But I knew I had come to understand¬†the most¬†important¬†aspect of my voice. The heart is the¬†point of intersection for all aspects of my self, and the interface where I connect not only with all other beings, but also with the Divine. So I starting walking the walk…

And then, all of a sudden, everything I sang was *easy*. The struggle was GONE. There was a new kind of flow, peacefulness, and joy in my practice.

This is the core pillar of Sacred Voice Studios: Heartcenteredness.

I have committed myself to this practice. I am practicing in my singing, in my speaking, and in my living. The only resistance I encounter is my preoccupation with results and evaluation and external expectations (thank you, classical conservatory education!). But even these things dissolve more and more every day as I retain the practice of heartcenteredness.

You can practice Heartcenteredness at any time. It will never cost you a thing. It is (as they say) quite simple, but not easy. But try it, and watch yourself shine.

Hugs,

allison

welcome to
The Studio!

I’m Allison Mondel, Transformational Voice Coach and big-hearted seeker on a mission to help others discover their innate, brilliant Sacred Voice, and transform their singing and their lives.

further reading

The unnatural nature of Resistance.
The unnatural nature of Resistance.

W R I T T E N  B Y  Allison Mondel I know it may not seem that way, but we are constantly in effortless motion.Every day we are spinning around the Earth's axis at about 1,000 mph.The Earth is currently hurtling around the Sun at 67,000 mph.The Sun and Solar System...

read more
You already have everything you require.
You already have everything you require.

W R I T T E N  B Y  Allison Mondel If there is one thing I could teach you about the voice and singing, it is this: You already have everything you need. You can continue to acquire skills and knowledge, better coordination, musical experience, expanded range and...

read more
The wisdom of Rest
The wisdom of Rest

W R I T T E N  B Y  Allison Mondel I am taking some time away up on the coast of Maine with my family for two weeks.(Two weeks. It seems like two years!)It's such a vital reflection point, taking the space and time to remove yourself from the regular comings and...

read more