Have you ever experienced loss of breath or voice when asked to stand up and speak? Is your breathing shallow or does your voice quiver? Do you clear your throat in an attempt to turn on the voice? Speakers of all skill level experience common symptoms that can affect the quality of their speech delivery. Unfortunately there is no App for that, but there is a practice even the most seasoned public speakers can use to speak with a healthy and confident voice- Vocal Yoga
Vocal Yoga unites sound vocalizations with Hatha Yoga postures to ground the voice. Speakers learn to tap into the proprioceptive awareness, the sensation of relative position, of voicing within their bodies.
Several clients who I coached last year prompted my journey to expand my speech voice coaching practice on a deeper level. These talented individuals occupied high level positions where public speaking was a routine occurrence. Although they performed well enough in their public speaking roles, they felt exhausted or ineffective after the fact. The concept developed by Amy Cuddy, social psychologist and TEDTalk speaker, “Fake it ‘til you become it” was not working for these clients. Toastmasters, which is one of my go-to suggestions for those who want to improve their public speaking confidence, was not a viable recommendation either. These individuals had plenty opportunity for repeated exposure to public vocal performance, yet they were still affected by self doubt. They hadn’t yet become it.
Feel It So You Can Deal With It
If you have read my Bio, you may have a sense of my coaching philosophy: I am a practitioner who is dedicated to using science based knowledge and strategies to improve oral communication skills. The patented Heather Lyle Vocal Yoga Method seemed to be the ideal next step in my own professional development. Summarized from Lyle’s book Vocal Yoga (2014), Vocal Yoga combines Voicework exercises with techniques from variety of yoga and breathing practices to release muscle tension built up from the fight and flight response to public speaking. Once the feeling of vocal “union” is achieved, you have the ability to manage the symptoms of the stress response (and use the fuel to your advantage) in any vocal performance. Try these Vocal Yoga Exercises to calibrate the most important tool for public speaking: your voice!