Creating Conditions for Resonance

res·o·nance /rezənəns/

noun

  1. the quality in a sound of being deep, full, and reverberating.

  2. the reinforcement or prolongation of sound by reflection from a surface or by the synchronous vibration of a neighboring object.

Naaz Hosseini is a voice empowerment coach, sound shifter, and gestalt therapist. I am standing in her living room. The drawn curtains on the windows and at the room’s threshold, an oscillating space heater, and the soft decorative rug beneath my feet create a cozy, womb-like effect. Naaz faces me a few feet away. She wears a tiger orange shag sweater and black cotton pants that billow at the ends.

She invites me to sense my feet on the ground. “Do they feel wavy or solid?” she asks. I become aware of how lightly my heels touch the floor and the uneven contact across the pads of my feet. “Wavy.” I answer.

“See if you can make contact with the ground on both the pinky toe and big toe sides of your foot.”

I take a few moments to adjust my stance.

“Let the inner heel of your right foot connect with the ground.” I’m amazed that Naaz has perceived its slightly raised position. Becoming aware of my inner heel, I rest it more solidly.

“In your left foot, lower the outer part of your heel.” I do this and feel a lift in my knees and torso. GROUNDING allows my spine to expand.

“Strange to start work on the voice with your feet, isn’t it?” Naaz says, chuckling . Her piercing eyes soften and a knowing warmth spreads across her face.

Naaz then asks me to breathe naturally and to notice how far down and up the breath travels when I inhale and exhale. At first, I notice the breath traveling down to the top of my belly and rising to the bridge of my nose. With a few more inhales, I notice the breath flowing down to my core and ascending to the top of my eyelids.

Over the next several breaths, Naaz invites me to breathe and feel the flow of breath between my shoulders. I notice my chest expand and sense large, steel blue wings at my sides. On the last round of breaths, she calls my attention to breath flowing from my heart to the front and back of my body.

The process awakens a sense of expansive SPACE within me.

Naaz demonstrates a yawn and invites me to follow. As I do so, she asks me to notice the rise at the back of my mouth. Holding her right hand upright in a cupped position, she hits it lightly with her left hand.  “When you sing, you want your voice to resonate against the back of your mouth.”

She turns to the side and lifts her head up. “If your head is raised too high, you collapse the area where the voice can resonate. She turns her head downward and points out how this, too, constricts the area at the back of the mouth.

“Keep your chin level.” Naaz encourages. My head aligns with the groundedness of my feet.

Naaz then invites me through a progression of vocalizations, beginning with a hum. The hum resonates all around my chest cavity. We progress to the sounds of “ah”, “ee”, “oo”.

“It is these open sounds that resonate. The consonants are percussion.” Naaz notes.

For the next several moments, I draw in full breaths and remain aware of the spaciousness in my torso and mouth. I try to let open vowel sounds emerge as I exhale. I feel a gap between the exhale of breath and the sound of tones. It is surprising how unnatural it feels to express open sounds from a sense of spaciousness. After a few more rounds, I begin to feel a buzzing at the back of my mouth and in my cheek bones.

Naaz then invites me to continue to breathe fully and to sing-say the words, “I am here.”

“I-I-I-I-I-A-A-A-A-A-M-M-M-M-H-E.”

My breath runs out.

“I-I-I-I-I-A-A-A-A-A-M-M-M-M-H-E-E.”

“More breath.” Naaz offers.

I-I-I-I-I-A-A-A-A-A-M-M-M-M-H-E-E-E-R-R.”

After many attempts, I am able to utter the full sentence and to sense greater flow between my breath and the words. When I say the sentence the last time, I notice that both my breath and conscious embrace of this declarative statement call my WHOLE BEING into this space.

Groundedness.

Spaciousness.

Whole Being.

It takes all three to create resonance in a single voice.

What would be the impact on our conversations if we created these conditions for resonance in every voice in the room?