30-Minute Mind/Body/Voice Warm-Up

IMG_1741

Hi Friends,

Here is a guided warm up that explores mindfulness, releasing physical tensions and connecting to your breath and voice. 

This warm up came out of our 3 last episodes, where we’ve been talking about what mindfulness, breathing and extraneous physical tensions have to do with  the voice. Those episodes were the what and why, and this warm up explores the how: how can a practice that includes mindfulness, letting go of extraneous physical tension, and connecting to your breath help your voice feel more powerful and connected? 

We don’t do a lot of resonance, range or articulation work in this warm up, as it’s more about initial vocal connection from a mindful place of ease, so if you’re wanting more of that post-warm up, feel free to continue on from where we leave off, because the warm up here will set you up nicely for that work. If you’re lost as to what to do, check out some of our other warm ups.  “Good Vibrations” is great for resonance. “Sustained Articulation Power Up” is great for articulation. But there are many more as well, so have a look and see what sounds good.

For this warm up, wear some comfy clothing and have a space on the floor you can lie down (and a mat if you like). Give yourself some privacy so you can make sound confidently. 

The exercises in this warm up are inspired by Organic Intelligence® and Fitzmaurice Voicework®. 

Let us know how it goes!

Take good care,

Christine & Lindsay

 

Let’s get Physical(ly released)

physical tensions post
Picture from http://www.onhealth.com

Hi Friends,

How does excess physical tension in the body impact the voice?

Or, in other words:

What’s the relationship between the tension you have going on in your body and the sound of your voice?

Your voice gets made in your body, thanks to your breath. How you’re using your body impacts how easily you’re breathing, which impacts how easily you’re speaking.

Having some tension in the body is necessary for you to be upright and moving around in the world, but we’re talking about excess tension— tension you don’t need and that’s just making your life and your job (whatever it is in the moment at hand) harder than it needs to be. If you’ve got excess tension anywhere in the body, it’s going to impact how you’re breathing, as well as how you sound. A tense body= a tense sounding voice. This is why we can tell someone is tense just by listening to them!

In this episode, We explore:

  • a tensing vs. releasing body scan to explore the relationship between tension and breathing
  • exercises to explore extreme tension in the body and how it affects the way you sound
  • exercises to explore low-level tension in the body and how it affects the way you sound

The good news is: there are a lot of exercises you can do to relieve excess tension in your body— even starting with mindfulness exercises that make you feel more relaxed (remember that connection between mindfulness and voicing we talked about a few episode back?). AND— these exercises feel good! So you’ll want to do them often.  There are many warm ups on this website (and in podcast form by searching for ‘BeSpoke Speaks’) that help you relieve excess tensions, so start by culling through old episodes. We will also be creating more!

You can also find this episode in downloadable podcast form by searching for ‘BeSpoke Speaks’ on iTunes, Spotify, GooglePodcasts, Buzzsprout or Stitcher.

Happy voicing!

Christine & Lindsay

ps. If you’re curious about a more thorough anatomical explanation of how the voice works, listen to our ‘Breath Support Part 1’ and ‘Breath Support Part 2′ episodes.

 

Mind your Voice: The link between Mindfulness and Voice Coaching

IMG_0919

Hey Friends,

This episode addresses the question: What is the link between voice coaching and mindfulness? Have you ever heard of that word– mindfulness? We bet you have— mindfulness is pretty hot right now, and has been for awhile. Mindfulness, boiled down to its essence, is being in the here and now. There are many strategies and practices for becoming more mindful, and they are all grouped into this movement called “Mindfulness”. So why would that be relevant at all in voice and communication coaching?

Themes that come up in the episode are:

  • the link between typical issues we work on with clients and mindfulness.
  • the effect mindfulness has on the body, breath and voice
  • a chance to practice a mindfulness exercise and notice how it affects you
  • how much easier working on body language, breathing and vocal communication are when you start from a place of mindfulness

We’re so used to thinking about the mind as something separate from the rest of the body, but as research is showing more and more, there is no mind-body split. We are one organism. This is why we at BeSpoke Communication believe in a holistic approach to communication training that includes mind/body/breath/voice. Because if you are feeling more present and at ease, what a great place to communicate from! You can find tons of warm ups and practices on this website that include mindfulness and you can also contact us if you’d like more personal training.

You can also find this episode in podcast form by searching for ‘BeSpoke Speaks’ on iTunes, Spotify, Buzzsprout, GooglePodcasts and Stitcher.

We’d love to answer more questions about this if you have them. And we’d love to hear how you find mindfulness to be helpful generally and also in your communication, or if it’s something you struggle with, tell us why and maybe we can create some content that helps address those struggles.

Take good care,

Christine & Lindsay

 

What’s Breathing got to do with it?

118104.f56.f0ff1S7ay1Cm2MjUAAA-650x650-b-p
photo from http://www.designbyhumans.com

Hey friends,

This episode is dedicated to answering the question: Why do we talk about breathing in voice coaching?

This question came up with a private client who came to Christine to work on strengthening his voice, because he often feels sore after a day of talking at work.

The short answer? The breath is the power source for the voice. Without breath, there is no voice.

This episode looks at:

  • the relationship between breathing and speaking
  • the difference between breathing normally just to survive vs. breathing to speak
  • how the way you’re breathing for survival can have an impact on the way you breathe to speak— either empowering or disempowering your voice
  • an exercise to help you feel the relationship between breathing normally and breathing to speak

There’s no reason that your throat needs to get sore from speaking. It’s possible, as long as you’re not speaking for prolonged periods of time in loud environments, to speak all day long without hurting yourself. If you are feeling sore a lot from talking, it likely has something to do with the way you’re breathing. This is where voice training can be helpful! Check out the resources available through this website and podcast and also don’t hesitate to contact us if you’d like some more personal voice coaching.

You can also find this episode in podcast form by searching for ‘BeSpoke Speaks’ on iTunes, Spotify, Buzzsprout, GooglePodcasts or Stitcher.

Take good care,

Christine & Lindsay

 

‘Cause we are living in a virtual world: Virtual Communication Presence

IMG_1424

Hey Friends,

Are you finding yourself on Zoom a lot lately? 

We are living through some interesting times. For the last few weeks, a third of the world’s population has been on lockdown as the world battles the Covid-19 Pandemic. For many of us, this has meant completely changing the way we regularly communicate both professionally and personally, because we can’t socialize with people outside of our homes. So we’re having to bridge the gap by communicating virtually— through platforms like Zoom, or Microsoft Teams, or Skype or FaceTime—- platforms where we can still see each other and in some cases even meet in groups. 

All of this virtual communication brings up some interesting new communication challenges:

  • Physical Tension: because we are moving a lot less potentially in life but definitely when we are spending our days sitting and communicating on screens, you might be noticing more physical tension in your body as you communicate. 
  • Restricted Breathing: This physical tension or destabilization might be restricting your breathing, making it harder to feel at ease and to speak from a supported, empowered place. 
  • Pushing Vocally: Because we’re not getting the same kind of verbal/physical cues from our audiences that are letting us know we are being clear or that they are on the same page, we might feel the need to overcompensate by pushing physically and vocally 

This episode looks at some of these challenges and gives you some tips for how to handle them. The big takeaway is— don’t let communicating to a screen lull you into a false sense of security or divorce you further from your body as you communicate. Your body language, breathing and voice are even more important to pay attention to now than ever. It’s all about adjusting your awareness of how you’re communicating physically and vocally to this new medium. Warming up your body and your voice regularly is crucial, especially if you’re spending the majority of the rest of your day sitting down. We have a lot of warm ups on our website and podcast that you can look into to help you. 

Tips covered in this episode will help you think about:

— your body language and being physically grounded, at ease and ready to communicate

— breathing deeply and easily 

— supporting your voice 

— structuring your content to help you build a stronger relationship with your audience

We are not sure at this point how much longer social distancing is going to go on, but the cues we’re getting so far suggest that we could be communicating virtually for awhile yet. So as you navigate this new medium, we’d love to hear from you about the challenges you’re facing and how this episode is helping you or raising new questions. 

Take good care, stay safe and healthy! 

Christine & Lindsay

 

Man Up! How does trying to sound masculine affect your voice?

toxic-masculinity-1024x768
photo from http://www.pinknews.co.uk 

Hey Friends,

In this episode, we explore deeper sociological issues around masculinity, and how trying to sound masculine might be impacting and even impeding your vocal expression.

The pressures men face to have a deep, masculine-sounding voice are real, and often, our male clients, to get what they think is that sound, end up pressing their voices down in a way that makes their voices sound monotone, mumbly and trapped.

This is a pressure that faces both men and women because a deeper, more ‘masculine’ sound is also associated with more gravitas and authority, so women also try to emulate this sound, and often in the same way, by pressing their voices down.

The issue with this pressing down strategy is it lowers your voice pitch potentially beyond where your voice wants to sit naturally, so you’re having to suppress not just your voice but maybe also your feelings so that your voice doesn’t move.

There is nothing wrong with wanting a more masculine sound in your voice, but there are healthier ways to find it.

Themes that come up are:
1. the difference between a lower pitch and a deeper resonance, and how to find both vocally
2. Exploring the idea that maybe there are ways to be a man in a more empowered way? That involves putting yourself out there more vocally, being more honest about who you are, and in doing so letting more of your body resonate, so you can find that deeper resonance?
3. Can this be true for women too who are wanting to access their deeper sound?
4. Simple exercises you can do to feel the difference between pitch and resonance

If you’re interested in a warm up that particularly addresses this issue, you can find one here.

The above warm up and this episode are also in podcast form– you can find them by searching for ‘BeSpoke Speaks’ on iTunes, Buzzsprout, Spotify, GooglePodcasts and Stitcher.

This masculinity issue can come up in a variety of performance and public speaking contexts, as well as personal communication contexts. We’re especially curious to hear from the men listening what questions this sparks for you and how this issue affects you.

Take good care,

Christine & Lindsay

 

The Importance of Rituals

IMG_1363

Hey Friends,

In this episode, we discuss the importance of creating regular rituals for yourself that help you feel more at ease generally, so that you can be more at ease in and ready for important communication events, like meetings, presentations, auditions, performances, etc. Rituals, whether physical, vocal, mental or some combination of all three, can help you start a communication event mindfully, because they allow you to take ownership over your own presence and how you are feeling before you start. These rituals can be something that are regular or something you do right before you communicate. They can last as long as they need to for you and that can change depending on the day and the circumstance.

We’ll talk you through:

– strategies for creating rituals
– ideas for a 1-hour ritual that includes a physical, vocal and mental component
– ideas for a 20-minute ritual that includes a physical, vocal and mental component
– ideas for a 5-minute ritual that includes a physical, vocal and mental component

We’ll also discuss how to maintain the benefits of the ritual as you move through your day.

When you are more at ease, you are a better communicator. Whatever ritual you develop, let it be one that helps you find more ease. Do show up for your ritual often to get the full benefits of it, but don’t get discouraged or give up if sometimes you don’t show up– it’s about finding that balance where you show up regularly, but also where the ritual is there to serve you– you are not there to serve the ritual.

You can also find this episode in podcast form on iTunes, Spotify, Buzzsprout, GooglePodcasts and Stitcher.

We’d love to hear from you about how you’re going to take this advice forward, or what rituals you already have in place that you love. What rituals do you want to develop? How can we help?

Take good care,

Christine & Lindsay

 

Staying Present in Unprecedented Times: Part 3

IMG_1258
Signs of Life 

Hi Friends,

This episode is Part 3 of our 3-part series, ‘Staying Present in Unprecedented Times,’ designed to support you through this crazy new world of isolation and uncertainty as we navigate the health crisis that is Covid-19. In Part 1, we took you through a mindfulness practice called Orientation to help you connect to the present moment through your senses. In Part 2, we combined Orientation with a body scan to help you feel more embodied as you orient to the present moment.

In this episode, we dive deeper into both Orientation and the body scan practice so that you can connect on a physical level towards what is enjoyable about the present moment. This practice helps you not only come into the here and now in an embodied way, but strategically focus your perception on what you’re enjoying about the here and now– an invaluable skill in any time in life, but particularly right now, when you might be dealing with an unusual level of uncertainty, discomfort and anxiety. Orienting towards what’s pleasant can help you communicate more from a place of connection, ease and even enjoyment, rather than anxiety, panic or stress.

This practice is inspired by Organic Intelligence(r), which you can find out more about here, and Fitzmaurice Voicework(r), which you can find out more about here.

You can also find this episode in podcast form by searching for ‘BeSpoke Speaks’ on iTunes, BuzzSprout, Spotify, GooglePodcasts and Stitcher.

Please let us know how you get on with this practice, what questions it brings up for you, and what other kind of support you would like as we navigate these current times. Please also share this episode with anyone you think could use the support.

Take good care,

Christine & Lindsay

 

 

Staying Present in Unprecedented Times: Part 2

IMG_1175
An easy way to feel more embodied is to connect to where you feel your feet, or even the the support of the floor underneath your feet.

Hi Friends,

This is part 2 of our 3 part series, ‘Staying Present in Unprecedented Times’, designed to support you through this crazy new world of isolation and uncertainty as we navigate the health crisis that is Covid-19. In Part 1, we took you through a mindfulness practice called Orientation to help you connect to the present moment through your senses.

In this episode, we will practice orientation again, and then move into an oriented body scan so you can start to feel more connected to your body in the present moment, then we end with orientation from a more embodied place. This practice is useful if you find that your thoughts and feelings are consistently spiraling towards worries and anxieties that are not currently happening in the present moment, or if your awareness of the present moment is trending towards the negative. This sequence will help you find more ease in the present moment by helping you connect to the neutral reality of the here and now, and maybe even to what’s pleasant about the here and now– so that if and when you need to communicate, it’s from a place of ease and connection rather than panic and anxiety.

This practice is inspired by Organic Intelligence(r), which you can find out more about here, and Fitzmaurice Voicework(r), which you can find out more about here.

You can also find this episode in podcast form by searching for ‘BeSpoke Speaks’ on iTunes, BuzzSprout, Spotify, GooglePodcasts and Stitcher.

Please let us know how you get on with this practice, what questions it brings up for you, and what other kind of support you would like as we navigate these current times. Please also share this episode with anyone you think could use the support.

Take good care,

Christine & Lindsay

 

Staying Present in Unprecedented Times: Part 1

IMG_1041
Christine orienting in much more pleasant circumstances, in a very different world back in December 

Hi Friends,

There’s no doubt about it– these are some unprecedented times. At the time we are publishing this post, the UK and much of Europe are on lockdown– we don’t know how long it’s going to go on and how much our world is going to change by the time we get through the health crisis caused by Covid-19.

If you’re like us, you may be finding yourself particularly isolated and anxious these days. We created a three-part series to help you stay present and find some ease in these crazy times. This episode is the first part, and will take you through a practice called ‘Orientation’, which is essentially connecting to the environment you’re in through your five senses of sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste– so that you can connect to the neutral reality of the here and now, and maybe even what’s pleasant about the here and now.

This practice is especially useful if you find that your thoughts and feelings are consistently spiraling towards fear/worry/anxiety about the future, or even if your focus in the present moment is consistently getting drawn towards ‘what’s wrong’ with the present moment. Orientation can help you come back to other aspects of the reality of here and now– from what’s okay to even what’s pleasant– so that it’s easier for you to access the full range of your experience. This helps ensure that, as and when you need to communicate, you can communicate from a place of connection and ease. Orientation is a useful practice for any time in life, but particularly right now.

Orientation is something we do naturally, but the wording of this practice is inspired by a body of work called Organic Intelligence(r). To learn more about Organic Intelligence, you can listen to our previous podcast episode, ‘How to Become More Present: Conversation with Craig Deuchar‘ and/or here.

You can also find this episode in podcast format by searching for ‘BeSpoke Speaks’ on iTunes, BuzzSprout, Spotify, GooglePodcasts and Stitcher.

Please let us know how you get on with this practice, what questions it brings up for you, and if you have other ideas around how we can support you at this time. Please also share this episode with anyone you feel could use this support.

Take good care,

Christine & Lindsay