Thursday, September 15, 2011
Sing a few bars, please?
Do you sing? If you don't, you should really give it a go. It's good for your health on every level. You don't have to sing in front of anyone, you know, and it doesn't have to be good. Before radios were invented, everyone sang. Most people knew how to play an instrument, too. Until very recently, when people wanted to hear music, that meant they had to make it themselves. I love my CDs, my ipod, also Soundcloud and Spotify, Pandora, and all the incredible technology for sharing music, oh yeah. But I still think it's important for every one of us to make music sometimes. It's one of our birthrights, something humans have always done.
Singing opens the throat, a very busy physical space that needs opening on a regular basis. Think of the big blood vessels, the hardcore muscles, the glands and voicebox and esophagus, all of which must make themselves at home in that narrow passage between head and body. Stuff is packed into your neck like sardines in a can! Also: your head is a lot heavier than you might think it should be. Your neck has to hold up your head, move it around. It's a lot of work.
Singing isn't just about your throat, though. Here's a link to a NYTimes story about how humming clears the sinuses, eases sinus pain. It's the vibration of humming that helps clear the head. Cool, hey? Even better than humming, if you ask me, is "ohmming." Really let that ohm rattle the sinuses. I love to ohm. Ahhhh.
Singing strengthens the intercostal muscles and diaphragm, which makes breathing easier, always a good thing. When we sing, we are more likely to relax our eternally clenched jaws. What's not to love about that?
Singing also helps the spirit in many ways. It is an instinctual method of self expression, part of being a homo sapiens. Singing alone helps reduce a tendency towards self-consciousness. Singing with groups increases the ability to connect, relate, and work well with others. Singing generates an emotional state of happiness, bliss, reverence or silliness that's always good for us. We are a very serious species in general. Singing helps us lighten up. Singing helps us connect with the Divine. In many spiritual paths, singing is the way in which we pray. Singing is the wifi that enables our interactions with God. It is.
Try singing every day for at least five minutes - in the car, the shower, wherever. Singing along with your ipod is great, but you have to sing LOUDLY, so maybe not on the subway car on the way to work, yes? I say yes.
One of my great teachers says if you want to avoid becoming depressed, you should sing and sweat every day. Why not?