Sometimes when I take my car in to the auto repair shop I have to get the wheels aligned. If I don’t, it can affect my steering, my safety and the durability of the tires.
Proper alignment of our spine is integral to proper voice production. Like the car, without proper alignment your body will shift. Other muscles in your body that are unaccustomed to supporting a heavy load will have to work harder to keep you up. If you have a collapsed spine the entire body caves in. The lungs can’t breathe to their full capacity, you will be taking short breaths, and not taking in much oxygen. As a result, your vocal energy will be low. Conversely, if you have a rigid spine, your neck and shoulders may be tense, your knees may hyper extend and that tension will carry to your voice.
Another word for alignment is posture. Whenever I say “posture” in my workshops, people automatically straightened up. Yes, that is good to be aware but again, sometimes we force the movement. Does anyone remember balancing a book on your head? Try it. Bet you stopped breathing, thinking that if you stop breathing, the book will stay balanced.
Here is an easy way to get in touch with our spine and find your natural alignment.
You can do this while sitting or standing. Make sure your feet are flat on the floor and that they are each taking the equal amount of weight.
Now think of the bones in your body.
Your anklebone is growing up to your shinbone
Your shinbone is growing up to your thigh bone
Thigh bone is growing up to your pelvis.
Picture your spine growing up through to the small of your back to your shoulders
Arms are floating gently by their sides.
Your head floating on the top of it all, like a balloon.
You should feel a sense of lightness in your body, instead of compression. This is called kinesthetic lightness. It’s a quick way to make sure you’re properly aligned as you get ready to speak.