Raise Your Voice
Yoga for the Chorus
Thursday, 9 a.m. – It’s time for Chorus in the classroom. Please come into the Music Room and take a seat with the other students. To warm up your voice, we’ll begin with deep breathing and stretching your body, especially the facial, neck and shoulder muscles. (This is how I introduce my students to the practice of yoga in the schools.)
Here’s a great breath—it’s called Ocean Breath. Breathe in through your nose slowly and deeply; then, let your breath out with a whispered “haaah.” Your breath will sound like an ocean wave. When you breathe in, bring both hands towards your middle, like a wave coming in. When you breathe out, push your hands out, like a wave going back out to sea.
Next, roll your shoulders backward in a circle, then forward. Stretch your head and neck to one side, keeping the shoulders down, then stretch to the other side. Put your chin on your chest, then look up to the sun. Now, let’s do Sun Breath – we reach our arms up, one at a time, saying: “Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!”
Stand up, reach for the sun, and then do a forward bend. Put hands on your knees, then on your waist, then on your shoulders. Reach up again, this time placing one hand on your waist, the other arm remaining up high, and bending to the left. Now try it on the other side. Twist back and forth, like a washing machine. Now, have a seat.
This is how we begin Junior and Senior Chorus classes at the school where I teach. By this time, all of the students are very focused, quiet and ready to begin warming up their voices, which have been allowed to open up with the breath work and yoga stretches.
Many students have expressed how much they enjoy these warm-ups and how they make them feel great afterward. I invite you to share your love of yoga, breathing and song in your teen’s classroom or with anyone who loves to sing. Our students are so grateful and we love sharing yoga with young people!
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