Windsong Voice and Yoga

Educating and Empowering Through Music, Movement & Yoga

Why Am I OBSESSED With Yoga And Movement?

At 22 I was incredibly awkward. After completing my undergraduate degree in voice, I was determined to address an uneasy feeling that pervaded my everyday life: physical discomfort. At that time, I felt uncomfortable in my body almost all the time. Although I didn’t experience chronic pain of any kind, I felt physically tense most of the time and I was not good at managing stress. When I sang in a recital or in an opera I felt awkward moving my 6 foot frame around onstage. I also sang with a lot of tension, which didn’t help. Overall I was extremely UNAWARE of my body and I spent a lot of time in my head.

Wanting to feel more confident in my body

Shortly after graduation I reached out to my high school choreographer and mentor, Barbra Snyder, who taught ballroom dance with her partner Ken Wilson. I expressed an interest in wanting to feel more confident in my body and she offered me a scholarship; one year of private ballroom dance lessons. This was one of the greatest gifts I have ever received and it set me on my movement journey.

Several months into studying ballroom, I applied to and was accepted into a graduate voice program that offered dance and movement as part of the core curriculum. My movement teacher Alcine Wiltz specializes in Laban Movement and modern dance and his classes helped me to expand my body awareness and move more efficiently. I noticed that after movement class, I felt much better overall. My mood improved, my body felt more relaxed and my singing felt freer.

Then came vocal injury

I was diagnosed with vocal nodules early in the second year of my doctorate. Vocal nodules happen gradually over time; often as the result of recurring patterns of inefficient use. In my case: excess tension and over-efforting (in my breath, posture and singing) combined with acid reflux (coffee + stress) and overuse did the trick. I got to a point in my life where I simply HAD TO try something different. I found a yoga studio in DC and started going to classes regularly.

Floating lotus

Yoga helped me grow in so many ways but the most important thing yoga did (and is still doing) for me is increasing my awareness. Practicing yoga forced me to become AWARE of the tension patterns I had in my breathing, my posture and my singing. That process of ever expanding one’s awareness: getting out of your head and into your body is what defined my healing process. It is the foundation of my teaching style today!

Since then I have continued to grow as a yoga & movement practitioner; adding self-myofascial release to my wheelhouse and sampling other modalities (Alexander, Feldenkreis, Fitzmaurice, Linklater, Lessac, YogaVoice and others) over the years. I have found that the integration of mind / body education with vocal study can be incredibly rich and rewarding and it is my pleasure and privilege to witness this ongoing process in my students.

Hello!

Hi, I'm Dr. Madeline Miskie. In my writing, I focus on the connections between the mind, body and voice and share singing tips and inspiration.  Thanks for reading!

“May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.” ~ Closing Mantra

Copyright © Madeline Miskie