As singers, our bodies are our instruments – and not just for singing right notes at the right time with good quality. We also need to inhabit the lyrics and emotion of a song enough to be convincing performers.
I’ve often seen and heard wonderful singers who are very convincing, from the neck up.
And in fact, this stultification of energy is obvious in the bodies of most people in our culture. Perhaps we withhold body expression in case we’re judged on our bodies’ appearance.
Whatever the reason, there’s a wealth of physical vitality and self expression locked up in most of us – from the neck down.
Eckhart Tolle has an amazingly simple exercise that makes you feel alive, and at home in your body.
Sit or stand comfortably.
Without looking at your hand, ask yourself “How do I know that I still have a right hand?”
As you are paying attention to your right hand you’ll begin to notice a sense of aliveness in the hand – almost like a magnetic field.
Now ask yourself “How do I know that I still have a left hand?”
It’ll start to feel like you have both hands in some sort of magnetic field. It might even feel like a whooshing, or warm wind blowing around inside your hands – or you might feel your pulse.
Then do the same with feet, legs, pelvis and lower back, torso, arms, neck, shoulders, head and face – and even the inside of the mouth.
Just sitting there will become fun. No matter how you felt about your body before this exercise, being in your body during this process feels great.
I’ve found that when I can sustain this feeling of aliveness even for short periods of time, a gentle freedom of movement and physical expression starts to emerge.
I guess if we could sustain this indefinitely we’d be in a state of perpetual bliss – which isn’t a bad goal.