If you’ve ever experienced vocal issues or worried about your voice (and you’re here reading a Vibrant Voice Technique blog, so chances are you have), you know what it’s like to feel tight, constricted, uncomfortable, or even nauseous when you think about or touch your throat. Why does this happen? Why do our necks get so darn tight, and why are our throats such a common center of tension and intense sensation?
Well first off, our neck is literally a bottleneck in our body. This fact is obvious of course, but worthy of our attention. After all, where does tension build up in a system? At the bottleneck of course! If we also consider that our voice is also energetically flowing up and out of our body, along with the flow of air but against the pull of gravity, it makes sense that our neck might be a place where things get stuck or where we use excess effort to help our voice along.
Everything gets backed up in the bottleneck!
A second important consideration is that our neck is the most vulnerable place on our body. Think about it: if someone wants to do another person true irreversible harm, where do they target? The throat. So contracting our neck and protecting our throat is part of our survival instinct. As human beings, we are in fact wired with the impulse to tighten and become rigid in our neck when we’re experiencing fear. It’s how we’re designed!
The problem, of course, is that our vocal mechanism is housed in our neck, and it needs energy, movement, and space to function well (more about that in this past blog). Rigidity and tension will block the flow of our vocal energy, reduce movement, and limit space. So what do we do about this pesky tightness in our neck? Here are our suggestions:
Acknowledge the tension. Let yourself experience and feel it. The tension is there for a good reason, and you can’t transform it until you stop subconsciously battling it. (A possible script for this: Thank you tension. You’ve been trying to help me, but I don’t need you anymore!)
Do your normal vocal warm-ups, and all the while keep your mindset focused on allowing your neck to be moveable, letting energy flow through it, and keeping space between your neck and shoulders.
Thoughts, questions, comments? Let us know below!
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