Many years ago, I went to a workshop with medical intuitive, Christel Nani, and she was teaching us how to open our chakras by changing our limiting beliefs. This is when I first witnessed the benefits of singing.
There was a man in the audience who stood up with a question. Through wet eyes and hitched breath, he told Christel that he hated himself with great intensity and didn’t know how to find self-love. She told him that singing was the best way to open your heart chakra and remove the negative self beliefs that keep it blocked. To illustrate, she held a pendulum on a string in front of his heart and it was still. This meant that there was no energy flowing.
Then, she asked him to sing “Happy Birthday.” By the second sentence the pendulum began to sway, slowly at first, and by the end of the song it had more powerful arcs.
He looked at it with tears falling down his face, and told us he felt a slight openness in his heart area. She emphasized the benefits of singing and recommended that he to continue to practice each and every day.
Do you hum or sing when you’re happy?
How about when you’re feeling low? You are not alone many people do it, because they intuitively feel the
benefits of singing or even just listening to music. In fact, countless clients and friends have told me that music has saved their lives. When I was a teenager, I know it saved mine.
Do you belt out a tune to help you through the difficult feelings? Whether it is the lyrics that move you, and help you feel understood. Or, the heart-opening act of singing, or the distraction and benefits to your self-esteem to practice, or the music moving the energy through and out of you- keep doing it! There is little risk, (okay, occasionally, in some instances, a sad song can bring you sadder, if this has happened to you, change the kind of music you are using!) and loads of benefits. So sing! Every day, whether you can hold a tune, or not.
Singing and acting are very similar. Singing makes you reach into your deepest feelings. Singing is an extension of everything that you do when you’re acting. ~ Meryl Streep
Sing a song, feel better
There is new research out highlighting the many benefits of singing. By nature, a singer must slow their breathing in order to sing more effectively. This, in turn, can help slow your heart rate and the benefits of that are many on your physical well-being. The study, conducted by researchers in Sweden, compared song to yogic breathing since a singer must breathe out on song phrases and breathe in between them. This kind of breathwork has a calming effect on the body and nervous system.
My daughter studies yogic breathing with her aunt to improve her singing voice. Results:
And, it turns out, singing is also good for the brain and can even induce a feeling of well-being. It releases pleasure hormones (endorphins), as well as oxytocin. Both of these hormones help to lower levels of stress and anxiety. Oxytocin is known to reduce feelings of depression and disconnection. This means it aids in making us feel more in tune with the people around us and less lonely, which is exactly why singing with groups like a choir helps us feel so good!
And you know that stress hormone I’m always mentioning, cortisol? Well, research shows that singing produces lower levels of cortisol. This reduces stress while improving our immune systems so they can function better and fight off disease and illness.
According to a study performed at the University of London, there are plenty of health benefits of singing both physical and psychological. It was found that singing actually exercises the lungs by opening them up for aeration. Ultimately, when we sing it is an aerobic activity. Singing increases oxygenation in the bloodstream. It also exercises major muscle groups in the upper body, even when you’re just sitting down.
The American Journal of Nursing reported in 1986 that opera singers had stronger chest wall muscles, better pumping hearts and maintained their lung capacity until older age.
Plus, it burns calories! Singing, when standing up, burned about 140 calories for a 150 pound person. Stand up to belt out those tunes and the calories burned increase to 140 for somebody weighing 150 pounds
Opens your heart chakra
One of the researchers, Rosie Dow, from the choir study performed at Imperial College London, University College London and the Royal College of Music, had this to say about their findings: “This research is so exciting, as it echoes everything all our choir members tell us about how singing has helped them. I’ve seen peoples’ lives transformed through singing in our choirs, so knowing that singing also makes a biological difference will hopefully help us to reach more people with the message that singing is great for you – mind, body, and soul.”
Exactly! We know the benefits of singing at an intuitive level and simply don’t necessarily put them into words. It’s more like a feeling. “It helps me feel better, feel connected to something bigger.” And now science has caught up with the research to back up what we’ve felt all along.
What is your favorite kind of music to sing? Share with me.