My life is a complex interlocking system of body work and music. Each hour is intertwined with vocal practice, yoga instruction, vocal instruction, vocal performance, yoga self-practice, and life that I sometimes forget which role I am supposed to be fulfilling at the time and the different facets of my life become linked in a beautiful dance of vocal and physical expression. The first few years of being a yoga instructor, I tried desperately to separate these worlds. The world of yoga is full of bare feet, relaxed personalities, lax deadlines, and the like. The world of a classical singer is made up of competition, looking professional at all times, striving for complete perfection, and a struggle to always be one step ahead of everyone else. But, as the years progressed, I began to merge my two worlds. I practice specific postures while singing to either release tension or gather strength. I teach yoga breathing and postures to my voice students. I regularly sing for my yoga students. I perform sacred song concerts that combine meditation with song. I share my yoga instruction with singers in specialized “yoga for singers” workshops. In my own performing and auditioning, I am learning to let go of the locks, tension, and mental stress I had once put on my body and mind. My meditation and focused practice has taught me to keep calm in pressure situations and under the heat of the spotlight. My practice is reminding me that no one is going to die if I create an imperfect note or flub a word: my life will not be over, nor will my vocal career. There were so many times when my inner mental chatter told me that I was not successful if I did not sing at the Met: that I was a failure if I didn’t achieve this one glorious fleeting moment of perfection in song. Now, I’ve come to terms with the fact that there is more to life and more to singing than simply being a Prima Donna on the stage. My life and my voice have been so much happier and healthier since I made that revelation. Now, I joyfully go about the natural cycle of my days as I continue to merge my two worlds into one. It’s so much easier to always be myself rather than constantly trying to change gears and put on new facades. I might not be the traditional long-limbed, go-with-the-flow yogi and I may not be the “vissi d’arte” artist, but I am now at least myself. I’d rather just be little imperfect me, perfectly.
#bestrongin2015 challenge: wheel pose.