Embrace Your Core!

As singers, we’re taught that physical fitness is the key to our success when tackling the demands of stage acting while singing extremely demanding repertoire. We are told that a strong and flexible core can help create positive change in vocal strength, color, and overall quality. But, how do we create that abdominal strength without hindering our ability to fully relax the abdominal wall during inhalation? 

Through yoga core work, of course. 

Some of my greatest vocal breakthroughs have occurred after I’ve attempted a new yoga pose: building strength but also maintaining my flexibility. The short core series I complete in the video below is one of my latest challenges. Don’t be deceived; this is hard work! Eventually, you want to have your feel hovering off the ground, but I’m not there yet. 

To start series you’ll need a yoga block for each hand. If you don’t have a block, use a phone book or dictionary. If you have carpet floors I’d suggest you invest in furniture sliders for your feet. They add quite a bit of challenge to many physical postures and they are also quite handy to have around. If you have wood floors, a blanket, towel, or paper plates will work just fine. 

Begin by grounding the shoulders, pressing into your blocks, and lifting your bum off the ground. Maybe that’s what you work on for awhile. Once you are able to get yourself off the ground without tensing the shoulders, start to hug the belly in, rounding the back, and pull your straight legs back, gliding them across the floor. Complete a set of 5: inhaling to slide your legs forward while relaxing the abdominal wall and exhaling to slide your legs backward, engaging strongly. Complete as many sets as your strength will allow and then stretch it out with a soft backbend. 

(It also helps to have a little rain falling in the background.) 😉

Happy yoga-ing! 

1 till I’m 30

“When you stand and share your story in an empowering way, your story will heal you and your story will heal somebody else.” -Iyanla Vanzant

Well, tomorrow is the big day. It has been an emotional roller coaster this past month putting to paper 30 reasons I am grateful to be turning 30. When I decided to take on this challenge, it was to change the stereotype that it is all downhill once you reach that third decade on this earth. Part of this challenge was to celebrate all of the reasons why I love where I am in my life and why I am so grateful to be done with the stress, uncertainty, and growth that my 20s forced upon me. Sure being in your 20s is great and all…and, yes, you have perfect baby-soft skin, but those awkward transition years aren’t all they are cracked up to be. So, what is with this societal notion that you getting older is something to hide? Getting older means getting wise. And I think that’s pretty fantastic, personally. The other part of this challenge was to remind myself just how lucky I am and how much I have to be grateful for. The past few years have been filled with trials, self-discovery, pain, and fear. They’ve also, of course, been filled with joy, laughter, growth, and love. So often I find my mind listing off the failures more than the successes, but this project brought to light all of the reasons I should be thankful for this 30th rotation around the sun. This countdown forced me to share things about myself that I have never shared before. It made me admit things that I hadn’t quite admitted to myself, let alone the entire electronic world. But, in sharing there is healing and I feel that a weight has been lifted off my chest. The stories and memories that I played over in over in my head have now been processed and set free into the blogosphere, where they will hopefully inspire others to cherish their moments on this earth and learn from their experiences. Time is fleeting. Take a moment, sit down, look back on how you have evolved in this thing called life. The little details we take for granted everyday are often the most beautiful miracles. The struggles we survive through often spark the greatest growth. The moments that take our breath away are often the most life-changing. 

What do you have to be grateful for today? I am grateful for each and every one of you. Thank you for supporting me through this journey and letting me share a little piece of my story with you. 

2 till I’m 30

“In the end, though, maybe we must all give up trying to pay back the people in this world who sustain our lives. In the end, maybe, it’s wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices.” -Elizabeth Gilbert

I can’t believe all of the people who traveled from around the US to surprise me at Disneyland yesterday. I was shocked and overwhelmed by the outpouring of love. During my 29th year on this earth I felt alone and broken. My life and family were falling apart and I was empty. When I reached out for help, I felt like no one was there. But, yesterday, there was so much love. I was surrounded by so many friends and family who came to celebrate with us. People took vacation days, traveled hundreds and even thousands of miles, and planned Disneyland vacations to be with us. It’s still taking me time to process all of the support, love, and joy I received yesterday. It was a reminder that I have so many amazing friends who support me, even if I don’t get to see them on a regular basis. And, I now get to join a family who loves and accepts me for who I am. My cup truly runeth over and I no longer feel alone. 
I will be saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as I have a voice.  

3 till I’m 30

“When you meet that person. a person. One of your soulmates. Let the connection. Relationship. Be what it is. It may be five minutes. Five hours. Five days. Five months. Five years. A lifetime. Five lifetimes. Let it manifest itself the way it is meant to. It has an organic destiny. This way if it stays or if it leaves. You will be softer. From having been loved this authentically. Souls come into. Return. Open. And sweep through your life for a myriad of reasons. Let them be who. And what they are meant.” -nayyirah waheed

Time with friends is precious these days as they live all over the country. But, I cherish these moments we have together when they sweep through my life. They float in, bring me sunshine, celebrate my existence, and then float out to continue on their own unique journeys… and I love them for it. We are awesome, we are passionate, and we are leading productive and exciting lives. But, sometimes, we carve out the time for hugs, conversation, trips to the happiest place on earth, and share big moments in our lives…. like proposals to marry your bestest friend and soulmate. (Eek) I am so grateful to have these beautiful souls in my life. Thank you to my bestie Katelyn Holliday and her love Bruce Brown for being a part of Brighton and my special moment. I love you guys and I hope that we get to share lots of moments together until we’re all old, grey, wrinkly, and happily ever after. 

4 till I’m 30

4 days till I’m 30:I used to care what I looked like on Halloween. I always wanted to be something pretty: a princess, a super hero, and the like. I’m almost 30 now. I don’t have to be pretty anymore. Being pretty is boring. I need to be silly. Why be “pretty” when you can be fun?Sometimes it’s the craziest-looking characters which are the most fun to portray. In my opera career, I’ve ditched the young ingenue characters in favor of the comical, off-beat, big personalities. My favorite characters are the larger-than-life, over-the-top personalities which make you smile and giggle and forget about your worries. So, I give you this year’s crazy character, Mad Madam Mim.