Sometime ago, I chanced upon a singing instructor who taught me how to use my Hara sub-chakra to improve my singing.
The sub-chakra, which is called DianTien in the Chinese acupuncture system, is located about two fingers below our navel. (It is also known as our Sacral Chakra). It is also a point of focus in the Tao style of Qi meditation.
A good singer will sing from the Dian Tien, each sound he produces come from this region. He literally vibrates his Dan Tien when he sings, so much so the melodious sound comes from this area instead of from the vocal chord. Not only the singer has good vocal quality but also he has depth and strength in his voice.
As a novice, we certainly do not know how to “vibrate” the Hara sub-chakra or Dan Tien naturally as we produce the sound. To help us develop this skill, we first place one hand below our navel, covering the Dan Tien or Hara sub-chakra. Let us try and sing “Do Re Mi Fa So La Si Do” When we sing Do, we use the palm to push our naval upwards as if the motion causes air to rush up to our throat and synchronize with the pronunciation of “Do” through our vocal chord. Try it successively with the rest of the musical notes until you become very comfortable doing it.
Practice regularly this method until at a point you could contract your Hara sub-chakra or Dan Tien naturally without the need to use your palm to push it up. If we do not wish to use the musical notes, we could substitute them with the simple mantra: “Om Ah Hum”. The same singing instructor actually taught me to practice this method by vocalizing “Wo Yao Yong Dan Tian” – meaning “I want to use my Hara minor chakra.”
For those who are still having difficulty locating the Dan Tian, you can try the method of abdominal breathing. That is when you breathe in you draw air into your stomach cavity and expand it like a balloon. Retain the air for a few seconds before expelling it through your normal respiratory channel. Next, you try to vocalize your speech or singing along with the upward surge of air from your stomach.
Some singing teachers also give additional tips. It is said that when you sing you have three locations to synchronize your voice. One is the chest area below your throat, the other is your throat and jaw region covering your mouth and nose, and finally the region between the two eyes and eyebrows. So, according to their teaching, when you sing – the sound raises from your Dan Tian (Stomach region), passes and vibrates the Chest region, the jaw region, and the forehead region. In my understanding of the metaphysics, I co-relate these regions to Dan Tian (Sacral Chakra), the Heart and Thymus chakra, the throat chakra (covering the vocal cord – mouth and nose) and finally the Third Eye chakra (forehead between the eyes and eyebrows).
As a side benefit, the regular stimulation of the Dan Tien will bring about untold health benefits. Your breathing will certainly improve, as you have learned to breathe from below your diaphragm. Improvement in singing aside, this method also helps enhance our quality in our speech, giving us a richer, stronger and more confident voice in our conversations with others.
As a disclaimer, even though I speak about the techniques, involving the use of the chakra, from a metaphysical point of view, I do not profess myself to be a good singer. All the methods to improve your singing can also apply effectively to the chanting of mantra besides bring about health benefits. .
By Anthony Leong