The Head Thrust- aligning head and shoulders – aligning breath and voice – aligning emotion and intention.
Alignment affects our voice physically and emotionally. When our head is aligned, when it simply sits above our shoulders, our vocal instrument works with ease, and the voice can flow with full breath. If we cut off at our neck by thrusting our chin forward, as we often do when we question someone or something, the voice can get tight and strained. With this positioning of our head, we are only sharing part of what we are experiencing – just our thoughts, just our intellect, not our full emotions. There are times when it is completely appropriate to do so. For example, we do it at times throughout our day when we ask someone, “oh, excuse me, one more time.” Sometimes we do this at home when we say emphatically, “I really need the trash to go out.” Sometime when we argue we shoot our head off of our shoulders as well. It’s as if there is no room for emotion in the argument. When we are in alignment, we are fully connected to what we are saying and the voice carries our full emotional and intellectual commitment to the message.
I was an actor in New York, and I was having vocal trouble. I went to this great voice teacher. One of the first things he said was, “you know, you should really get your head back on your shoulders.” Later that week, I was at one of my five jobs, late at night. I was doing data entry seated at a desk and working on a computer. I was thrusting my head forward. At that time, I heard my vocal teacher telling me to put my head back on my shoulders, so I aligned my head and tears started to flow. Then I shot my chin forward again, and the flow of tears shut off. As I moved my head and neck backward and forward, tears flowed – on, off … on, off. I realized that alignment allowed my breath to connect me to my emotional core. The breath that connects when we are in alignment is the essence of who we are. The breath and alignment promote an authenticity that we share with our voice. This authenticity is essential to connected and clear communication. With the alignment of breath, voice, head, and body, a person and her/his message are believable and trustworthy.