Nick is a musical 28-year old tenor with a Theater Degree and college voice lessons. He was on the roster of the Annapolis Shakespeare Company and sings in operetta, opera and golden age musical theater. He arrived full of enthusiasm…and with a voice transitioning from baritone to tenor.
About 15 years ago, through personal circumstance, I realized that the ‘Psoas Muscles’ are an important part of both the body’s Core Muscles and Respiratory System. Somatic Educators are talking about them now, but they remain rarely discussed in the voice teaching community. They are primary muscles in stabilizing the trunk of the body and in movement and have their insertions in the Lumbar Spine.
The Psoas is deeply connected to the diaphragm through the fascia, and with the main ligaments of the diaphragm which run alongside the psoas and wrap around the top of the psoas.
Nicks’ postural habits were to stand with his pelvis thrust forward and his thoracic and cervical vertebrae collapsed. He stood and walked with his knees turned out and feet splayed. Vocal pedagogue, Marybeth Dayme, (Dynamics of the Singing Voice and other vocal pedagogy books), advocates that singers stand with their feet pointing straight out, knees unlocked, to help biodynamic energy flow. I use this idea with most students and for most, it stabilizes the hips and pelvic structure so breath management and general grounding work more efficiently. But Nick could not stand this way comfortably, and it made his alignment even worse, so I knew he needed to tea to first release, then strengthen, his psoas muscles if we were going to free up his alignment in order to have his functional voice training really take root.
Releasing and strengthening the psoas also means working with the “holding” patterns of other muscles around them. For the first two months of weekly lessons, we worked on psoas lengthening, releasing, and strengthening. This took about five to ten minutes of every lesson, and he did the exercises at home. His body alignment used to make him look like a “curmudgeon,” and now reads “leading man!”
There was a gradual change in his perception of standing and moving.
Here are some good sources for learning about the Psoas Muscles and how to release and strengthen them for free and flexible alignment.
articles from Align Integration and Movement
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