Can the Haka’s strength help your singing voice?
Around the world the New Zealand Haka has become well known in international competitive sporting games e.g. rugby or soccer at the Olympics and such like.
As you may know, when opposing teams face up to each other, the NZ team will start with the Haka war cry. So what might you ask has this got to do with strengthening your singing! Read on as I explain.
Last week I mentioned that dear old FM Alexander came to New Zealand way back in 1895 in his early twenties. He was well into his grasp of how natural poise can have a positive effect on every person and every activity.
This vital realization Alexander made because he discovered how to permanently turn around his own vocal hoarseness on stage.
What he saw in the Maori people and their movements fascinated him. Particularly their powerful stance and their war dance, the Haka.
The Haka had a very interesting beginning. It was designed by the elders of the tribe/s to provoke fear in the foe while simultaneously producing courage and strength in the tribe.
It has over centuries evolved into a sports war cry and also an important means of greetings and celebrations.
Today my mission is to let you in on the secrets that make Haka such a powerful force.
In this video clip our champion, the late Jonah Lomu leads the Haka as the team displays their strength – click here to watch.
Usually when I show people my “Haka tongue wag” they fall about laughing!
So what is it that makes this dance a best vocal and physical activity? It is vicious looking, lacks the appearance of enjoyment. But there is no tiredness, no weak voice.
The Haka posture is a powerful producer of support if used well. Look carefully at their performance in the video and you will notice that every part of the body is working at its very best.
In every moment, every movement, every sound, there is absolute unity.
Today my student asked how she could safely empty the dishwasher without causing the usual tight stress in her neck.
It is fascinating to see how we use our modern equipment…the very things that are designed to make life easier are actually making movement harder.
With all the best ergonomic furniture, appliances, and equipment in the world, life has not become easier at all.
My student demonstrated how she does this task.
I worked with her using the Haka stance idea as a conceptual direction.
When you break it down, the requirements lie in the secrets of Haka….it involves flexed joints yet balanced support. Changing unwanted tension into useful vitality.
Look closely and you will see……..
–The whole torso is totally supported as it should be.
–The lungs and breathing have maximum operating room.
–The voice is unrestricted by collapsed or tightened neck.
–It is full, as loud as needs be. It flows or shouts whatever it is…
–Nothing is moving unnecessarily.
–Everything that needs to move can move and…..
–Your whole being is operating at full tilt.
This is the Haka!
I am not advocating that every singer practice the Haka, nor do I suggest that the Haka is in itself a necessity. But it is in the observed wholeness. When used thus, the pathway is a good one. As Alexander did to make his voice strong.
When you are about to pick up an object or empty the dishwasher, or practice your singing, start with a thought of flexion with balance.
P.S – go here and join a course – Learn the Haka way to Free your Best Voice workshop or – Haka Posture and Stress Busting workshop