The first time I taught in Westport, people were vocalizing during the class. I didn’t know what to think. Did they hate it? Did they like it? I asked Carla (who has a third degree black belt in karate) and she told me that vocalizing is a way of letting go and also of finding your breath. In karate, the “kee-yi” helps with breathing and puts more focus and power behind the movement.
I notice that some of my clients don’t like to use vocalization. It does feel weird at first, and it certainly isn’t necessary to vocalize during a class. But vocalizing is a way of letting go, both physically and emotionally. When you dance, you are absolutely stirring up energy and emotion, positive and negative. Using the voice can help you release what you do not need: anger, tension or frustration. It can affirm what you do want: joy and freedom. Also, it gives you space to breathe.
Finding your voice can make you “unstuck.”
In life, vocalizing how you feel will often dissipate uncomfortable feelings. It’s like the monster in the closet. The more you pretend he’s not there by not opening the closet door, the scarier he becomes. When you open the door, he disappears.
I used to read a Sesame Street book to my kids called, “The Monster at the End of This Book.” Through the book, Grover is flipping out and trying everything he can to stop you from turning the pages. At the end of the book, he realizes that he himself is the monster. There was, of course, nothing to be afraid of.
Once when I was hanging around with my friend who is an amazing Shiatsu/Cranial-Sacral practitioner, I was having one of my attacks of “not good enough.” I said to her, with a sigh, “I wish I had a skill.” She fell off the couch laughing at me. Vocalizing the fear that I had no skill made me realize that it wasn’t true.
When I first started therapy, I remember telling my therapist that therapy was like throwing up, but, you know, in a good way. When you are physically ill, you feel really nauseated and sick and you try to keep it down but once you barf, you feel much better. In therapy, there are words you are afraid to express because they are scary or they make you look petty or crazy. But once you spit out the words, they generally are not nearly as bad as you thought AND you feel much better.
Whether or not you feel comfortable vocalizing in class, saying what you need to say in your life can empower and free you. The people you need to speak truth to are also empowered and freed because now they know how you really feel. That is a gift.
So just say it.