Humming Ourselves Present
May 18, 2020 | by Katherine Williams
HUMMING OURSELVES PRESENT
One of my most sacred memories is the hour I sat next to my father’s bed as he died. During the last hour of his life, I was able to sit beside his unconscious body and hum his favorite hymns. I felt the vibration of the music in my body, the air in the room was filled with sound, and we shared a very gentle goodbye.
There is something soothing, sacred, and even magical about humming. Humming brings us into the present moment, we feel the vibrations in our body. Our minds become engaged with the sound and action of our vocalizations and we can let our busy minds can rest. We no longer have to think in words.
Even more than humming specific tunes or melodies, as humans we use vocalized sounds to express a wide range of our experience. We groan with physical effort, we moan in pain, we purr with delight. Babies blow bubbles and trill their lips and we older adults play along and make games of all kinds of mouth sounds.
Humming - Try It!
Be playful and curious; let this be an exploration.
Exercise #1 for Individuals
- Put your lips together and start to hum. Can you feel some vibration? At your lips? In the palate of your mouth? In your throat? How about as far down as your chest? How low can you feel a vibration as you continue to hum? Can it get as far as your belly? Even lower?
- Experiment with the quality of your hum. How does it feel if you hum at a high pitch? What happens when you go lower in tone? Do the sensations in your body change? Can you vary the tone and pitch in a way that is pleasing to your ears? What happens if you change the shape of your mouth as you exhale a sound? Humming with lips together, then pursing your lips, or opening your mouth wide. You can even play with changing it out as you exhale a sound. Keep feeling the vibration in your body.
As you play with the humming can you find the tone and level that feels the best in your body at the moment? You might find yourself creating a tune as you continue.
When you have had enough, check-in with how you are feeling. Are you more focused and in the present moment? Where are you relaxed? Where are you feeling tight?
Exercise #2 for Families or Couples
Can you each begin to hum and see what happens as you each hum a different tone? Can you find harmonies that are pleasing? Make up your own tunes together?
Submitted by Katherine Williams