We explore the rising trend of sound healing using the power of the voice in our search for mental and physical nirvana.
Using the gift of vocals to not only facilitate her own healing, but also to make a positive impact on others, is something that Gretchell Yaneza knows a thing or two about. A singer-songwriter and multidisciplinary artist by day and a holistic vocal coach by night, Yaneza has performed on hundreds of stages including Sónar Hong Kong, IRIS: Your Escape, and TEDx. Just a few listens to Yaneza’s 2019 meditation album The Offering reveal just how poignant the human voice, when coupled with deep intention and simple production (“created in-the-moment, using only voice, cello, and sounds from nature”), can be.
“You can think of my practice as yoga for the voice,” says Yaneza, the daughter of a musician and a nurse, whose first memory of sound healing came from listening to and imitating sounds of animals and nature as a young girl. In her early 20s, she took a break from her music career to venture deep into remote Buddhist temples across Thailand to train under monks, with the hopes of deepening her practice that uniquely fuses the realms of vocal healing, spirituality, and meditation. “The voice is extremely powerful, especially because we self-generate the healing vibrations with our own voice, shifting energetic blocks and releasing stress from the body,” she says. “There are so many dimensions to learn about.”
Indeed, while many wellness practitioners can agree that the voice is our most pivotal instrument, many of us fail to draw on – or even realise – its power. That’s something Yaneza is looking to change, and much of it happens at Fivelements Habitats, one of Hong Kong’s only wellness studios that offers voice-focused meditation. There, she leads programmes specialising in vocal healing and activation, sacred sound chanting, and music medicine. Instruments like crystal bowls and tuning forks are sometimes used in tandem, but the emphasis remains squarely on exploring the vibrations of the human voice, clearing energetic blockages in the throat chakra, and tapping into “the heart-opening power” that all of our voices possess.
“It’s an experiential journey, designed to give us a better understanding of how to use our voice and become one with it,” says Yaneza. “With practice, you will build muscle memory and start to cultivate better creativity, awareness, inner balance, and mindfulness from moment to moment.”