How to Heal Yourself and Activate Your Chakras With Breath & Tone

Dot Todman
Waking Times

Using the power of Breath, Intention, and Resonance to Empower Your Voice

Though I have always been a musically expressive person, when I first heard about the chakras, I actually did not believe they were real. The idea of having seven major points that governed certain organs in my body, radiating different colors and notes, and spinning clockwise when in balance seemed strange to me. It was not taught to me in school (as it is to children in India) and seemed irrelevant. It wasn’t until I was faced with healing an 8 inch scar along my core, that I was motivated to explore the idea that maybe if I could put this knowledge to good use, I would heal faster. This need emerged when doctors nicked my bowel by accident while performing a laparoscopy. The worst place for a singer to have a wound – outside of the throat, is the abdomen. In addition, due to an allergic reaction I had to the Morphine the hospital had been pumping into my veins as a pain killer, my body had purged itself of every toxin imaginable. I was so thin and so weak, I could barely lift my arms. I had to build my lung capacity by blowing into a tube to make the little balls rise above the line. I left the hospital weighing a mere 98 pounds at 5 ft 9. Doctors told me it would likely take six to eight months to heal. I knew I had to heal way faster than that if I wanted to survive financially!

The connection that I was able to make with my body, my energy and my breath taught me that I am much more powerful than I thought, and that my breath, energy and intention can literally shift my vibration and generate healing in my body. Every day, as I developed a practice regiment, more light and knowledge poured into my mind and within two weeks, I was riding my bike with my little dog. I wasn’t fully healed, but well on my way, and over time, I was able to take the amazing things I learned and provide a structure for singers and speakers to not only gain physiological advantages in their voice, but also mental and emotional advantages which open and heal the soul. By tuning in to your spirit in a way that goes beyond diaphragmatic breathing, you can learn how to improve your speaking and singing voice, as well as your communication, energy, presence and confidence.

Breath Precedes The Tone

The Arabic origin of the word breath stems from the word “spirit”. Breath creates the underlying quality of everything we do. The way we breathe can literally determine how we think, feel and the quality of our lives.

In order to relieve stress, most people say, “Take a deep breath”, but they are ignoring the fact that your thoughts and feelings while taking in the breath also play a huge role in how well you can shift from stress into empowerment. For example, if you breathe in a chesty, voiced breath while thinking a stressful thought about the future such as, “Oh no! I hope I don’t mess this up again!” you are breathing in fearful thoughts about the future. This tells your brain to send nerve signals down your spinal chord to your adrenaline glands, which release adrenaline, causing an increase of blood sugar, heart rate and blood pressure. At the same time, your brain’s hypothalamus signals your pituitary gland to release factors that tell your adrenal cortex to produce the stress hormone, cortisol, which will keep you in that “fight or flight” state. While you are in this highly charged mental state, your body is far from being involved with healing, peace, or empowerment. It’s simply trying to survive. Sadly, this is where many people live, and it’s amazing to consider how many more of us fall into this state before we have to use our voice for something important.

I’d like to share with you how just a little bit of awareness and a few tools can make a huge difference in your overall well being, which is directly related to the power of your voice. As you commit to doing these exercises below, you may notice your nerves start to disappear in important situations, your voice becoming more smoother, more rich, and more powerful.

The first step is understanding that when you inhale, you are literally taking in the world as you experience it, and you get to choose what you are inviting into your consciousness as you do this. Most of us do it subconsciously [about 21,600 time per day], but either way, the amount of love or fear you breathe in at any given time will have a direct effect on your mental, emotional and physical health. Before I learned to heal myself, I didn’t realize how this concept alone had a profound effect on the confidence and power of my voice.

The simple, yet powerful integrative breathing exercises I discovered and developed over the past 8 years after my accident, help people to naturally tap into their CORE connection, and from here, they are able to speak and sing from what I call their “CORE Voice.” Your CORE Voice is your free, authentic, voice that doesn’t have any vocal blocks [stress in body, tension, fear, etc]. When you are using your CORE Voice, your chakras are aligned and you are able to speak and sing freely, without being nervous or micromanaging your voice. In any situation you speak and sing from the truest part of who you are.

Below, I will explain the most important foundational key to creating the ease within that is required if you want to have a more balanced energy and confident voice. It has to do with how we take in the world.

Build PRESENCE with the Breath of Ah-wareness (BOA)

Exercise Instructions:

1. Standing or sitting with your chest risen, feet shoulder width apart and a straight spine, while you think the sound “ah”, inhale silently and lovingly through a relaxed, but open mouth.

What did you experience? If you allowed yourself to hear yourself say, “ah” in your mind as you inhaled, you may have noticed this breath fills you immediately and you may feel an inner calmness and natural expansion, but don’t try to create this–allow it. Keep in mind, you don’t need to take in a lot of air.

2. Take a moment to feel how open and expanded you are.

3. On the exhale, you can either use a gentle unvoiced “hhhhhhhh” sound, or voice the sound “ah” as a sigh of relief, but keep your chest elevated as you do this.

The key to doing this exercise is in the silent, loving inhale. Subvocalizing the sound “ah” on the inhale allows you to naturally open your heart and create an expansion of the diaphragm without even trying. The result should be that you are completely present. If you are not used to this, it may bring up a sense of impatience or even tears. Accept whatever shows up for you and continue to work in harmony with yourself through this as it may take time.

4. You can inhale through your nose as well, but for most people at first, nose breathing feels more connected to the head. I want you to connect as close to the base of your spine as you can when you inhale. Once you become good at inhaling through the mouth, switch to the nose. When you do this, be sure to imagine the sound “ah” at the back of a relaxed throat.

5. When you become advanced in the BOA exercise, on the inhale, hold and exhale, you may affirm this phrase in your mind: “I am here now and I am okay!” or any other affirmation to help you manifest what you’d like to create, instead of what you don’t want to create like the example I gave earlier. I call this, “intentional breathing,” which means that now, instead of taking 21,600 unconscious breaths a day, you can actually put meaning into how you want to think and feel and spend part of your day breathing consciously. This is an important pre-curser for vocal expression. If you want your voice to show up the way you need it to, you must prepare it mentally and emotionally.

This simple but powerful breathing exercise has given my students instant access to expanding their diaphragm without spending several months on diaphragmatic breathing. It has given them the clarity and peace needed to create the favorable conditions for their CORE Voice to emerge.

The Breath of Ah-wareness [BOA] exercise works on 5 Levels to do the following:

Level 1
Create the open and expansive space in the body for the voice to emerge. [Access diaphragm].

Level 2
Create clarity and presence in the mind by literally hearing the “ah” sound in your mind and embodying it.

Level 3
Create more stillness and freedom in the body by releasing all tension.

Level 4
Shift nervous or unsettled energy into comfort by breathing in love.

Level 5
Intentionally allowing your chakras to align on the inhale and choosing healing in the body through breathing in love to specific areas of the body, or as a whole.

Regardless of the obstacles that show up while you attempt to do these exercises, resolve inwardly to make peace with them. Where there is peace, there is stillness. Where there is stillness, there is clarity. And, where there is clarity, there is the unlimited potential for you to create whatever you wish! Enjoy the breath of “Ah”-wareness as often as you like and gain the benefits of building stage presence and confidence as you speak and sing from your CORE Voice.

Connecting Tone To Breath

Part of why expressing our voice can feel so good is because when we resonate, we are literally validating ourselves at a cellular level. What does this mean? When we hum or sing the consonant “mmmmm,” every chakra along the spine gets stimulated. Think about it. When we say, “mmhmmm”, in many different languages, it means “yes.” Have you ever thought about why we do this? A few years back, Dr. Oz was quoted on the Oprah Winfrey show as saying, “humming” massages the inner organs along the spine [chakras]… and when you do this, you are releasing a natural gas called nitric oxide..which is a natural anti-depressant.”

So now, it makes even more sense as to why sustaining a tone can feel so good. We are literally validating ourselves, and when we do this, we become more in alignment. We are also massaging our vocal chords and inner organs along the spine. This was a very amazing and powerful part of my healing. I felt the “mmmm” way more dramatically when I wasn’t feeling well, then when I felt 100% healthy, because it literally MOVES energy that is stagnant.

In a symbolic way, resonating helps move energy through our “inner world” and makes it audible in the outer world. This can be a very deep, and empowering process. Many of us try to hide how we really feel, but when we resonate, or sustain our tone, we are sending out our unique signal from inside ourselves, and there is no other signal on the planet like it.

How Our Voice Becomes Tainted

Our western world is quite focused on teaching us external things, such as how to go out and earn this diploma and that job, and get that dream house and vacation. We were taught at a young age, that there are hierarchal levels, and some of us are “better” than others. In school we were judged, and our inner value oftentimes was based on a letter in the alphabet, for example: “I’m only a ‘C’ student.” As a result, most of us stopped playing those fun artistic games we enjoyed as a child, and learned to become part of “the real world” having to prove ourselves worthy. Soon the world became a much more serious place and there were expectations and more “important” roles placed on us. We were taught to be tough and that it is not always safe to show others how we really feel. That might make us look weak and thus, more easily destructible.

As adults many of us are left wondering why when we open our mouth to express our voice, [which is directly connected to our feelings and emotions,] we feel vulnerable and exposed. Could it possibly be that it has something to do with the fact that we were never really taught how to feel safe in our inner world? When we sing or even speak, we’re having to share something deep from inside of us and bring it into the outer world that judges. Most people do not like the idea of being judged.

Understanding Chakras And The Voice

We have chakras all over our body, but most of us stop seeing them after infant hood. Chakras are the name we give for the energy, or electrical life force which expresses our internal world. The word chakra means “wheel or disc” and although we have many, I will be sharing with you a brief overview of the seven major chakras and how they relate to vocal expression and healing. When balanced and in alignment, each of these “wheels of light” spin clockwise and are known to radiate different colors. We can activate each chakra by singing the vowel that it is connected with. When we do this [preferably with an intention], we stimulate that part of the body. I have already discussed that “m” is the one consonant that activates every chakra along the spine. I used the information below to heal the organs along my CORE. You can do more specific healing work on yourself by singing the vowels associated with each organ/chakra as outlined below.

Below are the seven major chakras paired with their underlying issue which can help be cleared through the vocal toning sound next to each chakra.

Sound: “OH” as in “toe”
Color: Red
Location: base of the spine/tailbone
About: This center governs the reproductive system. When it is balanced, you feel grounded and secure in life and all it has to offer. It is known as your tribal center and related to survival.
Psychological Issue: Fear of being judged and not accepted

Sound: “OO” as in “shoe”
Color: Red
Location: Just below the naval
About: The second center governs the spleen, adrenals, kidneys, Uterus and Ovaries. It is your creative center and when it is balanced, you feel a flow in your creativity and your emotions feel at peace.
Psychological Issue: Feeling guilty for hitting bad notes and not being perfect either now, or in the past.

Sound: “AY” as in “stay”
Color: Yellow
Location: Stomach area
About: This center governs the pancreas, stomach, liver and intestines. When it is balanced you feel a mental clarity and secure sense of self. Criticism doesn’t hurt and you own your actions.
Psychological Issue: Being ashamed of how you sound or how bad you sounded in the past. Being disappointed in your voice

Sound: “AH” as in “father”
Color: Green
Location: heart
About: This center governs the Lungs, Thymus, Lymph, Immune System, and Blood Pressure. When it is balanced you feel a healthy sense of forgiveness and deservingness. There is a healthy flow of love and harmony within.
Psychological Issue: Feeling like you’re not worthy of being loved or having a voice that is lovable

Sound: “EE” as in “see”
Color: Turquoise
Location: The throat area
About: This center governs the thyroid, neck, nose, ears, and teeth. When it is balanced, communication and self expression flow with ease and grace.
Psychological Issue: Telling yourself your are not good enough and believing it.

Sound: “OHM” like the monks say!
Color: Indigo
Location: In between the eyebrows
About: This energy center governs the pituitary gland, the eyes, and autonomic nervous system. When it is in balance, your intuition is clear, you have given up any addictions, and you understand what you have to offer humanity.
Psychological Issue: Believing that when you are singing, there is a separation between you and the audience.

Sound: “NG” as in “sing”
Color: Pink
Location: The top of your head
About: This energy center governs the pituitary gland, the eyes, and autonomic nervous system. When it is in balance, your intuition is clear, you have given up any addictions, and you understand what you have to offer humanity.
Psychological Issue: Being attached to what other people think of you.

Now that I have defined each center, you have an opportunity be more aware of the thoughts, attitudes and beliefs that govern each region of your body. If you feel blocked or tense in a specific area, breathe into that center, then continue by singing the vowel sounds. You will be surprised at how the body is quick to respond and heal; for our natural state is wellness, and singing reflects our present state.

Note: After much research and exploration on this subject, I have found several different interpretations as to which vowels, notes and colors are associated with each chakra. I have found contrasting African, Eastern, Native interpretations, and Western interpretations. My research and experience with literally thousands of students has led me to conclude the above, and that it’s not always important what vowel or note you sing, but the intention that you hold along with it, and the space you create within yourself for the shifts to occur.

Vocal Toning

Tribes and ancient civilizations from Babylon, Greece, Tibet, and India have used vocal toning for healing themselves and others by using the bridge of sacred sound. Releasing pent up energy through the voice can help clear tension and open up blocked energy in the body. Sound was thought to be the principle healing tool of the ancient mystery schools of Egypt where tones and chants were used to manipulate energy fields and bring about balance in the body. If we accept that harmonious sound is fundamental to health and well being, we can begin to harness it as a positive and powerful creative force with which to transform our lives. Our voice encapsulates our essence and emotional state, and is a powerful instrument of healing and communication. All sound carries a momentum of power, creating balance and harmony, or imbalance and discord. Toning is a simple process in which you influence the energy patterns in your body in a beneficial way. It doesn’t involve melody or rhythm, but the simple sustaining of a vowel sound that is within comfortable range. You can play with the pockets of resonance in your face by changing the position of your lips, tongue and vowel placement.

How It Works

We release our emotions through vocal sound, sending a ripple of vibration through the physical body and energy surrounding it. The vibration of the tone ripples through the body and subtle energy system, drawing upon the body’s natural inbuilt systems of self-healing to strengthen and balance the electromagnetic field. Our thoughts and feelings are carried in the tone of our voice. Through vocal toning we restore health by stimulating the circulation and releasing held emotions and impacted memory.

One of my favorite sounds to sustain is the vowel, “AH”. As mentioned above, it is the heart chakra and also the widest of all the vowels, [mouth is open with a relaxed tongue touching bottom of teeth] making it the most vulnerable vowel to sing on a physical level. Also, “Ah” is known as the sacred sound of God. In most languages, words that mean deity or reverence for deity have “ah” in them. Examples spelled phonetically: “Jes-Ahs”, “Jehov-Ah”, “Ahmen”, “Y-AH-weh”, “Halelu-Yah”, “All-Ah”, “Budd-AH” and the list goes on.

Earlier in the article, I had you silently inhale, while hearing yourself say “ah” in you mind. This unlocks a sacred door within you that is connected to your heart, and allows you to expand from within, and yes, activates your diaphragm. I go into more detail on how to center this chakra in my other books and materials, but it’s best to start with just the idea of inhaling a silent “ah”, and toning [exhaling] on “Ah” can help you balance and release any energy that is stuck.

Activate Your Voice, Activate Your Life!

With dedicated practice and integration of the exercises, you can watch the quality of your entire life improve, and in turn, so will the quality of your vocal expression. Remember: the way we do anything is the way we do everything. When you are able to slow down and become more consciously aware and present in life, you will have this ease and presence on the stage. Doing your C.O.R.E. work can literally transform your whole being into a lighter, more powerful, freer you. This includes: connecting to your silent loving, “ah” breath, taking more conscious breaths throughout the day with more love in them than fear, humming more often to stimulate your entire body, and toning, which can literally shift your vibration and lead to healing. The exercises I have shared can help anyone start to reprogram their nervous system in a positive way, creating the best kind of conditions for a confident, powerful voice to emerge.

About the Author

Dot Todman is an internationally renown Vocal Empowerment Coach in Los Angeles, California. [Idol, MTV, NBC TV, etc]. After surviving a life-threatening accidental surgery in 2007 and healing herself using mental discipline, along with vocal toning and chakra awareness, she rebuilt her voice, and created a leading-edge revolutionary approach to empowered singing and lifestyle, called CORE Vocal Power® to help singers, actors and speakers overcome any vocal issue and transform their voices beyond what they thought possible. She can be contacted at, or visit her websites at Core Vocal Power, and Dot’s Voice Studios.

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