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Mechanics: Contracts and Releases

We are here to talk musculature, not legal instruments but, in a way, the concept is the the same. One process binds and the other holds free. Neither is inherently good or bad.

For the most part, the muscles in our body work in paired relationships. A contraction in one triggers a release in another, the reverse action causing the relationship to invert.

We get into problems when we can easily achieve contraction but fail to allow release. A common culprit for voice use is when contraction in support of breath use, doesn’t fully release the muscular components. This leads to less effective breaths as the use continues. There are other patterns we can look to as well. For example, if the muscles of the back of the neck are locked (perhaps caused by a pattern of screen or device use), the shoulder blades may fail to contract to allow for better alignment for breathing.

These are just two patterns, but it is unrealistic to believe that you can live in the societal structures we have built without developing others. Places where contractions hold. This doesn’t just limit those muscles and the processes they support. It also prevents their paired muscles from getting their turn and staying effective.

The invitation today to move. To think of engaging with active flexibility and notice where there is resistance. Perhaps noticing what movements you avoid, not because of injury but because of difficulty. Within the reality of your body, explore the possibilities of uncommon ways of using your musculature. Then, try to invite a return to balance in those muscular pairs. Where is the dance of contract and release?


Gina Razón is the principal voice specialist at GROW Voice LLC, a full-service voice and speech studio in Boston’s Back Bay.  She has over 16 years of experience both as a teacher of voice and speech, and a voraciously curious voice user.  Gina has worked professionally as a classical singer for over a decade and more recently as a professional public speaker.  For more information on the studio or to book Gina visit www.growvoice.com.

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