Vocal Yoga: Medicine Melodies, Ah Ohm Hoong Rahm Zah

A moment remembered from the Women’s Creative Writing and Yoga Retreat:

Our yoga guide Beth Miller gathers us around her in a circle.  We sit on chairs, backs tall.  At the head of the room is the traditional Zapotec altar complete with candlesticks and an incense burner ready for the next celebration.  Forefinger touches thumb to form a circle.  We rest arms on knees, close our eyes, take a deep breath and then another.  Inhaling yet again, deeper, each of us releases sound from within, from the center of our being.  From the third eye, to the throat, to the heart, to the belly, to the secret chakra of the woman’s womb, the place where we release the child from our bodies, whether real or imaginary.

Beth will be teaching this summer, July 5-11, in Teotitlan del Valle.

We sing clear, mouths open, full.  It does not matter if one or the other of us cannot carry a tune.  There is no shame in our voices as we expel the breath and accompanying sound.  It fills the room and the walls reverberate.  The sound is another sister and it envelops us.  Elena Gutierrez, in whose home we practice this vocal yoga, tells us we sound like a sacred ashram.  The melodies we chant become integral to the creative energy we develop as each day passes.  The sound gives us connection, power, peace, and allows us to lift our creative voices high.

With hands put together in the prayer of honoring each other, we bow and leave the room in silence.

This silence is sparkling clean.  Bird sounds are amplified.  The cup placed onto the tablecloth is an act of intention.  The table vibrates slightly to receive it.

Next is the taste of crunchy fresh tortillas soaking up spicy black bean paste topped with slivers of sweet white onion, translucent.  A sprinkle of chopped fresh cilantro and queso fresco like white paint splattered on a black canvas adorns the morsel.

My spoon cuts and I lift spoon to mouth, taste the crunch again, the corn ground by Magda’s able hands, formed in her palms, toasted on the comal in the courtyard, turned four times by fingers old enough to tell the story of eternal woman.

The black heat of bean paste smeared on tiny tortilla, the crunch of corn with cilantro punctuation are full in my mouth.  My tongue receives them like a host, hot flame of spice engulfs my mouth, a vessel holding the flavors of earth.


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