Dr Feelgood: Can singing save your soul?

4.00

Under the microscope: Vocal-therapy chanting workshops (Private £150/hr, group £15/hr)

In theory: Chanting and mantra repetition is a millennia-old form of meditation first practised by sages to gain higher levels of consciousness, using combinations of sounds derived from the Sanskrit alphabet. The resulting mantras vibrate nerve centres in the body, supposedly effecting positive physical or mental changes. Nikki Slade (www.freetheinnervoice.com) runs non-religious voice-work classes for groups from bankers to addicts at The Priory, and says it helps people transcend limiting beliefs that prevent free self-expression.

In practice: Nikki asked Dr Feelgood to identify a personal goal to bear in mind during the session. We began with simple sounds, which she would sing for me to repeat, and then moved on to some simple Sanskrit mantras. Dr F then had to do a bit of "freestyle", which was probably the most intimidating part of the process.

Observations: Dr F has a low threshold for embarrassment, so this was a big test. Yes, it was cringey at first, but Nikki is adept at making the most uptight souls relax and it soon became overwhelmingly enjoyable. The call-and-response chanting structure provides a focus that enables you to relax without thinking about it.

Analysis: This was previously Dr F's idea of hell, so managing to let go of any inhibitions is empowering in itself. I left feeling calm and ridiculously positive, vowing to do more, although thus far this has been limited to singing its praises to anyone I meet. Have I found my inner voice? To feel a real benefit, this is something you need to incorporate into your life, but it's a brilliant shake-up for anyone who needs to let go a little.

Prescription: It's easy to dismiss alternative therapies as frivolous new-age nonsense, but using your voice is a basic human pleasure. Try a group session – cheaper and a chance to enjoy the impressive collective sound.

Further experiments : Try it at home with Nikki's CDs (£12, from the website).

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Digital Marketing Executive

    £26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A luxury beauty house with a nu...

    Recruitment Genius: Housekeepers - Immediate Start

    £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This company are currently recruiting new exp...

    Recruitment Genius: Head Concierge

    £25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award winning Property Man...

    Recruitment Genius: Content, SEO and PPC Executive

    £20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...

    Day In a Page

    On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

    On your feet!

    Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
    With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

    The big NHS question

    Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
    Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Big knickers are back
    Thurston Moore interview

    Thurston Moore interview

    On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
    In full bloom

    In full bloom

    Floral print womenswear
    From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

    From leading man to Elephant Man

    Bradley Cooper is terrific
    In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

    In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

    Dame Colette Bowe - interview
    When do the creative juices dry up?

    When do the creative juices dry up?

    David Lodge thinks he knows
    The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

    Fashion's Cher moment

    Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
    Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

    Health fears over school cancer jab

    Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
    Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

    'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

    Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
    Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

    Weather warning

    Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
    LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

    High hopes for LSD

    Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
    German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

    Saving Private Brandt

    A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral