As singers, we are continually trying to find ways to stay grounded and in touch with our bodies. Many of us have tried yoga, either on our own or through a program. During the CoOperative program in Princeton, New Jersey, I was able to experience Mark Moliterno’s program called YogaVoice® and learn just how important yoga can be for the active singer. Mr. Moliterno sat down with Modern Singer Magazine to share his love of yoga, singing, and how YogaVoice® came to be.
Mr. Moliterno is a performer, an educator of music, and a yoga instructor. He teaches voice both privately and at Westminster Choir College, and offers yoga classes in both private sessions and through his program YogaVoice®. He started his yoga practice after attending a training program in Banff, Alberta, where a member of the faculty lead a movement class that included some yoga postures. Mr. Moliterno left this class knowing that yoga was going to be something that he wanted to do for the rest of his life.
K: How did you start YogaVoice®?
M: I got hired for a couple New York City Opera National Company Tours and would always bring my yoga mat. I would always ask the hotels we were staying at if there was a room where we could roll out our mats. I was practicing, and people were practicing with me. I always had the ability to teach and explain things, but when I started hearing authenticity in singers’ voices I began to wonder: if enough singers could do yoga, would it begin to change the industry? It was around that time I realized I needed to get a teacher certification in yoga. I consulted my mentor, and he suggested specific types of certifications I could get. With my expertise in singing, I could begin a program that trains singers to come from a place that is yogic. We called it YogaVoice®.
K: What makes YogaVoice® different from other forms of yoga?
M: Yoga is about becoming aware and understanding yourself. YogaVoice® is the combination of classical yoga and systematic voice technique. What we do at YogaVoice® is understand how the singing technique connects and become organically part of your body, and how it originates from your own body’s energies.
There are five principals to YogaVoice®, and the first one is authenticity. The human voice reflects everything that is going on inside a persons mind, body, and soul. Singing coupled with yoga offers a tremendous opportunity to understand yourself and to become real and authentic in your artistry.
K: Can you see a change in singers who take a class or seminar with you?
M: I can see a change instantly. Typically in a workshop, I will give a lecture, do yoga practice, and then lead a masterclass. I am able to watch a person sing and see the cues in the body and voice where there might be blockage.
Yoga postures give you something to recreate. It’s much harder to recreate something you can’t see. By showing a singer how to embrace their voice through yoga, it gives them a real sense of ownership. It is a practice, but it is also a tool.
K: What keeps you coming back to yoga?
M: It is my lifeline. I am working on myself as a human being, and I am working on my weaknesses. It is the thing I learn from every day; it is my classroom for my own education about myself. The breathing helps me regulate my nervous system, and it grounds and levels me out. I don’t know what I would be without it.
Mr. Moliterno is the founder of YogaVoice®, and is certified in Yoga Therapy. He continues his own practice while developing the YogaVoice® program. If you are interested in finding out more information about YogaVoice®, taking a class, or going to a retreat you can find more information by going to theyogavoice.com. If you would like to schedule a class or private session with Mr. Moliterno, you can use the contact page on the site to get in touch with him.
Photos used with permission from Mark Moliterno