On The Wellness Of Voice: Sounding Om

by Thomas Brett

Yoga class.

The lights are off,
the dark space peaceful,
and we sit quietly on our mats,
legs crossed, hands prayed in front
of our chests –
Namaste.

With one unison breath
we chant Om
on a
single
unison
pitch–
centering and togetherness
through collective sound.

We’re a choir of Om.

But there’s a problem.

Some guy–there’s only a few of us guys in the class–
is way out of tune.

Like, way out of tune.

He chants a rogue note
about a flat major sixth below
the women’s voices
(and a flat third above mine)
and this deflated, nauseous tone
creates instant dissonance,
conflict
and tension.

The rogue chanter
clearly listens to his body,
follows his inner voice

but the rest of us
hear only his outer voice
tearing at our consonance,
a threat to our euphony.

So what to do?  What to do?

But no one says anything.

We’re too busy
chanting Om
and anyway,
warm up
is now over.