Welcome to the Speak With Your Whole Self blog! In my weekly writing, I share tips and mindset tools that will help you communicate more fully and authentically. Every Thursday I share something that pertains either to:

  • Vocal health and anatomy (How Your Voice Works)
  • Performing or public speaking (Lessons in Presence)
  • Your everyday life (Voice Body LIFE)
  • Or on the really juicy days, something personal! (Elissa gets personal)

You can also join me live every Friday at 1pm EST on the facebook page to hear a deeper explanation of that week’s blog. After all, I’m a voice teacher so I love talking!

P.S. If you want these blogs delivered straight to your inbox every Thursday, plus information about classes and workshops that I only share via email, please sign up for Voice Body Connection updates here!


Chances are really good that you’ve done some version of today’s How To Warm Up exercise before… it’s circling through all the major joints of the body. Circling is incredibly valuable because activates the fluid in our joints, and moves our bones and muscles in relationship to each other. This invites our whole body to be more moveable and follow our impulses with ease. Plus circling is simple, easy to do, and socially acceptable in most circumstances… so check this video out and let’s get circling!

Watch the Circling exercise (body) here:

Happy circling friends!!




Tongue Circles

In today’s How To Warm Up video, we’re doing a simple, awesome articulator workout that I call tongue circles. Tongue circles are a great way to give your tongue a thorough workout. What’s the value of that? Well when you understand what it feels like to reallllly engage the muscles of your tongue, it helps you understand what it feels like to let them go! And then you can be more cognizant of only using your tongue only as much as necessary during speech or singing, rather than over-engaging it, which is a common problem.

So let’s dive into tongue circles! Here we go…

Watch the Tongue Circles exercise (articulation) here:

Like making out, but you can do it all on your own! 😝😂 😜 😍




The Camel Stretch

Alright friends… today’s How To Warm Up video is goofy. Watch me make some funny faces as I demonstrate how to do the “camel stretch” to release the muscles through the front of your neck and your jaw. It’s ridiculous, it’s amazing, and it’s a fabulous stretch.

By the way – a huge thank you and big love to my teacher and friend Paul Backer for teaching me this one. Paul is no longer with us, but he brought so many students at the University of Southern California and beyond joy with this exercise and many others. We love you and miss you Paul.

Alright – here we go… the camel!

Watch the Camel Stretch exercise (body) here:

Extra bonus points if you take selfies while you do this and post them below!! 😜




The Zipper

Today’s How To Warm Up video is going to teach you a really simple exercise to “stretch” your vocal cords. Yes is it’s true, that’s possible… just like any other muscle, your vocal cords can stretch! And when they do, it actually raises your pitch. So you’ll learn this very simple, useful warm up that moves from the top to the bottom and back up to the top of your pitch range to stretch and release your vocal cords smoothly. Let’s zipper!

Watch the Zipper exercise (sound) here:

Have fun confusing your neighbors!! 😝





Do you know what a trill is? Maybe you know you can’t do one? Well in today’s How To Warm Up video, we’re going to use a bilabial trill (that’s a fancy way of saying a trill with your two lips) to warm up your voice and your lips. Plus trills are totally awesome because they help calibrate your airflow… you’ll only be able to set them into this rapid vibration trill motion if you’ve got an ideal amount of air flowing through your vocal cords. Huzzah!

Alright let’s try some lip trills…

Watch the Trills exercise (articulation) here:




Do What Feels Good

In today’s How To Warm Up video, I’m in the studio with plenty of space to move around so I can show you the “Do what feels good” exercise. This one is really important, and here’s why… yes I’ve created this How To Warm Up video series so that you can watch the Intro video, understand how to structure a warm up, and put together one of your own using all the videos in the playlist. But some days that’s just too heady/too by-rote/too prescriptive. Some days you just gotta follow your intuition and do what feels good. So check out this video to learn how following your impulses can help you do your perfect warm up.

Watch the Do What Feels Good exercise (impulse) here:




Chanting the Sound Om

We’re going full-on yoga in today’s How To Warm up video… woohoo! In this video we’re going to play with resonance by chanting the sound Om. Om, which is also sometimes written as Aum, is the yoga mantra of the whole universe. It contains within it three sounds: Ah, Oo, and Mm. Ah is said to symbolize beginning or creation, Oo is said to symbolize middle or maintenance, and Mm pertains to ending or destruction. So by chanting the full sound Om, we tap into the vibrations of the whole universe, and the 3 dimensions of space in the vocal tract. Check it out and you too can start chanting Om to explore and improve your resonance (and elevate your spirit!).

Watch the Chanting the Om exercise (resonance) here:

Happy chanting!




The Countdown

In today’s How To Warm Up video, we’re going to do a really fun simple warm up that energizes you through shaking. Check out my version of the “countdown,” which warms up both your Body and your Articulation at the same time (woot!). It’s rhythmic, fun, and almost like the hokey pokey.

And by the way – if you know and love a different version of this exercise, feel free to share in the comments!!

Watch the Countdown exercise (body) here:




The Intonation of Contrast

Check out this week’s How To Warm Up video to learn the importance of pitch variation in your vocal inflection, and how it helps people understand you…

It’s very common to unconsciously limit our vocal range when we’re reading something from a book or sharing something that we’ve memorized or said many times. However, this makes it hard for our listeners to understand what we’re saying and hear the contrast of different ideas we’re presenting. So… learn how you can read a kids book (I’ll share Dr. Seuss!) to help you embrace the extended and full pitch range with your voice!

Watch the Intonation of Contrast exercise (language) here:

Go grab a book off a kid’s/niece’s/nephew’s (your… I don’t judge!) shelf, and let’s dive in!!




The breath support exercise – “Sh, Let it go”

Today’s brand new How To Warm Up video covers my very favorite exercise for reminding your body what it feels like to engage the low belly action of breath support. If you want to be sure that you’re supporting your voice well, then check this out… you’ll learn both the “Sh, let it go” and “Hey, let it go” techniques that you can use in in every single warm up you do! Let’s dive in:

Watch the Breath Support – Sh, Let It Go exercise (breath) here:

Questions? Leave a comment!