Who I Am
Dr Ekaterina Valeeva-Farrington holds a MA and PhD degree in Linguistics and Literature from Saint-Petersburg State University, and a MA in Voice Studies from Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, London. In Voice Studies, she was a student of world leading voice practitioners, such as Jane Boston, Kristin Linklater, Cecily Berry, Meribeth Bunch Dayme, and others. In addition to this formal education at western universities, she experienced full immersion study and practice of Traditional Tibetan Medicine, and is now a qualified practitioner in the areas of external therapies and application of astrology to medical practice. She studied under renowned Tibetan doctors Nida Chenagtsang, Phuntsok Wangmo, Mägmaar Suuren and specialist in Astrology; Lama Lobsang Darji. Her main Teacher in overall Tibetan Buddhist Studies since 2006 was Choegyal Namkhai Norbu.
Unified knowledge of linguistics, phonetics, accent work, vocal anatomy and physiology with Tibetan medical and contemplative practices allows Dr Valeeva-Farrington to produce a rich curriculum of methods related to vocal health and the healing power of voice work. This combined approach that builds bridges between western and eastern methods presents an enhanced path toward vocal health, unlocking the throat chakra and achieving deep relaxation in the essential anatomical structures that are used in production of a balanced voice.
Dr Valeeva-Farrington currently works as a voice teacher in London and an independent researcher in voice studies.
Gentle Bridges Voice Work Method
“Gentle Bridges Voice Work” is a unique methodology for working with body, breath and voice that I created by combining the most effective elements of Western Voice Science, Anatomy, Physiology and Neuroscience with Eastern Contemplative practice and Traditional Tibetan Medicine. My method is designed to help body, voice and mind to rid itself of unnecessary tension and to manifest the beautiful qualities of its natural state. It has been applied practically with fascinating results, helping people experience significant shifts, both in their vocal performance and emotional wellbeing. These body, breath and voice techniques for tension release can bring the following benefits: develop vocal capacities, free your natural voice, enrich voice with harmonics, the feeling of a centred voice inside your body, allowing you to share it with the audience at the appropriate level of projection in a conscious and powerful way, and to feel the sense of empowerment while speaking to your audience.
The uniqueness of Gentle Bridges design is based on:
1. Breath and body work are drawn from ancient Tibetan yoga of breathing-in-movement (Yantra Yoga, and Harmonious Breathing), as well as inputs from Alexander Technique, popular in the actor training world.
2. Voice work combining a number of renown Western Voice schools (Linklater, Meribeth Dayme Bunch, Patsy Rodenberg, Estill Model, etc.), and techniques inspired by knowledge exchange at international Voice conferences presenting cutting-edge researches in Western Voice Science (VASTA, PAVA, OVS, BVA).
3. Mind work based on ancient Tibetan methods of mindfulness and meditation.
4. Elements of Traditional Tibetan Medicine designed for calming the mind and enhancing vocal qualities.
Gentle Bridges Voice Work Philosophy
The philosophy of my work (both practical and academic) is to create bridges between different disciplines by pairing complimentary aspects into a complete remedy. First of all, between Eastern Contemplative practices, such as Yantra Yoga (Tibetan Yoga of Breathing-in-Movement), Traditional Tibetan Medicine, and Western Voice Science.
The name of my practice, “Between Head and Heart”, aims to emphasise the Throat chakra (Voice and Breath) as the all-important bridge between the more famous Head (Mind) and Heart (Emotions) chakras. The idea is to work with Body and Mind through the Voice (Breath and Energy), and vice versa.
In developing my bridging techniques, I took inspiration from His Holiness the Dalai Lama in His scientific collaboration with Western practitioners in 1997 that produced a wonderful book called “Gentle Bridges”.
These are the “gentle bridges of gold” created through my work.
How I work – What is unique about my professional and personal approach
“Gentle Bridges” form the uniqueness of my approach.
I introduce into Voice Practice some elements of ancient Tibetan knowledge that isn’t familiar to most voice professionals in the West. Simultaneously, to the best of my knowledge, the specialists in Tibetan medicine and yoga that have mastered the aspects of these practices I use, do not apply these methods for voice work or cure.
Some aspects of my methodology reflect my personal transformative experience in Voice Work that I validated via academic investigation, and now I am passing on my findings and experience to my clients.
Besides practical work with clients, I continue elaborating my academic research on the benefits that Yantra Yoga can create for freeing the voice and enriching vocal qualities.
I regularly make peer-reviewed presentations of my research findings and hypotheses at international conferences for voice practice and voice-orientated medicine.
31st Annual International VASTA Conference 2017 Singapore “The Art of Storytelling”
32nd Annual International VASTA/PAVA Conference 2018 Seattle WA “Soma & Science: Bridging the Gap in Interdisciplinary Voice Training”
Occupational Voice Symposium-5 London UK 2017 “Occupational Voice Disorders”
Occupational Voice Symposium-6 London UK 2019 “Bridging the Gap: From Evidence Base to the Workplace”
Shang Shung Institute UK Conference, London 2017 “Health & Vitality – Himalayan Approaches to Wellbeing