Voice and Embodiment Warm-Up Exercise Videos for Preachers
Actors use voice and body warm-ups as they prepare for rehearsals and performances. Preachers, too, can benefit from such exercises as they prepare to write and to give sermons. Here are two videos of the Rev. Dr. Ruthanna Hooke leading the first cohort of Preaching Fellows from Deep Calls to Deep in Voice and Embodiment Warm-Ups at their mid-year retreat. Both videos are based on the approach to freeing the natural voice developed by Kristin Linklater.
The first video is the full warm-up that preachers can follow (or choose exercises from) in order to prepare themselves to engage the text with their whole being: body, voice, mind, and spirit. These exercises can be done at any point in the preaching process to center you, the preacher, but can especially be useful as you are generating ideas for your sermon. It can be powerful to do this warm-up and then read out loud the Scripture text on which you are preaching; notice how the text resonates differently in your body and soul, and see if this directs you toward what God is prompting you to say in your sermon.
The second video is a 6-minute warm-up that you can do on Sunday mornings in your office, or, ideally, in the empty sanctuary before the service. It takes you through a process of physical awareness, awareness of the natural rhythm of the breath, connecting breath with thought and feeling, and connecting breath and feeling with sound in the body. This short warm-up will enable you, when you step into the pulpit, to feel that "I am here in this room with all of you," that essential quality of presence that gives preaching its authenticity and authority. You might try saying this sentence to yourself in that moment of silence before you begin to preach.