Freeing Your Voice and Owning Your Worth with Sara Giita Flores
Curious to align your self-expression so you can unlock your worth, wholeness, and creativity?
When your voice has historically been dismissed, devalued or disrespected, you may struggle with voice-related fears and blocks.
In this week's episode I'm talking with Sara Giita Flores, a voice teacher, speaker, writer, and musician on embodying the transformation of silence and shame into radiant self-expression.
Listen in to discover how we can reclaim our worth, wholeness, and creativity by training and trusting our voices.
In this episode you'll discover
JOIN IN THE DISCUSSION ON THIS EPISODE AND MORE IN MY FREE FACEBOOK GROUP, FIND YOUR FEMININE FIRE HERE.
Embodying the transformation of silence and shame into radiant self-expression, Sara Giita Flores is a voice teacher, speaker, writer, and musician based near Denver, Colorado, USA.
After experiencing sexual assault at ages five and fifteen, she reacted by restricting her voice to stay small, pleasing, and palatable. Through music, Sara found a safe way to share a sliver of her true self and earned a Vocal Performance degree in 2006. By mastering the pretty and polished sounds, she opened the doorway to her decades-long healing journey that brought in yoga, meditation, trauma resolution therapy, and raw vocal sounding. Gradually Sara learned to unleash the fullness of her expression, playfully voicing her loudness, tenderness, wildness, and overflowing love for all of the beautiful souls on Mother Earth.
With 15 years of experience, Sara Giita Flores brings joy and compassion to her work of helping students reclaim their worth, wholeness, and creativity by training and trusting their voices.
Connect with Sara via her website HERE.
Follow her on FB HERE
And find her on You Tube HERE.
Want more support in bringing your desires to life? Schedule a confidential heart to heart with Amanda HERE.
EPISODE 201: with Sara Giita Flores
[Fun, Empowering Music]
Amanda Testa: Hello, and welcome to the Find Your Feminine Fire podcast. I am your host, Amanda Testa. I am a sex, love, and relationship coach, and in this podcast, my guests and I talk sex, love, and relationships, and everything that lights you up from the inside out. Welcome!
Hello, everyone, and welcome to the podcast. This is your host, Amanda Testa, and I am so thrilled for today’s episode because it’s really around unlocking your self-expression, and how, when you’re able to do that, it can also help to unlock your worthiness, your wholeness, and your creativity because, specifically, you know, when we are in a culture like we are (very patriarchal, among other things) or if there has been trauma in your history, then often times we can kind of silence our authentic voice. Especially when, historically, that voice has been dismissed, devalued, or disrespected, there could be a potential for voice-related fears and blocks.
So I am so excited because today I’m going to be talking with Sara Giita Flores, and she is going to be diving in with us on how she really helps to support women through the blossoming of their voices and sovereignty, and how by doing so you’re more able to tap into your innate creative gifts and joyfully express in the world, really transforming silence and shame into radiant self-expression. So I am so excited.
Sara is a voice teacher, she’s a speaker, a writer, and a musician, and she is just a wealth of knowledge. So welcome, Sara. Thank you so much for being here today.
Sara Giita Flores: Oh, thank you, Amanda. I’m really enjoying it.
Amanda Testa: Yeah, and so, I’d love just to, you know, start a little bit. If you don't mind sharing a little bit about what led you to be so passionate about helping women to really own their authentic expression, particularly through voice.
Sara Giita Flores: Yeah, so I see the threads of my journey going back to the ways in which my own voice was silenced and shamed.
So there is the often unspoken and unarticulated effects of patriarchy where in these subtle ways we see that the mens’ voices are more important in the movies, we see that the mens’ voices are more important in the press conferences. We absorb all these messages and all these times when we’re dismissed, interrupted, and we’re made to feel as though our role is to listen more, to be the more silent and submissive in the supportive role.
Now, I’m not saying that silence is always bad because silence can be beautiful when it is an authentic inner expression, right? But, for me, silence was very connected with shame, and that was solidified for me in two experiences of sexual assault as a child.
So I really had to narrow my self-expression to be quieter, less bold, less of stirring the pot, less of risking anybody ever not liking me so that there was just this whole narrowing of how can I fit myself into something that will feel socially acceptable so that I won’t garner that kind of criticism, attack, that kind of unsafety and unbelonging again. The way that I started reclaiming it was by singing. It was through music which started very much, for me, in the pleasing, polished sounds, in let me sing and play in environments where it’s expected like in a choir, in a recital, and that really allowed me to be seen and heard in a way that felt safe.
So the beginning of my vocal exploration was a very traditional way with a lot of singing lessons. I got a vocal performance degree, and it was actually an injury that led me to look within. I was a piano major in college, and I got a repetitive strain injury and couldn't keep playing for a while which was a gift because it led me to switch my emphasis to being a voice major, but it also made me realize that I couldn't keep running from my pain because my pain would follow me, and I needed to look within and heal. And so, with that realization that it was time to heal, it really led me through yoga, through meditation, through a lot of therapy, including trauma resolution therapy, that slowly I saw the ways in which more expression, not just that narrow, pleasing, polished, palatable self wanted to come through.
I see how -- it’s something that we hear, and it sounds kind of trite. Like, you heal yourself to heal the world, but what I’m starting to come into experiencing more is how much that is the reality, and it’s not just that I heal myself so then I can help others heal, it’s that when I heal myself, I am the collective in its healing process that I am allowing us. And so, it’s really a joy to help facilitate women in the blossoming of their voices and connecting their breath in this down-low, receiving of nourishment and air, and then to be able to send it outward in something that feels raw and true or joyful or whatever it’s meant to be in the moment, it unlocks so much joy and sensuality and just a sense of being enough.
Amanda Testa: Yeah, ugh, I love that so much.
Sara Giita Flores: [Laughs]
Amanda Testa: I can feel the passion in you just as you’re saying it to me.
Sara Giita Flores: [Laughs]
Amanda Testa: Yes. Mm-hmm.
Sara Giita Flores: Yes.
Amanda Testa: You know, I think it’s so interesting how you say the pleasing, polished, palatable self. I think that can be something that many people can relate to because it can often feel hard to express in different ways, right? And so, I’m wondering when you are working with people in helping them to be more authentically expressed, right, kind of letting go of it has to be perfect and it has to be right, you know, really kind of helping them reclaim their worth through their authentic voice, what are some things that you explore in that?
Sara Giita Flores: Yeah, that’s a great question, Amanda.
So there’s the piece of the worth, and, to me, that’s really essential to recognize that our worth is inherent. We may not always feel connected to that worth, but it is always glowing. I, personally, like to visualize that, like, flame which goes with your Find Your Feminine Fire theme, and if that flame is always growing in our belly, always glowing, then it’s really when we’re kind of on the side of feeling disconnected from that worth, when we’re in the self-doubts, when we’re in the feelings of oh, people don’t like what I have to share, nobody cares, or when we’re in the other people know so much more than me, I don’t feel like I want to speak up, or when we’re just in the I hate how I sound -- when we’re in those states of disconnection and disbelief in our worth, one of the tools that I use (which I think you’ll be familiar with because we’re connected through the work of Rachael Maddox) is dual awareness.
So it’s not that we’re trying to eliminate those self-doubting voices. We’re not trying to beat them into the ground until they disappear because that never works, and then it’s also self aggression, right? But when we’re able to soften and say I love you, I hear you, it’s okay that you’re feeling this and, in the other hand, become aware of this always-present, divinely-gifted worth that you don’t have to earn or prove and just be able to be in that paradoxical state of both being present. Like, yeah, I’ve got my self-doubts. They’re gonna come up because that’s how the mind works. I don’t know, maybe someday when I’m 70 they won’t come up.
I can’t speak to that experience quite yet, but I can say that I’ve been working with it for a decade and the self-doubts still arise, and we can anchor more deeply into saying yeah, but they can be met by this awareness of our divine -- the word that comes to mind is not just worth but, like, how necessary and essential we are as part of the collective. We are part of the whole, and our voice matters intrinsically, and it’s not about just the external markers that society is used to saying, you know, being the person who gets a million streams on -- well, I’m not going to say Spotify because delete Spotify. [Laughs] So it’s not just about those external markers; it’s about the feeling of being on fire and lit from the inside and being whole and enough is like this healing balm.
When you’re in the presence of someone else and you experience that energy, it’s like a hot day and you’re stepping under this waterfall and it just feels like [Deep Breath Out] such a breath of relief.
So yeah, to summarize, the dual awareness is really a powerful tool for working with those self-doubts about your voice, and it’s also really powerful combined with offering, you know, offering to invite a higher state of consciousness to take over, to let this experience be exactly what it needs to be, and then it’s not about just trying to shift your mindset, it’s really about softening and raising yourself into just a totally different awareness and experience where you’re able to tap into the feeling of being whole and enough.
Amanda Testa: That is so powerful to be able to do that, and I think, you know, having that, like you say, the dual awareness, like, you can be both whole and inherently worthy and divine and still have the voices and that’s okay.
Sara Giita Flores: Yeah [laughs].
Amanda Testa: You know, one of the interesting things and, specifically, to singing, I feel like people think they have to have a great voice to sing or what would be the benefit.
Sara Giita Flores: Mm-hmm. Yeah.
Amanda Testa: I would love if you would maybe speak to a little bit of what you feel like the connection is between singing and just expressing yourself in general. Like, how singing can be such a powerful tool, not just only to use your voice, but just in general in how you show up. I’d love to hear you share more about that.
Sara Giita Flores: Yeah, definitely. So, you know, recorded music has really changed the way humans interact with music and singing.
Before recorded music, most people sang whether they were part of a tribal culture and they sing in rituals and gatherings. Whether they sing in church, whether they sing in another form of religious worship, and also just people at their parties. They’d get together, and somebody might have a violin, and they would get together and sing, and it didn't matter if you had a good voice. You know, maybe you wouldn't be the leader if you couldn't sing in tune, but you’d just join in. I lament the fact that now there’s not that much singing and there’s not that much collective singing because recorded music is great and listening to singers we love who can do amazing things with their voices is fun, but it doesn't mean that you shouldn’t sing, because if you feel the urge to express something, then it is such a joy to let it come through in the same way that a child does.
I have kids, and I know that I watch my children making art, for example, and it’s just about the fun, and it’s about the process, and it’s about the joy of making something, and if you sing or make any kind of vocal sound (which we all do because we speak), then I think it’s really powerful if you have the interest to just let yourself sing or vocalize for fun and to practice non-judgement with your sound, because we’re really taught that there’s good sounds, there’s bad sounds, there’s acceptable sounds, there’s weird sounds, there’s embarrassing sounds, and it’s quite a fun practice to say I’m gonna make some sound -- ahhh, ahhhh -- and it may be totally weird, and that’s okay. We’re not gonna judge things as good or bad. It’s just something that arises in my belly, and when I breathe in, then it wants to send that air over my vocal chords which want to join together and create some sound that just changes -- it actually shifts the air and the objects in the room.
So when you create a sound, these sound waves are actually pushing the air molecules and reaching all of the things and all of the people in the room, and reaching all of the cells of your body. So it’s a measurable vibration that you are creating. And yeah, I invite listeners who have a little interest to just return to it being for fun just for exploration. You know, it’s like a visual art is not my medium, so it’s easier for me to let go of trying to be good. So it’s like scribbling on a page. If you just let yourself make some sounds and see what wants to arise, it’s a reconnection to our wild soul and to our sensual nature and just to enjoying feeling the sound.
The feeling of producing sound, in your body, can be fun. [Laughs]
Amanda Testa: I love how you say it’s like a scribble on a page.
Sara Giita Flores: Yeah. [Laughs]
Amanda Testa: That is really striking to me. I love that because -- it’s funny, I think we talked about this last time is that I have been taking singing lessons which is so -- and part of it is because of this just, like, wanting to have more fun with expression, but what I find is so interesting is that so much can come up when we do these types of -- because it is a somatic activity, right?
Sara Giita Flores: Yeah.
Amanda Testa: And so, you can find, like, wow, there’s a lot here that I didn’t realize.
Sara Giita Flores: Yes.
Amanda Testa: But I think it’s funny just realizing, for my own self, my experience was this filter of judgment that, like, lives in my throat. It’s like oh, I’m only gonna let out something if it's perfect. Mediocrity does not exist. There’s no room for that.
Sara Giita Flores: Yes.
Amanda Testa: You know, these are all just things that I’ve heard in my life. It’s so interesting, and I love how -- yeah, just making sound for fun and scribbling with your voice. [Laughs]
Sara Giita Flores: [Laughs]
Amanda Testa: It’s so fun, and I know you’re gonna take us through an exercise in a little bit, but I’d love to just ask you a little bit more.
You know, you were talking about how using your voice can elicit your wildness, and one of the holistic sex tools I love is using sound, like, sounding, making noise. I’d love to hear you share your perspective on how playfully exploring your voice can help open up your sensuality even.
Sara Giita Flores: Yeah. Yeah, that’s great. Well, you know, in some ways it relates to what you said which is a really common pattern with your throat that you feel like, well, it needs to be perfect to come out, right? [Laughs] And I’ve definitely seen that in other women, the restriction around the voice. So it’s kind of like if there’s a restriction in your voice, it’s a restriction in your being. So if you start to soften into feeling why that restriction wants to protect you, why it wants to be there to keep you safe, and you start feeling into what might be even more supportive, how might it start to feel safe, how about those muscles, the energy patterns, the parts of your psyche that feel scared to be more freely expressive and make mistakes, how could they feel safe opening up more?
Then what happens is you can think of it in the same way as, you know, if you're feeling a little bit restricted in your body and you start a practice of dance and inhabiting your body (which I know is recommended by a lot of people like Mama Gena), then it’s going to change how you experience intimacy with yourself or with a partner, and it’s going to deepen how you can really tune in, get out of just being in your mind, and what does my partner think of this, is this okay, are they feeling pleased, are they judging me, are they getting bored, you know, all these internal dialogues that can go on even when we’re in intimacy or even just the checking out, the need to dissociate when we’re intimate.
So, for me, opening the voice is an extension of learning how to inhabit your body, and for most people, the getting more comfortable with coming inside and noticing your sensations and being present with whatever you find in there for, you know, whatever amount of time it may be that you can -- it might be for 20 seconds, and then that’s enough of being in your body for now, and that’s totally fine. You gotta be where you’re at, but the voice work, then, when you're getting a little bit more comfortable in your body, the voice represents what wants to come into more being, what wants to come into more form and expression.
So it’s like if you're able to tune into your body and to those sensations and you’re able to take a deep breath, and say ooh, my belly expands when I take a breath and hallelujah, my belly can expand and I don’t have to judge that even though our culture says bellies need to be a certain way. [Laughs] Just let your belly come into fullness, as you breathe in, and then the sound is the expression of what you’re feeling, so the expression of pleasure. In intimacy, I mean, being able to speak up for your needs and set boundaries when needed is so healing. So I notice, also, that voice work helps with setting boundaries, helps with stating this is what I need, this is what I’m comfortable with, and just being able to trust that you deserve to voice those needs.
So that’s kind of the first layer, being able to safely assert and express what you need and want in intimacy, and then when you open up some of the wild sounds and you get comfortable with howling or growling on your own, then it’s likely that you may find you enjoy some moaning when you’re in an intimate situation and that it just feels so freeing [Breath Out] and like a natural extension of all the pleasure that you’re feeling in your body, which isn't to say you have to be loud all the time. As I’ve said, I have kids. Sometimes there are times when, you know, you want to express truly but gently. [Laughs] So everything is, you know, for the time, place, and person, but just spending a little time letting yourself explore some wild sounds can definitely open up your capacity for feeling and expression.
Amanda Testa: I think it’s so interesting too, ‘cause I was just pondering this the other day. I was like okay, when do I feel like I make the most authentic sounds, and it’s usually during when I’m having sex with my partner, you know, and we’re really just -- when you’re just so dropped into the body and you're just like oh, whatever’s there. Or obviously, you know, I really do feel like what you say, allowing those different sounds for your body to make also opens up a little playfulness too.
Sara Giita Flores: Yeah, yeah.
Amanda Testa: Because when you can be silly and make silly sounds and let it all be okay -- and it’s interesting because I am great with all that, but then when it comes to, like, singing, that’s a whole nother realm which is why I’m doing that work right now because I was like this is something [Laughs] that feels challenging, and partly because, you know, I grew up singing in choir and always have been a speaker but not a singer. It’s interesting, ‘cause that is where it’s interesting. It’s like there’s so much judgment on my singing voice that we’re unwinding.
I know a lot of it. I know where a lot of it stems from, but it’s just so interesting. I just love how deeply connected everything in our systems are and how it can be so fun to just explore. Like you say, it can just open up these new avenues of authenticity and wholeness.
Sara Giita Flores: Yeah. Right.
Amanda Testa: They’re all fun.
Sara Giita Flores: Yeah.
Amanda Testa: So I know you were mentioning that you have a little exercise that you’d like to share.
Sara Giita Flores: Mm-hmm. Yeah.
Amanda Testa: Would you be willing to tell us a little bit more about that?
Sara Giita Flores: Absolutely. So this is an exercise that I call playing with instinctual sound, and the invitation is to play, to have fun, to let yourself be silly, wacky, weird, maybe sound like a little kid, maybe sound like an animal, or maybe make some very plain and not at all unusual sounds. Just whatever wants to come through, and it’s a really simple practice.
I just make a sound and then I’ll pause so your listeners can, if they wish, explore something. But I do want to mention that sometimes this work is pretty edgy for people, and it is completely fine if you just want to listen because that may be exactly what you need to receive. It’s also completely fine if you just want to listen and then you respond with a simple humming or just saying a word like, “I am here with myself.” That would be a phrase. [Laughs] And, you know, if you're driving, probably, you might want to pause and come back to this or something, and if you're watching dishes, watch out because you might break some. [Laughs] I just feel inspired!
So we’re gonna begin with just tuning in with our breathing. So I invite you to drop in, noticing how your lower ribs can expand as you breathe in.
And your diaphragm, which is this really large muscle, like a dinner plate underneath your lungs, it goes downward a bit as you take in a full breath. [Breathes In] So this opening allows the air to rush in, and when you really think about it, we take our breath for granted, but it is nourishment in the most basic and essential way. You are breathing in exactly what your cells need to thrive, and one way that I find helps tune into the receiving of nourishment is to imagine that your lungs are filling with white light as you breathe in. So take in a nice breath, let your lungs fill with white light, and receive nourishment that reaches all your cells. Now, what’s gonna happen is I’m gonna start making some instinctual or wacky sounds, and then I’m going to pause.
So listeners can just, you know, breathe through the pause and silence if they want. You can do something similar to what I do with your sound, or you can do something totally different. There is no right or wrong, and the goal here is softening of judgment. So all sounds are welcome. Pretty, ugly, weird, soft, loud, anything, it’s all welcome. [Makes Sounds] Huuuuh-ah-ah-ah. Hee-ahh, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ahhhhh.
Hoo-oooh-ooh-ah-ah-ahhhhh. Ca-caaaaaw-ahhhh. Ha-ah-ah-ah, ha-ah, ah-ah, ah-ah, ah-ahhhh.
You did it! You listened to a human making some unusual, wild sounds from the depths of her soul and if you decided to participate, then even more kudos to you because, as I’ve said, this can be edgy, but it can also be really fun. You know, when I do this with students, we really get back and forth. We end up in giggles a lot of the time because we just play off of each other, and it’s amazing to see how a woman’s whole body and face lights up when she has the invitation to just play with sound.
It’s like, you know, the sort of stupor that we get when we’re not feeling very inspired. It’s just gone, and it’s filled with this radiance that’s coming out through the body, through the sound, and the playfulness is such a key to joy.
Amanda Testa: Yeah. Ugh, I love it! That was so fun.
Sara Giita Flores: [Laughs]
Amanda Testa: And I think, too, like, you just pointed on, when you're able to just have fun with this type of thing, it does increase your creativity, I truly believe. I’d love, maybe, if you would speak to that a little bit more.
Sara Giita Flores: Yeah, so creativity is one of the big things that I love to work with, and it most definitely opens up your creativity because one of the things that inhibits our creativity the most is the filters. It’s the mental filters and the patterns that make us feel like everything has to be good, everything has to be professional quality in order to be worthwhile because we’re adults, and adults only make things if they're going to be really, really good otherwise they get criticized or laughed at and things like that, right?
So yeah, I use this exercise of playing with instinctual sound before songwriting, before any kind of writing. It can just be a way that you practice stepping outside of the judging mind. You practice sensing hmm, maybe something wants to be expressed, and there’s no right or wrong. You just let it flow. Just see what wants to arise, and yeah, I’ve definitely seen it opens up creativity for myself and for my students.
Amanda Testa: I’d love if you would share a little bit more about how you do work with students and clients and, if people are interested in doing this work more deeply with you - if there’s anything you’d like to share around that, I’d love to hear.
Sara Giita Flores: Oh, yeah. Thank you for that invitation. So I work with singers, speakers, and creative women, and the one facet of my work, because I do have a background in vocal performance, is I do work with training the voice for people who are interested. So getting really clear on healthy patterns for your breathing, your vocal mechanism, things that improve your tone. But with some students, the focus is a lot more on this unlocking the energetic aspect of self-expression. So we work some with chakras and using our voice to balance the chakras and working through those kinds of patterns that might cause some constriction or self-doubt and things like that.
So yeah, I work one-on-one with people over Zoom and in person, and it’s really fun. I like working with people long term. I’m not somebody who says three hours to a new you.” I really love to see when we give time and space in between to really let things change and take root in the body, to see that change and blossoming over time, to me, is where the magic happens even though our patriarchal mindset is very much into quick fixes and solutions, I find that letting things blossom in their own time, letting the voice and your body have the time and space that it needs to really come into the alignment and the trust in your voice and self-expression is so magical.
So yeah, I love working with people one-on-one, and I also have a small group as well.
Amanda Testa: Beautiful, and where is the best place for people to find out more about you?
Sara Giita Flores: Yeah, so the best palace would be my website which is saragiita.com. It’s an unusual spelling. S-A-R-A, and Giita is G-I-I-T-A, dot com, and from there you’ll be able to find links to Facebook, YouTube, and places to hear music as well.
Amanda Testa: Beautiful. Well, I am so thankful for you coming on and sharing all this goodness, ‘cause I do truly believe the more expressed we are, the more confident we are in, you know, tuning into our expression and allowing that to shine in the world is so huge. I just want to applaud all that you’re doing in the world and thank you for being here.
Sara Giita Flores: Yes, my pleasure, Amanda. It was so fun to connect with you.
Amanda Testa: Yes, and I’ll make sure, as well, to put in the show notes where you can connect with Sara and learn more about all of her offerings, and thank you so much for tuning in. Please have fun with the vocal exercise.
[Fun, Empowering Music]
Sara Giita Flores: [Laughs]
Amanda Testa: I’ll encourage you to try it, and, you know, if you want extra bonus points, maybe get your partner in, too, and notice how that feels to have a little playfulness together. Yeah.
Sara Giita Flores: Yeah, that’s a great idea, Amanda. Thank you so much!
Amanda Testa: Yes, all right. We will see you all next week!
[Fun, Empowering Music]
Amanda Testa: Thank you so much for listening to the Find Your Feminine Fire podcast. This is your host, Amanda Testa, and if you have felt a calling while listening to this podcast to take this work to a deeper level, this is your golden invitation. I invite you to reach out. You can contact me at amandatesta.com/activate, and we can have a heart-to-heart to discuss more about how this work can transform your life. You can also join us on Facebook at the Find Your Feminine Fire group, and if you’ve enjoyed this podcast, please share with your friends. Go to iTunes and give me a five-star rating and a rating and a raving review so I can connect with other amazing listeners like yourself.
Thank you so much for being a part of the community.
[Fun, Empowering Music]