Breath Awareness exercise

In order to realize the full potential of the voice as a healing instrument, we need to ensure our instrument is tuned. Last month, we learned some breath awareness exercises and using the breath as a focal point while practicing meditation or mindfulness.

Today, we will revisit this breath awareness, as diaphragmatic breathing is an important component of using the voice properly.

Breath Awareness Exercise

Get comfortable and bring your awareness to your breath. Breathe normally and notice where it ends. Does it end in your chest or does it make it to your belly?

It may be helpful to lie down and put your hand on your belly to feel it expand on thin inhale and contract upon exhale. Breathe normally for a few breath cycles, follow the breath as it fills your belly and continue following it as you exhale.

Inhale – 2- 3- 4

Hold – 2- 3- 4

Exhale -2-3-4

Hold 2-3-4

When we sleep we naturally breathe like this, it helps to conserve energy. Many of us, during the stressful parts of our day, forget to breathe properly. We often take shallow breaths, hold our breath or forget to exhale. Spend as much time here as you need to relax your body and release any lingering tension. The breath allows us to let all of that go while simultaneously filling our cells with fresh oxygen.

This is how we are intended to breathe. Deeply, fully, filling the lungs and belly and fully purging on each exhale. If you are not comfortable breathing in this way, continue to practice this essential skill daily until it becomes natural.

When stress overwhelms you, simply bring your awareness back to the breath and follow it for a few cycles, ensuring to inhale fully and exhale completely. As we move into toning exercises, this skill will be important, so keep at this one until you no longer have to remind yourself to breathe.

I often use this exercise. In my daily job, stress is abundant and breath awareness helps me to keep the daily stress in perspective.

When I first learned that I was not fully breathing, I was dancing to the emotion joy. Suddenly, while exaggerating my joy in dance, as instructed, I became over-heated and ran outside gasping for fresh air.

A fellow dancer, followed me outside and told me that she noticed I was not breathing. “Of course I am breathing!” I replied, until I noticed that my breath stopped in my chest and I tended to hold everything in, forgetting to exhale. When I finally let the air fill my belly and allowed that full breath to exit completely, taking all my pent up stress out with it, I immediately started sobbing. I could not put words to what I was feeling, and there was no need to, I simply needed to breathe in and breathe out and let the feelings flow. And they flowed.

Practice this exercise when ever you think of it, let the breath grab hold of all your daily stress and carry it out of your body on the exhale, you will be amazed at the difference. Be sure to tell us about it!

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