Breathing for anxiety relief works for singing breath support. Isn’t that great news? There are many reasons that singing lifts the spirit, but one of them is contained in the deep and rhythmic breathing that occurs when we sing a song.
I don’t know for sure, but I suspect that you, like I, are happy when you can kill two birds with one stone, so to speak. When we practice breathing exercises designed to help us with stress and anxiety, the icing on the cake is that these exercises actually help us develop our singing breath as well. Not only will we be flooding our bodies with good things like seratonin, we will be helping rid them of stress hormones such as too much adrenaline, which causes us to feel that terrible flight or fight response to the surges of hormones created when we encounter stress. We can, however, drastically reduce this avalanche of stress destruction through daily practice of the following breathing exercises.
1. Begin with steady count breathing.
When we feel stressed, we naturally tighten our bodies as way of protecting ourselves from a perceived threat. We can’t easily belly breathe at this point. We need to help our bodies relax so that we can access our deeper belly breathing, both for anxiety relief and for great singing support. We also need to relieve tension in our bodies so that we can find our free and unrestricted singing. Tension release is a must for great singing.
To do this exercise, relax your tongue and jaw while inhaling 4 counts and exhaling 4 counts. Try to soften the muscles of the neck and shoulders. Let your shoulders fall away from your ears, while bringing your body into proper alignment. As you develop proper posture and release the tension held in your hips, back, shoulders, neck, tongue, and jaw, your will be able to allow the breath to begin to fill the belly, all the way to the pelvic floor. Obviously your lungs do not extend to the pelvic floor, but opening the body to this degree will allow the entire lungs to fill with air and help us expel toxins and tensions.
2. Suspension breath.
This is another exercise to relieve stress while helping us teach our bodies to breathe properly as they were designed. The counting of the breath is a great way to take our attention away from whatever is causing stress and to help us focus only on breathing and relaxing our bodies. This particular exercise is very helpful in building the strength needed to properly support your amazing voice as well as bringing relief when you encounter stress and or anxiety. Practice this any time throughout your day, returning to normal breath if you ever become light headed while breathing in this manner. Try to incorporate this more relaxed breath and body into every moment of every day.
To perform this exercise, relax the tongue, jaw, and body, scanning your body as you breathe for any place you may be holding tension. When you notice a tight area, simply direct your breath to that area, and think of softening the tight muscles as you exhale. This really works!
Inhale through your nose to the count of 4, hold for 1 count, then exhale fully through the mouth while slightly pursing your lips for 7 counts. Continue until you begin to feel calm and peaceful. Try to feel the breath mainly moving through the belly and the lower part of the back. Picture the muscles on either side of your spine softening and relaxing while allowing the body to fully expand with air. Allow your hips to relax and feel more open. Opening and relaxing the hips will start a nice chain reaction of relaxation going all the way to the top of the head.
Try this video exercise called open your breathing for singing,to help with stretching and relaxing so that you can find this breath in your daily life and in your singing.
Breathing well is not only the pathway to great singing, but also to great health of mind, body, and spirit.
I would love to help your find your own amazing voice, so if you want, you can take a FREE ONLINE VOICE LESSON and see what you think!
Happy singing! And breathing!
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.