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Breathe Speak Be

Updated: Jan 4, 2023

Let's take a look at the benefits of deep breathing and how this can improve your speaking voice and find that present moment. This may be a well needed reminder for many of you or it could be the first time you are discovering the wonders of the breath.

Take a deep breath now, just do it! See how stopping and focusing on your breath helps you to grab a moment of calm. It also helps you to de-stress, relax and restore energy. If we could take ‘breath’ breaks instead of cigarette breaks at work the effects would be far more productive. I often joke about taking a short straw or a rolled up piece of paper and breathing in and out through the straw as if I were smoking to give the excuse I need to take a break. It’s actually surprisingly calming and refreshing. Not sure it will catch on though!

Check out the Top 10 Benefits of Better Breathing

Breathing deeply allows the body to operate optimally and harmoniously. The effect is a calmer more efficient use of the body and mind with more energy and focus. Practice deep breathing daily to reap the benefits.

1. Release tension and pain – In states of negative emotion such as anger, fear or stress the muscles of the body, especially the upper body, constrict and tighten. The breath becomes shallow and the whole body fails to get the right amount of oxygen it needs. When experiencing physical pain the breath can become held, this is effectively starving the body of oxygen. Breathing deeply can help to relieve pain as the mental focus and the nourishing breath help the body to feel better.

2. Relaxation de-stress and gain mental clarity– breathing deeply dissipates stress hormones and promotes relaxation. As a result mental clarity is restored and a sense of calmness is restored.

3. Detox- 70% of toxins are released through the breath. On exhalation the body expels carbon dioxide, the natural waste product.If breathing is not placed correctly then other systems of the body have to compensate for the lack of expulsion. This puts pressure on the body and can lead to illness.

4. Strengthens the immune system– a good flow of oxygen into the bloodstream enriches the body to metabolise nutrients better. This in turn allows the body to absorb more vitamins to keep healthy and strong.

5. Improved use of the body – breathing deeply tends to encourage a better posture as the spine lengthens to allow the full rib swing movement. Poor breathing is often related to poor posture as well. Breathing deeply massages the organs; the lungs expand fully, the diaphragm bounces on the gut/viscera and all organs get more nourishing oxygen to function better. Correct breathing strengthens and tones abdominal muscles too. The crucial lymphatic system is driven by the breath so deep breathing helps to get the lymph fluid flowing well to rid the body of waste. Shallow breathing can make the lymphatic system sluggish. Deep breathing increases the cardiovascular capacity, improves blood circulation and improves digestion.

6. Boosts energy - As the body is working more effectively when the breath intake is good the result is more energy and an increased feeling of well being.

7. Better sleep – A clear mind and a well-functioning body enables quality sleep.

8. Makes you happier – Good breath supply increases the neuro-chemical production in the brain releasing chemicals that elevate the mood.

9. Regulates weight – whether underweight or overweight deep breathing helps to regulate the body. If underweight the oxygen feeds the cells and tissues. If overweight the increase in oxygen and the resulting relaxed state helps to burn fat more efficiently.

10. Lengthens life – Deep breathing enables the body to operate at an optimal level. With a sound use of the body and mind life is longer.

Breathe better with these quick and easy exercises:

1) The Breath Reset: Sit comfortably and place your hands on your lower belly above the navel. Feel the rise and fall of the breath. Make sure the belly rises as you inhale and falls towards the spine on the exhalation. Then breathe in for a count of 4, hold the breath for 4, breathe out for 4, hold the breath for 4 and repeat this sequence for a couple of minutes.

This exercise helps to regulate the nervous system and balances out the body and mind to a calmer state.

2). Angel Wings: lay on the floor in child’s pose. Send the breath to the back body and take deep breaths. Imagine you have angel wings attached to your lower back ribs. As you inhale imagine these wings expanding as if you are taking flight. Then as the breath comes out imagine the wings returning to their closed position. Keep this image in mind on each inhalation and exhalation.

This exercise helps to increase breath capacity which is great for actors, speakers and singers who have to master their breath for long phrases or songs.

3). Breathe the Thought: standing or sitting with a short piece of text. Mark out the phrases/thoughts or use the punctuation. Ensure the breath drops in like a surprise at the beginning of the phrase, then speak the phrase releasing all the air by the end of the phrase. Try this sample text:

One breath at a time. Breath of wisdom.

One moment at a time. Moment of harmony.

One step at a time. Step of dancing with forgiveness.

One intention at a time. Intention embracing compassion.

One write at a time. Write of positive rhyme.

One kiss at a time. Kiss to rebuild a relationship.

One prayer at a time. Prayer for peace.

One song at a time. Song to sing and heal.

One memory at a time. Memory to hold dear.

One thought at a time. Thought of love.

One hug at a time. Hug without fear.

This exercise allows your words to be grounded in truth and well supported by the breath. The result is a fully connected voice.

Being mindful of the breath is really life enhancing. Get in touch with us at ZEN Voice & Body to find out more helpful exercises and tips to feel great and be great!

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