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Breathing without going Viral

Here in the Northeast COVID is gracing us with two new strains just in time for back to school. As people decide whether to start masking again and whether it even matters, we are all shallow breathing. This isn’t a new phenomenon. Fully expanded breathing seems to be something people do in exercise class or to ‘blow off steam.’ As a result, our voices are functioning at a fraction of their possibility and frankly many of us are edgy.

We have been contending with a persistent air-borne virus for a very long time now. Whether you mask don’t, the constant hum of variants has us surrounded by a low-key call to restrict breath. It isn’t really hard to convince a population unacquainted with how to breathe fully that they don’t need it. Here’s the thing, failing to vary your breathing and get some quality deeper breaths in the mix makes you more susceptible to illness, not less.

Your lungs are never empty

It is easy to forget that there is always some amount of air (not necessarily oxygen) in your lungs at all times. Any air that sits in the lungs too long is pretty stale with no oxygen in sight. It is better to cycle through breaths in the body, helping you get more oxygen on board for critical functions. It also keeps that stagnant air from getting into too much trouble by developing viral loads or causing unnecessary tension.

So as you are navigating the world trying not to catch the variant du jour, trust your breathing. Don’t feel like breathing deeply in a crowded room? I don’t blame you. I’m even team mask in those settings. But when you step back out give yourself the benefit of a fully expanded breath. Try breathing in through nose as if you are taking in the most amazing scent, hold at the fullest point, and then release it slowly. Do it again. Your best defense is always going to be the healthiest you, so don’t skimp on the breathing.

Gina Razón is the Founder and CEO at GROW Voice LLC, a full-service verbal communication studio in downtown Boston.  She has over two decades of experience as a teacher of voice and speech, is a communication and change facilitator, and is a voraciously curious voice user.  Gina has worked professionally as a classical singer and more recently as a professional public speaker.  For more information on the studio or to book Gina visit

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