I read an interesting article about breathing this morning. I did have a little bone to pick so here we are. The following quote is what sent up the flag.
For the body to function as peak efficiency we need to breathe as closely in-line with our metabolic needs as possible. For the majority of us that means breathing less. But that’s harder than it sounds. We’ve become conditioned to breathe too much, just as we’ve been conditioned to eat too much.James Nestor
Yes, and? The author then goes into what his “perfect” breath actually looks like which is where he lost me altogether.
Breathing should correlate to the body’s metabolic needs, this is true. Humans often take in more air than they need for the given function. Yes, and that is often caused by breath-holding patterns, some of which are learned in childhood. Yes, and achieving that efficient breathing requires one to notice what the body is doing and feeling — a level of somatic awareness. And, most importantly, that ‘goldilocks’ breath for each given function is specific to each individual physiology.
I want to see many more articles and books that introduce ideas and research about breathing in the world. I also want us to realize that there is no magic formula. The only way to understand and utilize your breathing for your best benefit is to awaken your awareness of your body’s needs and rhythms.
So that is the ask today. Choose either stillness or movement and focus on inhaling through the nose and observing your exhalation. Try to dedicate 15-20 minutes to the task.
- Did you choose to exhale through your mouth or nose (or both)?
- Do you feel like you have sufficient breath?
- Is there a tightness physical or mental around this breathing exercise?
- What thoughts, ideas, or sensations arise as you observe your breathing?
Try to observe your breath without judgment, especially negative judgment. Be curious and trust this fact, the body seeks balance. Your own neurology wants to help you get this right. And right, is a particular state in your physiology.
This Friday at 12:30 pm EDT, Gina will host an office hour over Zoom that will also be live on FB. These will be short voice alignment sessions aimed at voice skills building. Come to the Zoom for the session and/or to ask any questions you have about voice function or practice or just join me over FB Live. Register here or watch it live on the GROW Voice FB page. I hope to see you there.
Gina Razón is the principal voice specialist at GROW Voice LLC, a full-service voice and speech studio in Boston’s Back Bay. She has over 16 years of experience both as a teacher of voice and speech, and a voraciously curious voice user. Gina has worked professionally as a classical singer for over a decade and more recently as a professional public speaker. For more information on the studio or to book Gina visit www.growvoice.com.