It’s All Yoga, Baby is Roseanne Harvey’s blog about yoga and other things, with a mission to spark investigation into the relationship between yoga, the body and popular culture.
I received this treasured advice for speaking, teaching, and preaching either from a communications professor in college or from John Ortberg—maybe both. Although I’m neither a polished speaker nor an accomplished athlete, I do have significant experience breathing.
If you are subscribing to our blogs, please note that our subscribe feature works off of an RSS reader. Tip #24 VISUALIZE When all else fails, just breatheBy Lynn Hellerstein on October 23, 2013 in 50 Tips To Increase Your Sports Performance, See It. Breathing deeply creates calmness, which is part of the relaxation process that aids visualization. Many books and teachers talk about it.  In fact, the very first thing any of us did after we were born was just this. The next time you get a massage, the next time you drive your car, sometime within the next five minutes, please, take a conscious breath.  Let it fill you up.
As singers we need all the air we can breathe as air is what will move our vocal cords and produce sound. Did you know that when we breathe normally and unconsciously, we only inhale one eight of our lug capacity?
When we breath out, the diaphragm moves upward and compresses the bottom part of the lugs, causing the air to escape. I once talked to a choir singer, a very nice tenor with a gentle voice, who told me that he was trying to expand his breath by squeezing his abs inwards as tight as he could. You can not have a lot of air to turn into sound, unless you actually breathe in a lot of air.
Many times you’ll see choir singers do the same thing while singing, as well as close their eyes and swing from side to side trying to convey feeling in their music. The secret to having an infinite supply of air when singing is to exercise the diaphragm to stay low, thus preventing it from forcing air out, but at the same time letting just enough air in a controlled and deliberate manner. Exhaling should be controlled by using the abdominal muscles and the diaphragm so that the air that was breathed in is sufficient for all the notes within a phrase. The old Italian master, and my high school conductor as well, used to put a mirror in front of their singers’ mouth when they were singing to check if they were wasting their air. The diaphragm is a muscle and just like any other muscle in the body it needs to be exercised in order to perform as desired. Some of my upcoming posts will talk about the 3 golden rules of breathing, as well as include breathing exercises for strengthening your diaphragm.
This is an excellent article, and I’ve gone on to read the article about the golden rules as well. I have this same problem i find my recorded Sounds so bad to me and i was also told to use my diaphragm and thus i am confused as well. What I’ve seen with most rock singers is that they tense their neck, mouth, and face muscles a lot when singing. Then again, your diaphragm might now be controlling your air properly, therefore letting more air out that you need for singing, which results in shortness of breath. There are a couple of different reasons why this might happen, but they are not serious, so not to worry.
This article should have been written in Chinese…correct spelling or not, there are over 6 billion people whom are unable to read it. Hi Valerie, I am not writing to you with a reply but want to ask if you have had any treatment for your diaphragm, my husband ha sjust had a scan because he had trouble breathing and they have found the exact same problem that you had.

Hi, actually when i breath with my diaphragm the air quickly goes out leaving me struggling with the notes,so please tell me what to do,and how to know my voice type, please. Ok, I am really shocked at some of the information being presented here in this original article.
Now, what IS possible to do is for a singer to feel expansion in their rib cage and relaxation in the lower body on inhalation so the diaphragm has room to fully expand. I am able to hit most the high notes then my throat tightens and I just can’t reach them anymore until my voice is rested on music in a lower key. IAYB questions, provokes thought and shines a critical light on yoga culture ~ while celebrating community, service, creativity, the independent spirit and good ol’ fun.
Just one deep breath can help reduce anxiety, panic attacks, irritability, muscle tension, headaches and other stress-related conditions. Lynn Hellerstein, has helped thousands of children and adults improve their vision and transform their lives — at home, in the classroom and on the sports field. Relish the life flowing into you, and rejoice, here you are, connected to everything in such a subtle, beautiful way! Although the idea is correct, these phrases should only be used to teach children who can’t comprehend anatomy.
It attaches to the base of the thorax (ribs) and basically separates the lugs from the stomach and intestines. At the same time, it moves laterally (outward) and causes the rib cage to expand to accommodate the lungs as they expand. At the same time, it lets the ribs to get back into place, which causes them to compress the lugs and squeeze out the rest of the air. All these movements could be nothing but detrimental to good singing as they deter one from concentrating on controlling their breathing. If they did, the mirror would get foggy, else it would remain crystal clear, which meant that all the air was turned into sound. Initially, you might have trouble keeping your diaphragm low and controlling your exhalation, but as you continue to use it during rehearsals, it will become stronger and you’ll start having better command of it.
You don’t want to miss them, so subscribe to my monthly newsletter or to my feed to learn more about breathing and to get posts about singing for choir delivered to you. I’m bored at work so I decided to check out your website on my iphone during lunch break. When I was about your age living in Europe, I had picked up smoking, too, for a very small period of time. If you can, you might also need to take a break from singing for a few weeks to give your body a chance to recover. And of course, if you sing on an empty stomach and it’s still hard for you, then talk to your physician. Just like Annabel, i love singing and i sing soprano but ta the end of it, my voice becomes coarse which is so frustrating, at one moment i thought that with a lot of practice it could get better but each that passes by its still the same, what should i really do?
The goal on exhalation (in this case, singing) is to maintain lung expansion while the air is traveling up out of the lungs (and passing the chords, which make the sound) and maintaining a steady stream of air.
I enjoy some of your articles here, and some of the things you are saying above are true, but the terminology you are using in regards to how the diaphragm functions in the phonation process is clearly wrong on so many levels.
If you would still like to subscribe, you can install Feedly or Reeder that would send the blogs straight to your inbox. This means that our lugs can accommodate 700% more air, something that can make the difference between hitting that high note with ease or stressing up about it. This will allow you to fill the bottom part of your lungs with air and take advantage of all the space in the abdominal cavities.

But when I sing, I feel like I’m squeezing my voice out of the back part of my tongue. So I googled my second problem, and saw that some said I should breathe through my nose, and some said I should breathe through my mouth.
I have been finding it more and more difficult to complete our shows as it seems like I run out of air and then am unable to hit any rangeat all. Even if you use your diaphragm correctly, a tense throat could somewhat cancel out all the good work that your diaphragm might do, and of course, it can potentially result in vocal fold nodules, tearing, and other such issues. I used to be able to feel my diaphragm lowering and my body getting full of air, and I kept it down while singing.
I feel like everytime I want to make my voice more powerful, I tense up & exert pressure on my larynx muscles instead. The doctors don’t seem to know how or why this has happened wjich is why I would love to know how you have been treated and if the problem has been sorted. How you breath impacts on how much air you are using and if you breath correctly you will get a better sound and better tone. So, how strange is it that you, as singers need to learn, or re-learn, how to breathe with your diaphragm to sing properly?
I found it very difficult to explain to my students how to do physically what is needed to control their breathing.
I’ve done some studying and am sure the breathing technique I use is probably in affective.
So, the first thing to do is make sure, your neck, throat, face, mouth muscles are relaxed. It would feel as if my lungs couldn’t fill with oxygen anymore and as if there was something in my lung cells that was preventing air from settling there. Also, this pressure on my larynx also occurs when I’m trying to bring my voice to a controlled higher or lower pitch. Some people work on this skill by singing in the mirror to see or notice how your stomach is moving and if you are havering good posture. So, once you inhale, you need to control your diaphragm and consciously make sure you keep it lowered. I am a chronic through the mouth breather and also I have had major probs with sinus so it is a slow process just to trust breathing through the nose.
I understand that most times you’ll want to communicate intensity through your face, but at least, make sure your neck is relaxed. It had become hard to sing as well and I was feeling that even my range was being affected. But now, just were te diaphragm is located, I feel like a knot there that cuts the air and I cant lower it as much as I try. And, I’ve also tried singing in the back of my throat to try to keep air in my mouth. By tensing your larynx muscles (in order to strengthen them) you actually prevent yourself from singing the best you can because you pull on your vocal folds.

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