WHY IS BREATHING SO HARD? I get a lot of clients who say simply that. I don’t think I’m breathing ‘properly’, they say. Or, I don’t think I’m breathing in the ‘right place’, ‘using my diaphragm’.
It shouldn’t be difficult should it. I mean we all do enough of it. Been doing it for years.
And the problem is quite simple: emotion.
I’m not saying don’t get happy, don’t get excited.
I’m sure we’d all rather not get too sad or down-hearted.
But the truth is when our emotions change, so does our breathing. It gets unsettled. And that can upset our voice. Because the voice likes things to be good and steady. Good flow of air coming in, and smooth flow of air going out.
What are you doing at the moment? Are you breathing in or out? You don’t have to do anything, or think you have to change anything. Just be aware. Is the breath going in or out.
When you know you’re in a breathing-out phase, focus on your stomach area. As you get closer to the end of that out-breath your stomach will probably feel a bit tighter, a bit emptier. Especially if you lengthen that out-breath a bit? Without feeling ill or panicky!
That bit of tightness in the stomach is a sign, a useful sign, that you’re soon going to need to let some more breath in.
Best advice: don’t fight the breath, just let it flow, don’t think it needs to involve a lot of effort. And you don’t really need to make any noise at all, either when you breathe in or when you breathe out. I always encourage clients to practise in public – on a train, in a cafe or office. If people start staring at you, you’re overworking!
Sometimes this little exercise is described as WATCHING YOUR BREATH.
And that’s what you do, you watch the breath go out – you could imagine it floating away in front of you. And you watch the new breath coming in, to fill the empty space.
And if you repeat the exercise a few times, you might even begin to feel a bit more relaxed…
Now there’s a thing! I do hope so.
You might like to practise for a minute or so before you go into a meeting. Social or business.
Any occasion when your breathing might feel a bit unsettled.
Please get in touch if you need more advice about you and your breath and your voice.