One theme and practice that runs through most vocal training, be it for speech or for singing, is proper breathing. Looking at breathing mechanically, i.e. getting all the lobes working and diaphragm versus collarbone breathing, can greatly improve the “apparatus”.
At Leader’s Voice® we look at breathing in a very holistic way. While breathing properly gets more air into the lungs and thus more oxygen to the brain, and prolongs your ability to speak on a single breath, systemically it does a lot more than that. When we breathe properly, centering our focus near the navel, we become just that – more centred and more balanced. This is easy to demonstrate. A person breathing in the top part of the chest can be easily pushed off balance. A person centering their breathing much lower is more stable. We’ll let the “physio-physicists” figure that one out some day. We know it by having demonstrated it hundreds of times.
So here is where the systemic effects come in. When breathing properly, you need to pay attention to your breathing. This means that you are not, for that moment, worrying about the audience. You’re getting a little R&R from the moment. Secondly, when we breathe properly, and this includes feet well planted and about shoulder width apart, we feel more grounded, centered and balanced. Our bodies and minds are intimately connected. The wisdom traditions have told us this for only a few thousand years. For some reason, particularly in the West, we’ve come to separate them. Now it’s time to realise they are all part of one very connected system. If you don’t believe that, you are not keeping up on the latest research in neuroscience.
Back to the point. If we are, with our body, feeling grounded, centered and balanced, guess what our mind is doing…it is mirroring that sense. Now not only are we grounded, centered and balanced, physically and mentally, we are also getting more oxygen to the brain, aiding our mental processes. We get a few other side benefits as well such as a slightly deeper voice (full lungs create a bigger cavity with more resonance), better paced speaking and all in all a more confident sense in our listeners – and all this from taking a single, considered breath!