By Lucille Schutmaat-Rubin, Ph.D. Voice & Speech Coach, NYC
Breathing is an involuntary process. There is no need to “work at” your breathing or manipulate your breath by pulling it in or pushing it out. Instead, release any light muscles in your throat and abdomen, feel your breath and voice as it flows through your throat, and maintain an open channel from your center to your lips.
- Breathe in through your mouth when preparing to speak.
- Relax the back of your tongue on inhalation to avoid a gaspy, noisy air intake.
- Trace the breath low in your body sensing your belly rise as the air floats in and your belly fall as the air flows out.
- Monitor your breathing. Do this by placing one hand above your navel and the other below your navel. Your belly will move out as you inhale and float in as you exhale. Be sure your breath is moving your body.
- Speak on exhaled air as the belly floats in. Try this on a vocalized “AH” several times.
- Maintain a smooth, uninterrupted voice flow as you again speak “AH”. Repeat until you have given up throat and belly holding patterns.
- WAIT for your breath to drop in, reverse directions and flow out. With practice this process will vary in rate as it reflects your intentions, ideas and emotions.
- Speak in “sync” with your breath. Try this counting exercise allowing a new breath to drop in at each comma: 1, 12, 123, continuing until the count of 10. If that’s easy, go to 15 or 20. Add only one number at a time to encourage breath management.
- Allow your breath (not your mind) to dictate your rate of breathing/speaking. 10. Trust that your intentions will dictate your breath rhythm.
Note: Abdominal muscles contract if you speak on extended breath spans. Practice using shorter breath spans to avoid both abdominal and throat tightening. Release your abdominal muscles at the end of the exhale and the new breath will drop in with ease!