Stop what you’re doing right now and take a breath. Completely exhale, let go, release, feel your tummy muscles & ribs start to contract as you squeeze all the air out. Now inhale, through your nose; allow it to be long, slow, indulgent, delightful, let it expand and fill you fully. Exhale again and enjoy the release.
Indulgent? Did I say indulgent? Yes …. Indulge in your breath, delight in it, allow it to bring you fully in to your body, and in to this moment. Breathe.
I know that indulgent is usually used in relation to those things that perhaps aren’t so good for us… it may be a phrase you used in the past in relation to those things that were a part of an unhealthy pattern “I over-indulged last night.” “Allow me this little indulgence.” It’s not usually something that we do on a regular basis.
So how can taking a breath be indulgent?
Because most people don’t breathe properly; in the course of life, most people have disconnected from their breath to the extent that actually allowing the time to breathe has become an indulgence. How often do you use the phrase, “I’m so busy”?
Breathing; the most simple and vital of bodily functions. Breath is the first thing to be checked in an emergency situation, how you are breathing gives an immediate indication of your emotional or physical condition. This is where we come to the ability to express yourself – often sharing what you have to say can become an emotional obstacle course filled with uncertainties.
These uncertainties create stress, stress means tension, which means we don’t breathe fully, but we need breath to speak. Recovering your connection to breath helps re-connect you to your body. When you are fully connected to your body, you have more support for your voice, with more support – it is easier to express yourself.
Why does your breath disconnect?
When you’ve been through any kind of mental, physical, or emotional stress or trauma in your life, this is held in the cell memory of your body. It’s why a certain picture, phrase, piece of music, place, social situation, any number of things, can trigger a fear response in the body, or put you ‘back to a time when…’
One of the first things the body does in this situation is to tense – it is an instinctive physiological reaction that goes through your whole system. So, even those tiny muscles that operate the alveoli and bronchioles in your lungs, for example, hold tension. This is a massive part of the problem, your big, external, muscles you can massage, or get massaged, you know when they are tense. The internal ones are not so easy to reach.
The biggest muscle of all that deals with the flight/fight response of stress or trauma is the psoas – and it lives deep in the central cortex of your body. See here, how it is deep, connected by the lower ribs, solar plexus, behind your belly and other organs. It runs all the way behind your core, to your legs – all the better to run away, or curl up in a ball to protect your vital organs.
There are very few ways to reach this muscle, but deep, full, breathing is one way to start expanding the areas it affects.
By expanding your breath you are starting to reconnect to yourself, to bring yourself fully back in to your body.
By breathing fully in to this area, you are also stretching some of those muscles, opening them up, sending a message to the cell memory of past held energies, that it’s OK to re-visit this space physically, and let go of some of the tension. It’s why deep breath-work and voice-vibration sound healing can get emotional, because there is so much held in here that re-visiting it can trigger the old energies and emotions. Creating really deep connection to the most essential part of being alive, reminds us where we have neglected ourselves.
How is this connected to speaking?
Speaking up can be challenging. Remember the emotional obstacle course I mentioned before? If you are wanting, or needing, to speak in front of others, whether that’s in a work or social meeting, wanting to share a thought, idea, or opinion, or telling your story to someone, or speaking to an audience, this can put you in to a stress/fear state.
Thoughts like “What will people think of me?” “Who am I to have an opinion on this?” “What if they don’t like me?” “How will they react to this?” “I don’t want to sound stupid.” “What if I hurt or offend someone?” … all create a stress reaction.
The trouble is, your body doesn’t know the difference between ‘someone might not like me if I share this’ and ‘need to run away to save my life’. So it starts preparing to run away, to curl up and protect itself, or stand up and fight – and these emotions are the ones that often come out in your tone of voice.
So, to free your voice, take a moment to breathe. Take a second to let your body know that it’s OK, that you’re not in a life and death situation, that you are safe. By filling your lungs, breathing deep ‘in to your belly’* you are coming out of your head, where the imagined danger creates the fear, and in to your body – where you can start to control the muscle response. Feel the physical support you can give yourself. If you feel grounded and supported, it’s easier to free your voice. The best support you have for your breath is there in your ribs, belly and back – so start breathing.
Recover your deeper connection to your breath, it will help you recover and deepen your connection to yourself, to your deeper truth of what really matters and why, and as you do that, so step-by-step, you will start to free your voice.
*To breathe deep like this imagine that your lungs are a balloon, when you put air in to a balloon it expands, allow your body to expand as you breathe in and contract as you exhale.
by Judith Quin
Vocal Confidence Specialist, Sound Healer & Public Speaking Coach
Find out more on her website Your Whole Voice
If you would like to listen to our interview on Breath http://www.voiceamerica.tv/media/334392
Get Judith’s latest Book!! https://www.amazon.co.uk/Pay-Forward-Notes-Younger-Self-ebook/dp/B07NBXN8W5/ref=mp_s_a_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1551533006&sr=8-1-fkmr0&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_FMwebp_QL65&keywords=Pay%20It%20Forward%20Series%20Notes%20To%20My%20Younger%20Self%20Vol&fbclid=IwAR2osnxgNiAymEnAwPk7jMRqOWJSvYydyAvrvYT0AXt0PMgS–rAcTTjGJY