Breathing is like receiving a compliment. It’s not easy to let it in…
Letting in or allowing in the breath, takes time. It requires that you pause and pay attention, and notice the impact of the breath on your whole body. This is a fundamental way to work with stress and tension, even just for a moment. And it’s the first step to claiming your full voice. Connect with your breath first. Then, you can experience the power of your full voice!
Allow the breath in…don’t take it…
Taking a breath is a lot of effort. Allowing the breath is an act of letting go. It’s a release! It takes awareness and attention to let go of tension.
The body is your vocal tube, because it is the instrument for the voice. The way that you embody your instrument, from the ground up, impacts the way you use your voice. When it comes to breathing, you want to focus on your “inner tube”. The ribs, muscles, tissues and cells that are flexible, moveable and inflatable, like an inner tube. Try it!
Place your tongue on the your lower lip, to get it out of the way. Glamorous, I know! Place your awareness behind the tongue, in the back of the throat. Visualize a cave that is the entry way for your inner tube. Now, send a message to your brain: “Allow the breath in.” Then, when you’re ready: “Release the breath out.” Let the breath come in and out through your mouth. Feel the coolness on the back of your throat. Become mindful and observe your body opening. Take your time and wait for an impulse to breathe in. There may be a natural pause here.
- Do not actively try and calm down or relax your breathing. Simply pay attention to how…you…breathe
- Relax the eyes into peripheral vision, letting the jaw go slack, and become aware of your back body. Let go for a moment of the speedy, forward moving busy, busy world, and touch into a quiet place of observing and trusting your body’s wisdom..
- It’s crucial that you release the muscles of the abdomen or belly, and not wear tightly fitting clothes around your middle.
- You do not need to take a deep breath. It’s not important at this point to fill up your lungs. Less is more.
- You can do this at a stop light, on a walk, or in a stressful moment. It’s true, you may need privacy to let your tongue hang out!
Being with the breath is nourishing for the nervous system. It can also open up a reservoir of deep feelings that are held in the body. Our habitual way of breathing, which may be shallow or restricted, is often due to how we managed feelings in the past that were too painful to experience at the time.
So, these feelings can come to the surface when we turn our awareness towards our breathing. At the minimum, this is an opportunity, to acknowledge that the feelings are there. You may not be ready to address them, but there is relief in taking that first step and acknowledging them. And if you have the opportunity to speak with a friend or therapist, then by all means. It is a gift to unburden yourself of grief or pain that you’ve been carrying for so long.
Let the light in…Allow the breath, don’t take it.