Release on the Inhalation (Breath)
19
October

By Adem Lewis / in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , /


Hi it’s Elissa Weinzimmer founder of
Voice Body Connection and it is time for another how to warm up video! how to warm up In today’s how to warm up video we are covering an exercise that I call
release on the inhalation. Now this is a really really important breathing
exercise because when your body learns how to take an easy inhalation, it means
that you can actually deliver text or a monologue or a speech or a song or
whatever it is with a lot more ease. Think about what happens when someone
points at you and says “breathe.”. Probably your body does some version of this
takes an effortful inhalation, maybe your shoulders go up, or maybe you just go and
take a breath. So the idea of taking a breath is actually a little bit silly
because you don’t actually need to steal air from the outside world but it’s fair,
our body is hardwired this way. It’s wired to take an effortful inhalation, do
work as we inhale, and then release as we exhale. And this is how we breathe
when we sleep, this is how we breathe most of the time when we’re walking down
the street. But there’s an issue with breathing this way when we are speaking
or singing because while I’m talking to you right now, I’m doing the work of
talking on an exhalation and I can prove it because if I were to start talking on
an inhalation it would sound like this. And that’s not how we talk. So we
definitely talk on an exhalation. It’s egressive not ingressive which means
that the only opportunity to take a break while we’re talking or singing
continuously is on the inhalation. So wouldn’t it then be lovely if we could
release and take an easy inhalation so we’re not doing extra work? Otherwise we
might get into talk talk talk talk talk breathe talk talk talk breathe talk talk
talk talk talk breathe and you know how that feels when you’re in front of
people and you’re doing that: Hyperventilation So what we’re going to
do is teach our body to make an easy recovered expansive inhalation and we’re
gonna do this using an exercise called progressive relaxation. But here’s the
thing, when progressive relaxation is normally taught, you go through
different parts of the body tensing and releasing. As you tense you
squeeze and as you release you exhale. So you inhale as you squeeze and you exhale
and relax and that is indeed what happens if you do this exercise
progressively through different parts of the body at the end you’ll be relaxed
you’ll be ready to take a nice nap on the couch, have a glass of wine
chill out, you’re not ready to perform, right? That’s actually not the state we
want to be in to perform. Total relaxation is not the goal it’s about
alertness and readiness and responsiveness. So when we reverse this
exercise when we squeeze as we breathe out do the work as we exhale and then
release as we breathe in that’s gonna teach our body what it feels like to
have an expansive inhalation. So let’s try it we’re gonna start with our feet. So squeeze the muscles in your feet and breathe out and then relax your feet, let
your breath come in. Good, squeeze the muscles of your feet again and breathe
out relax let the breath come in, good. And we’re gonna do three times in each
place one more time squeeze your feet and breathe out and relax let the breath
come in. Now a couple things to say before we go to the second spot which is the knees. First of all you may have noticed
I was making sound on the exhalation but then the inhalation is really quiet.
The reason for that and that’s good is because totally fine to do work and make
sound on the exhalation but when you let go of all of the tension that would be
in your throat or your shoulders or your neck or up here around your voice box
and your vocal cords, when you just let all of that go the air will come in
silently because since you’ve made your lungs smaller by squeezing (yes I know
we’re down at the feet right now but it’s happening) since you’re making
things smaller, they’ll want to recoil and expand and as
long as the airway is open the air will come in. So aim for that easy silent
inhalation as we go along. Just one other thing to say about the feet since we’re
way down below the lungs is that even though the air is not going down to your
feet it actually is true that the shape change of your body feels like breathing.
So if you can allow shape change to be breath then really it’s sort of like
when yoga teachers say crazy things to you like “Breathe into your feet.” Make
sense? That’s what they mean. So okay good let’s go down to the knees now Take two fists between your knees like so, squeeze your legs together and breathe out release, let the breath come in. Good,
squeeze and breathe out, release, let the breath come in. Squeeze and breathe out release and let the breath come in. Very
nice. Now the next place we’re gonna go is to the buttocks and this is a very important place to use because when people walk around as a tight ass if you
will they are clenching their buttocks. So this will help us release that area. I
hope now that we’re practicing the exercise in feet and knees you can also
feel that your body is starting to calibrate and understand how to do what
it probably wants to do backwards, right? So keep going and your body will
calibrate as you keep practicing this exercise. Let’s go to the buttocks now Squeeze the muscles of your buttocks and breathe out, release, let the breath come
in. Good, like the breath is dropping all the way down to the bottom of your torso.
Squeeze and breathe out, release, let the breath come in. Nice and you may notice
now I’m doing this with closed eyes because sometimes it’s nice to go inside
as you do it. Squeeze and breathe out, relax, let the breath come in. Good!
Hopefully your body’s starting to calibrate and feel that squeeze and breathe out and release and breathe in works. And
by the way, I know it’s a little bit out of rhythm as I’m introducing this to you
and we’re going between feet and knees etc. But doing that on purpose so your
body can calibrate in terms of oxygen as well but when you start practicing this
on your own and you’re getting better at doing it feel free to keep it in a
rhythm as long as you don’t over breathe, okay? So next place we’ll go is the low
belly put your hand on your low belly between your belly button and your pubic
bone. Take that part of your low abdominal muscles and draw them in and
up towards the front of your spine and breathe out. And then release those
muscles, let the breath come in. Good. Squeeze and breathe out, release let the
breath come in. Nice. Squeeze and breathe out, release, let the breath come in like
a recoiled easy breath. Now you may notice if you remember the breath
support exercise in this How to Warm Up series, that action we just did is the
same as the “Shh, let it go” or the “Hey, let it go” that we’ve been doing. So these
exercises are really good to do together in tandem, okay? Next step is to bring the
shoulder blades together down the back and breathe out and then let them spring
open, let the breath come in. Squeeze and breathe out, let them release, let the breath come
into the back. Squeeze and breathe out and let that go, let the breath come in.
Okay moving up to the hands. So bring your hands up and squeeze
them into fists and breathe out and then let your palms, your hands, your arms expand, let
the breath come in. Very nice. Squeeze and breathe out, let your body open, let the
breath come in, almost like the sensation like it’s coming in through your palms
like you had mouths in your palms. Squeeze and breathe out, down to the
bottom of your breath, inhale as you expand. Very nice. Moving up to the
shoulders and the neck you’re going to lift your shoulders slightly and shorten
your neck. Don’t overdo this one or you could crunch a little too much. But just
gently squeeze and breathe out and then release, lengthen, let the breath come in.
Squeeze and breathe out, release and let the breath come in. Good. Squeeze and
breathe out and the movement leads the breath as you release, breath just comes
in. Very nice! And up to the face squeeze the face and breathe out. This
part’s silly. Release, let the breath come in. Two more times. Squeeze and breathe
out, release, let the breath come in. Squeeze and breathe out
and then release let the breath come in. Very good! Okay and finally we’ll just do
the whole thing a little bit everywhere in all parts of the body. Squeeze
everything we’ve squeezed and breathe out. Expand your body, let the breath come in.
Nice, easy squeeze and breathe out. Expand and let the breath come in. So
easy. Squeeze and breathe out, everything opens releases and the breath comes in.
So good! Okay so that is the release on the inhalation exercise. We did feet, knees, buttocks, low belly. We did shoulder blades, we did hands, we did shoulders and
neck, we did face, and then we did the whole body. So as you practice it you can
do three in each place, you can do two you can really do this in whatever way
you like. But I highly recommend that you practice this exercise often until your
body starts to really really recognize this pattern. Now another really useful
use of this exercise is for anxiety. Because that feeling that I hope you
experienced as you expanded and breathed in is actually this really confident,
buoyant, excited feeling, right? So if you’re ever feeling anxious like before
you’re about to go on stage or before you’re gonna press record as you are
filming something, then this can be a great exercise to do. Now two more specific ways to modify this exercise. If you need to do this socially-acceptable,
no-one-notices-you version of it, you can be on public transportation or you can
be somewhere where people can see you and you can very gently squeeze
everything, breathe out and then release, let the breath come in. No one
even needs to know and conversely if you really really want to pump yourself up
and be more confident, you can do the really big version where you go squeeze
everything and breathe out and you get really really small and then you get big
and let the breath come in. And that’s maybe the toilet-stall or
around-the-corner-from-the-other-people version, okay? So enjoy this exercise! I
really hope that release on the inhalation is powerful for training your
nervous system to know what it feels like to do things easily, to have an easy
breath, to be able to be in a situation where people are looking at you and
still breathe with freedom and ease. Enjoy and I will see you in a future how
to warm up video How to Warm Up


7 thoughts on “Release on the Inhalation (Breath)

  1. This is such an accurate depiction of how a singer should breathe! Thank you for this exercise and demonstration, so helpful!

  2. Absolutely amazing! It is excellent for breath control in singing and as a relaxation and meditation technique also. Thank-you!

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