Essentially, breathing is… breathing. If you are alive, it’s working.
Efficient breathing for sport and speaking brings in a whole other way of thinking – and we run into all kinds of opinions.*
Speaking is an athletic endeavor. Like singing. (Well, at least when loudness is involved – quiet singing and speaking are not as athletic.) The athletic breath involves deep breathing with easy lower lung and intercostal muscle expansion.
Your back may expand. Your lower ribs may swing out. Rarely does your tummy pooch because those muscles are engaged in the athletic endeavor to keep you upright, moving, etc.
Shoulders should be relaxed, not moving up toward ears. Movement in shoulders usually indicates tension. Tension messes with the voice. Shoulders almost always indicate an anxious breath and a shallower breath.
The diaphragm is involved no matter what – so let’s not go there.
Athletic breath is deep and full and connected to the grounded body.
Anxious breath is high and shallow and causes all kinds of tension.
Breathe like an athlete and speak like a champion!
written by Hilary Blair
* It’s amazing how many differing opinions are out there about a physical process that is defined by science!