Learn to Breathe Like a Singer












The “homework” that I send patients home with, aside from the obvious recommendations for homeopathic remedies and dietary changes, can involve any number of specialized activities which have some purpose for moving their life forward. Various forms of recreational activities or participation in arts or cultural events can be included on this list, and taking up singing lessons is something that most of our patients could benefit from. Unfortunately, most patients, and most people reading this will have many excuses not to do this, everything from not having enough time, to being ‘tone deaf’, or to just being too shy to sing.

For those that do overcome these inner impediments, their health and treatment in general gets a major boost forward once they start to expand their breathing capacity through singing lessons, as well as start to activate their own range of emotional expression. These are very powerful ‘non-medical’ approaches to the de-armoring process, which gets to the heart of either preventing or reversing and uprooting chronic illness.

As Janet Kidd (who is a voice coach) recently wrote in her blog, the “stultification of energy is obvious in the bodies of most people in our culture”, and “I’ve often seen and heard wonderful singers who are very convincing, from the neck up” [emphasis added]. This is a clear image of the armoring process which most people are encased in to varying degrees. We are constantly dealing with patients who are “stuck in their heads”, and have little to no awareness of what sensations they have in their bodies or in their emotional minds. “How do you feel?” is a question that can often be answered only after a few moments of deliberation (and even more so in our male patients). It feels like some patients could use a sturdy shake to try to dislodge their awareness from inside their own head!

Janet Kidd in the blog post linked to above also says that singers need to “inhabit the lyrics and emotion of  a song…”, or we could say that the aim of Heilkunst treatment is to lead patients to the point of fully inhabiting the lyric and emotion of their whole life, fully embodied, and fully resonant. It’s no coincidence that both Heilkunst and music aim for a deep resonance in their respective activities.

There are many avenues to get at this fundamental disease of “stuck in the head”, and you can have a look at the interesting exercise which Janet suggested for re-connecting to your sensations of body awareness. Regular singing lessons are a great way to establish this at deeper and deeper levels, and assist in the great goal of retraining the dysfunctional breathing pattern that most adults take on. Shallow breathing functions to block off our own body awareness, and keep us stuck in our heads, and learning to sing forces us to break through this destructive habit, and progressively expand all of our life functions, as they are all dependent on proper expansion and oxygenation. I certainly notice the difference in myself between when I’ve been singing regularly and when I have not.

No more shallow breathing — I want to see you breathing all the way down to your toes!

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