22.6.22 –

Why Breathing Matters.

Barbara Tanze

Breathing is a funny thing.

 

A bit like a car. As long as it works, we don’t think too much about it, but once it starts to make funny noises, we start freaking out.

And this is where this analogy ends for me because I have no idea about cars but I have studied a ton about breathing over the last 2 decades.

First, as an opera singer, then later to help myself and others as a breathing coach and therapist.

And if there’s one thing I can share with you that is universally true (very little is…), then it is this:

The more you invest in knowing how YOUR body feels, reacts and functions, the more tools you have once you get to the “funny noise” situation.

Causes for that can be plenty and are not always preventable (even though I won’t say that a reasonable lifestyle doesn’t help) as we saw with the recent Covid pandemic. I think it’s fair to say that not one of us will make it through life without some tough passages, physically, mentally or both, and a solid relationship with our body is something that comes in handy- especially when things aren’t quite as perfect as we would like them to be.

 

Breathing is one of the few mechanisms in our system that we can manage voluntarily even though it’s mostly automatic

 

The quality of our breathing mechanics and physiology impacts ALL of our bodily systems in one way or another – from our heart to our digestion to our nervous system.

For us as singers it has an additional meaning, as it directly influences our unique musical instrument as well and as we all realise, replacing our voice is practically impossible should things go seriously wrong.

The relationship between voice and breath has been described for as long as mankind makes sounds and yet…. 

do we really give it the attention it deserves?

Do we really “listen to OUR bodies” when we try to optimize our breathing and voice?

Or is it easier to just listen to some instructions online, copy-paste some exercises and be content with a sound that satisfies the demands of our teachers/directors/audience?

How deep do we need to dive into our own breath, our own sound, our own soul to unearth the vibrations that make our entire body gleam with joy?

When I started out as a singer, I was happy with sounding “ok”, I was easily satisfied with what I heard, everything seemed easy.

It wasn’t until my body gave me clear signs of instability (both vocal and mental) that I finally turned inwards and asked my body “what do you need from me”?

It needed to breathe and be seen as a partner rather than a commodity.

That’s when I started to learn the language that we both share. I started to understand the power of breathing as a tool to connect my body and my soul.

So far, my breathing journey has taken me to places of vulnerability and exhilaration, made me dive
deep into rabbit holes and helped me overcome fears and frustrations on the way. It teaches me daily
how adaptable and resilient we all are and led me to connect with wonderful people like you.

I’m sure each one of you has their own reasons as to why breathing matters. Connecting and sharing our
stories can empower others!

I can’t wait to hear yours.

Barbara is a Sing Space recommended coach and her profile can be viewed HERE

 

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