Final Step (of 4 Easy Steps to Relax Your Breathing): Breathe slowly!

I use this exercise a lot for my singing students, but also when I need to relax before a gig or one of my yearly IVA teaching tests. It is a nice way to regulate your breathing, not just for singing, but it does help to sing long phrases. It goes like this: stand up straight and keep your shoulders back. Your head is straight, but not lifted up. For this exercise we are going to breathe in and out through our mouths. Make a “phew” or “tssss” sound while breathing out. We breathe in for 4 seconds, by taking a long slow breath in. It does not need to be an extra deep breath, but a normal one, just slower. Now we breathe out for 4 seconds, making our “phew” or “tssss” sound while breathing out. Continue to breathe in and out like this until you feel very comfortable. Now continue to breathe in for 4 seconds, but breathe out for 8 seconds with the funny sound described above. We can expand the amount of breathing out from 4 to 8 seconds and then to 12, 16 or 20. As soon as you are comfortable with expanding the time breathing out, you can then reduce the time you breathe in: e.g. to 3 or 2 seconds and even down to 1 second. Keep the exercise nice and comfortable, do not strain, it is not a contest! Good luck!

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