This is Renee Fleming. You do not have to love opera to marvel at the control of breath and voice this performance requires for phrasing and holding notes for a long time. Look at her belly. Her shoulders do not rise and fall with belly breathing. But more air is let in. Try it. You may feel quite invigorated.
The most informal of all the exercises is one that is essential to life itself. It is central to many arts including singing, martial arts, yoga and many wind instruments. Please add or tell me about any others you know.
This essential is the Breath. It is the first thing that we do when we are born and never shuts down while we live. Watch the diaphragm of opera singers and see how controlled their bellies are. I was listening to a clarinettist on the radio recently and actually heard the intake of breath in the phrasing. I sure the listener is not actually supposed to hear anything. However modern technology allows us up close so we can hear much more than in the past. In Mindfulness, the breath may be audible on purpose for certain exercises, but mostly not in my experience.
The practice of breath is an art in itself. You think it is easy because we do it without thinking, but in Mindfulness it is a direct and powerful link to our inner being. You can practice this at any time in the day and it can help calm a frantic brain.
So anywhere you please but I prefer a chair and not too much noise around.
- Inhale until your lungs are moderately full. (Pause)
- Exhale slowly until your breath is gone.
- Repeat 1& 2 again.
- This time, sit up a bit (not stretched) and try to belly breathe. This lets in more oxygen
- Repeat 1 & 2 again using belly breathing
How did that feel? To be honest, it took me a long time to belly breathe naturally. From being a young woman onwards, I always thought you had to hold your tummy in at all times to look shapely. Undoing that one was difficult.
If you felt inside a teeny bit what it was like breathing, you have already started to move in a mindful direction. You should try it again at different times of day. You can probably breathe so no one is aware. Always notice what is going on inside. If you think you maybe felt it a tiny bit, then congratulate yourself for doing a little something for ourselves. If you didn’t feel any thing. That’s fine, too. READ MY LIPS: That’s fine, too. Do not, whatever you do, beat yourself up or think yourself a failure. Mindfulness is about not judging yourself, leaving behind for a few minutes the high and often failing expectations that we all have in this attainment culture.
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