There’s no doubt about it: singing and chanting is great for your health. Whether you are singing in the shower, at an open mic night, professionally on stage, or just playing with vocal toning and chanting… All of these vocal practises result in a significantly improved mood and overalls tate of well-being.
How To Do The Exercise
- Sit comfortably in an upright position with your back straight.
- Tightly contract your pelvic floor muscles.
- Hold the contraction for as long as you feel comfortable and watch your heart rate go up on your monitor by around 20-30 BPM. Alternatively, place one hand on your chest and feel your heart rate increase.
- When you feel it is time to exhale, make a toning sound as you are slowly releasing the breath. You can utilize a tone that resonates most with you, or you can simply use an “AUM” tone. Allow yourself to feel the vibration of the tone and where it is moving in the body.
- As the tone comes to an end, hold your breath with no air in your lungs for as long as you can. Try and overcome the first urge to breathe.
- Repeat 3-4 times.
Finally, relax and return to normal breathing. You will notice a drop in your heart rate below your normal resting heart rate.
Start by practicing this breathing exercise for 3-4 cycles per day and take notice of how it increases your total lung capacity, tones the vocal cords, enhances your mood, boosts your energy, and improves your overall well-being!
How Does This Exercise Improve Singing?
Training yourself to hold your breath for longer allows for a greater expansion of the lungs and to train yourself to hold more air in your lungs for longer periods of time. The vocal toning on the exhale gives your vocal cords a workout and strengthens them. Extending your exhale slowly and controlled like this strengthens the diaphragm and gives you better control of the muscle.
It is important to note that you should not be adding any strain or tension to the vocal cords by forcefully pushing the sound out, but that you are simply allowing the tone to leave your body effortlessly.
Additional Benefits To This Breathing Exercise
This exercise is excellent for clearing sinus congestion if you have a cold. Contracting the pelvic floor muscles and holding your breath creates an anti-inflammatory response in the body and also raises your body temperature slightly, which is effective for keeping infections at bay.
This exercise also increases your energy levels by activating the sympathetic nervous system briefly and triggering the production of serotonin and dopamine - the body’s feel good neurotransmitters.
One More Thing
Each time you do this exercise, measure the length of your final vocal toning exhale. Practise once or twice a day for a week and see how much longer you can hold a single note for - you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the results!