Are you a singer or a performer, or simply one who loves to sing in the shower? Did you know that doing yoga could actually help you to hit those high notes! By incorporating yoga into your everyday routine, you could be doing a lot of good for your voice. Not only will you be singing better in no time, you'll look good doing it!
What is yoga and how will it help my singing?
Yoga is an ancient art based on a harmonizing system of development for the body, mind, and spirit.
The Hindu discipline is widely practiced for health and relaxation reasons. It includes breath control, simple meditation, and the adoption of specific bodily postures.
The reason yoga has been found to help singers is because of the way you use your breath during the various poses. Singing is an embodies feeling, and so is yoga.
In particular, yoga helps to develop body awareness, especially toward breathing around the regions of the neck, jaw, chest, ribs, belly, and stomach muscles. These type of breathing exercises are highly beneficial to musicians and performers alike.
The Importance of Proper Breathing
As a singer, you should already know the importance of proper breathing technique.
As babies, we were all born knowing how to breathe. Unfortunately, as we get older, stress often changes the way we breathe.
This tends to lead to a poor exchange of both oxygen and CO2 in the bloodstream. By depriving our bodies, you not only increase your stress levels, but you weaken your immune system too. This means you are more susceptible to infections and illness.
Poor breathing can also lead to panic attacks and even conditions like insomnia and depression.
Pranayama is the art of effective breath control, which goes hand in hand with the practice of yoga. This union of breath and posture is considered as the highest form of purification and self-discipline.
When we breathe correctly, our bodies are being supplied with the right amount of oxygen. With the right amount of oxygen, we are able to replenish our brain and other vital organs with essential nutrients.
Did you know that breathing correctly also helps you to focus, and can even help to relieve stage fright?
Breathe Your Way To Better Singing
The way you draw breath can affect you in every aspect of your life, yet most of us never give breathing a second thought.
When you sing you should be relaxed, focused, and use your breathing to help you perform your strongest. All these aspects are in-line with what yoga teaches.
Yoga is all about harmonizing the body with the mind through the means of various breathing techniques. For singers, this is a great way to become relaxed and focused at the same time.
Inside your voice box or larynx, your vocal cords function as a valve in the airway. They are sensitive to airflow and can become dry and tired when used incorrectly. Your vocal cords can also become irritated if the airflow is too powerful.
On the other hand, if the airflow is too weak, the cords tend to tighten and rub against each other - thickening over time.
Not only are yoga postures are generally good for singers, the way you use your breath during these particular poses will help you correct many of these problems.
Using Your Diaphragm
In order to breathe properly, you need to use your diaphragm. This is the muscle that lies at the bottom of the chest cavity.
Many people spend their entire life breathing only from their upper chest and don’t access the full capacity of their lungs. This is because they haven’t learned to activate their diaphragm. An integral part of singing, and yoga, is breathing with the diaphragm.
Yoga teacher Fiona Agombar has a few tips to make sure that you are breathing correctly. "One in-breath and one out-breath are one cycle," she says. "Try to slow your breathing down to eight to ten cycles per minute without breathing from your upper chest area. Aim to breathe slowly and smoothly."
Don’t let time constraints or unrealistic goals be an obstacle. Yoga is an amazing tool to help you improve your singing. Even if you are only able to practice for one hour a week, you will still be able to reap the benefits.
About the Author: Julie Adams
I am a mom, a music lover and teacher from Tampa, FL. After completing a Bachelor of Music in Performance Arts, I traveled for several years before returning home where I started offering private piano and singing lessons as extra income. I met my husband in 2009 and 2 years later moved to Dallas where we settled down and I started focusing on vocal training to aspiring singers and performance artists of all age groups. I still enjoy playing the piano very much, and in my spare time you will catch doing some horse riding, drawing, doing some light reading, or just spending quality time with my family.