Entries tagged with “how to use your diaphragm”.

A Free voice lesson for your enjoyment!

Not long ago, I received some good questions and thought that I might share them with you.  These are in regards to some popular misconceptions about the use of the diaphragm.

Q: Here are some of the things that I’ve heard: breathing from the diaphragm may not be helpful when singing and may actually have negative effects.  Also, I’ve read that taking deep breath does not necessarily result in more oxygen.  Continued deep breathing could have very negative effects on the body, in hyperventilation, oxygen supply, eyesight, and more.  What’s your opinion on this?

A: Thank you for your comments. To respond to the things that you have read, here is what I have found in my own research and what I’ve also experienced. Breathing by using your diaphragm is mainly used in singing because it supports a musical tone much better than does JUST breathing from your lungs. It also is faster way to get air through than just your lungs. That is why any professional singer knows how to use his/her diaphragm when singing.

When you breathe from your diaphragm, you’re also breathing from your lungs, but you’re breath is more deep and powerful. Breathing from your diaphragm is a natural way to breathe when you are in a very relaxed state. If you’ve ever seen a baby breathing while sleeping, you’ll notice that their belly is moving up and down–this is breathing from the diaphragm–the breath is slow and steady. Also, a dog uses its diaphragm when it is panting. In yoga, they tell you to breathe deeply from low down–essentially your diaphragm.

For everyday purposes such as walking or running, we DO NOT purposefully breathe from the diaphragm because it can cause light-headedness, or hyperventilation (because there is much more air coming in and out at a faster rate than normal breathing).  Also, from personal experience, if you try running while forcing yourself to breathe from mostly your diaphragm, it’s much easier to get side cramps 🙂

As for worse eyesight, etc…I have never come across this in any of my research (assuming the deep-breathing is used correctly). If you’re only using this as a technique when singing, it is good for you and has no harmful effects. It’s only when used improperly or out of the singing/relaxing context that it might cause hyperventilation.

I hope that this has been helpful and informative. Thanks again for your questions.

Here’s my first “Tip of the Week.” Enjoy!