It is the first thing we do at birth; it will be the last thing we do at death. It is the most important thing we do every day of our lives.
Dogs do it; cats do it; cows do it; and, horses do it. In fact all other mammals do it and they do it properly; it is only man – and that is 99% of us – who is doing it wrong.
On the podium, we not only do it wrong but many of us are not doing it at all!
It is called breathing. And right now you are saying of course I am breathing. Yes and no. Ask yourself the following questions.
- • Do you know what supported breathing is?
- • In public speaking do you experience breathlessness?
- • Are you shoulders and neck regions sore by the end of the day?
- • Can you control your nervousness in public speaking?
- • Is your stress often overwhelming?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, chances are you are a lazy or shallow breather; and, since 99% of the population is unaware of the techniques for supported breathing, it is quite possible that you are part of the majority.
Breathing with the support of your diaphragm – a muscular partition separating your chest from your abdomen – is the answer to the 5 questions above. [While we were born breathing with the support of the diaphragm, as we develop we revert to using only the upper portion of the chest, known as shallow or lazy breathing. It is a medical fact.]
Those who breathe with support are able to eliminate breathlessness at the lectern, end daily neck and shoulder tension, control their nervousness in public speaking and alleviate much of the stress in their lives because diaphragmatic breathing rids the body of toxins that shallow or lazy breathing cannot. In fact, shallow breathing actually increases stress because of the inability of the body to rid itself of toxins.
Incidentally, those who experience true panic attacks are taught first and foremost to take a deep, supported breath.
Learning the simple techniques of diaphragmatic breathing can change your life, both professionally and personally. An added bonus is that they say you can 4-1/2 years to your life – again because you are cleansing your body with each and every breath.
It was the first thing you did in life; it will be last thing you do in life. Why not make it one of the best things you do in life?
Nancy Daniels is a voice specialist and president of Voice Dynamic. Working privately and corporately, she launched Voicing It! in April of 2006, the first video training course on voice improvement. You can watch clips from her DVD on her website and ‘before’ & ‘after’ takes of her clients as well as download an audio presentation in which Nancy describes what voice training can do for you at http://www.voicedynamic.com
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