You may have heard of diaphragmatic breathing, especially in reference to singing, but what does it mean exactly?
Firstly, let’s talk about what it is and what it does. The diaphragm is a large, dome-shaped muscle that contracts rhythmically and continually, and most of the time, involuntarily. Upon inhalation, the diaphragm contracts and flattens, which causes the chest cavity to get bigger. The contraction creates a vacuum, which pulls air into the lungs (inhaling). When we exhale, the diaphragm relaxes and returns to its domelike she, and air is forced out of the lungs.
Now that we know what the diaphragm is and what it does, we can see why the diaphragm plays an important role in the mechanics of our breathing. HOWEVER…the way we breathe is so much more than just our diaphragm. While that is probably one of the largest parts of the breathing mechanism, I argue that everyone (not just singers) should take it a step further and develop keen awareness of the entire way of breathing.
What do I mean by that? Well, what else is involved? We’ve got the rib cage, the lungs, intercostal muscles, basically everything in our torso…ALL playing a role in how we breathe. When we can develop a better understanding of how it feels to take a deeper, freer, stronger, controlled breath, we will then have developed the strongest foundation for effortless singing.
Below I have attached a quick breathing awareness video that I made… it’s an excellent first step in gaining a better understanding of how we breathe, and how we can develop better lifelong habits on our journey to singing wellness!