Secret #1: Take a deep breath

Secret #1: Take a deep breath

Good language skills are always backed up by good breathing. Learn and practice a deep breathing technique. The trick is to take a long, slow, relaxed deep breath, not a sudden sharp one. Focus on using the full diaphragm. A good analogy is that breathing in is like filling a glass of water.

Q: Where do you fill it from?

A: The bottom to the top.

Fill the bottom of the lungs before you fill the top.

Breathing out we reverse the process: empty the glass from the top first. So empty the top of the lungs first and then squeeze out by tightening the tummy muscles and allowing the diaphragm to rise.

How is breathing like filling a glass of water?
How is breathing like filling a glass of water?

Exercise

Identify where the diaphragm is on the diagram and then work out where that is on your body.

On the last page of this document you’ll find a diagram showing the location of the diaphragm.

OK have you worked it out?

Find the bottom of your rib cage. Now run your fingers along that: that’s where your diaphragm is attached.

Now find a mirror that allows you to see your whole torso: that’s the upper part of your body from the waist up.

Place one hand on your stomach and the other on your chest just below your throat.

Take a long slow deep breath, watching yourself in the mirror.

Did your shoulders rise or stay still?

Did your stomach expand or stay the same?

Now breathe out.  Look for the same things in reverse.

If your shoulders rise and fall when you’re taking a deep breath or if your stomach stays the same it indicates that you are not breathing optimally.  You need to improve your breathing technique.

Try to focus on keeping your shoulders still and using your diaphragm to breathe.  Your stomach should expand when you breathe in and flatten when you breathe out.

We cover this in more depth in the next level of lessons.

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