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Exercises to Relax and Help Breathing

Here are a few ideas to consider before giving a speech

Yawn and stretch with as many parts of your body as you can. Open your mouth wide as you yawn.

Alignment is essential. Place your feet parallel, with the weight balanced between toes and heels. The feet should be directly under the pelvis. Tuck in the buttocks, draw the abdomen up and in. Imagine an eye hook in the top of your head attached to a cord in the ceiling. This lengthens the spine. Your shoulders should be down and relaxed and your feet grounded to the floor. Feel long but relaxed. This position gives plenty of room for your lungs and diaphragm and also presents a positive self-image.

Still standing aligned, breathe in through your nose and out through you mouth. Close your eyes. Relax on each exhale. Breathe from your diaphragm so that the breath movement takes place in the abdomen, not in the chest.

Neck Stretch

Chin Down - on your next exhale, let your chin come down toward your chest, keeping the rest of your body aligned. Do these for two exhales. Neck Swings - leaving your chin down, move in gentle neck swings from right to left. Exhale each time you swing left. Do six times.

Over Shoulders - slowly lift your head back to upright and look over your right shoulder. Stay for two exhales. Now do it on the left side.

Side to side - slowly and smoothly switch to right, exhale. Inhale as you turn to the left. Repeat six times.

Back Stretch

Clasp your hands behind your back and raise your arms as high as possible. Push your shoulder blades together and hold for two exhales.

Clasp your hands overhead. With straight arms, bring them as far behind your head as you can. Hold for two exhales.

Side Stretch - Place your right arm over your head toward the left shoulder. Hold for two exhales. Place the left arm over the head toward the right. Do two exhales. (do not bounce)

Shake Out - Shake your arms, then shoulders and other parts of the body until the muscles feel slightly warm. Stop and stand aligned. Relax.

Press Walk - Roll onto the ball of your right foot, bending right knee slightly. Switch and roll on the left foot. Alternate as in walking in place but keep your toes on the floor. Pick up the rhythm with arms swinging freely. Think positive thoughts.

Close your eyes and relax on each exhale two times. Open your eyes and see the space around you fully. Always remember to breathe from the DIAPHRAGM and ALIGN your body. Remember that your posture and body movement are physically connected to your breath and voice. Your body posture and movement affect people's interpretation of what you are saying. They affect your own self-image and your mental attitude.


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