Day 18 Alexander Technique & Singing Tip: 3 of 4 (we've added one!) on breath
Managing any topic on only three posts is difficult, but writing about breath could be endless! So we’ve added one more to our series of posts on breath.
You have breath support from the floor, through your feet, to your legs, through your hip-joints, from your psoas, up to your diaphragm!
To first talk about the sometimes loaded subject of breath support or breath energy, let’s start with the support we can receive from the floor.
Look at the picture in this post and you’ll see our diaphragm and Psoas Major pointed out.
Why should the Psoas be in a post about breath? Our Psoas major is the major muscle that connects our legs with our torso, and so is a major player in our posture, standing, and walking. It starts at the inside of your thigh, runs through the hip joint, and attaches at our lower back, right where the back of the diaphragm attaches.
A few points about this: ask yourself to identify where your hip-joint is?
Most people think of the outside of their greater trochanter (that bony knob you can feel if you dig around the outside of your upper thigh)/pelvis as their hips, where our “curves” are if we have them. The actual hip-joint is further down and further into our bodies.
Feel along your pubic bone, moving out until you find the fleshy part, where there’s a crease between your inner leg and torso/pubic area. You’ll be pretty close to where your actual hip joint is.
This is important because it’s where our torso receives support from our legs, both from the bones, but also from the muscles. And since the Psoas runs through this joint, if we tighten at the hip-sockets, the Psoas gets compromised and ends up pulling on our lower backs and…you guessed it, our diaphragms!
A game to find freedom in your hip-sockets and breath without an Alexander Technique teacher guiding you in person.
Lie down with your back on the floor with your lower legs supported by a stool or a chair, so that your lower legs are roughly parallel with the ground. See if in this posture you can find your hip joints, and allow them to feel easy, soften, release since they’re not holding you up. Maintain this freedom while you slowly breathe in and out. See what you notice about how that may affect your breath and your connection to your back.
Can you stay easy in your hip-joints while the breath moves?
Do you like to grab in your lower back or hip-joints more on the inhale or the exhale?
Can you pay special attention to the moment you think of inhaling or exhaling but haven’t yet, and the moment when the breath does in fact turn around from inhale to exhale or exhale to inhale?
What do you notice at those moments?
At those moments, can you pause before you grab your hip-joints or back, and ask yourself not to grab?
What do you notice?
Slowly come to standing. Careful, you may be dizzy from all this free breath and being on the floor!
Can you find this ease in your hip-joints and lower back in a standing position?
Can you try the same exercise with your breath?
What do you notice?