The stuff of nightmares. The organist probably still wakes up in a cold sweat to this day. However, I am forced to ask which planet was his noggin on?
The most important tool in the de-stressing armoury is breathing. I frequently refer to the long out breath. When we breathe in, there is a subtle ramping up of the stress hormones. When we breathe out, there is a subtle release of the relaxing hormones, so the longer the out breath, the more relaxed we will become, no matter what hell on earth is happening around us. However, in my former life I was a singer and a singing teacher. 1 I used to teach at a drama school, so sometimes taught people how to sing how really thought they couldn’t. And I found – and I still find – that most people have reverse breathing. This means that as they breath in their belly goes in and as they breath out, their belly goes out. This is the wrong way round – breathing this way is stress breathing, next stop panic breathing. So trying to lengthen the out breath is nigh on impossible to any meaningful extent. I discovered that to drop people into the yoga child’s pose position and leave them there for a couple of minutes makes the breath return to the natural way. As you stay there, you will find after a bit that you can feel the back of your ribs expanding as you breath in and falling as you breath out. This is good breathing.
Your arms can be beside you as pictured here or overhead – whichever feels most comfortable. All you have to do is stay here, relax completely and let it happen. Relax the face, tuck the chin in a little bit, relax the shoulders. Lovely. Now you can breathe out.
- Well I do still give the occasional singing lesson and really wish I knew then what I know now. [↩]