Breath of Fire
This is a yoga breathing technique that works not only to clarify and amplify the sound, but also to clear the mind, energize and relax the body, and calm the nerves. If I had to choose my favourite Magic Trick of all it would be this one. The results that some of my private students have had with it have been nothing short of miraculous.
With the mouth closed, and the tip of the tongue touching the hard ridge right behind the upper front teeth, breathe out hard through the nose then relax. As you relax, the vacuum created by ‘kicking’ out the air will cause air to flow back in to your lungs – so you don’t ever have to think about breathing in. In fact, if you do start thinking about breathing in you’ll take in too much air and have to sit down – because you’ll be hyperventilating.
Just think out…out …out…out…
‘Kick’ the air out hard in a steady rhythm – about every second. Eventually you’ll be able to speed this up to something that sounds like panting through the nose and then keep it going for up to three minutes at a time, but for now one hard breath out every second will do the job.
After you’ve done this about 10 or 15 times take a deep breath in and hold it. At the same time as you are holding your breath contract the perineal muscles. (Tighten up as if you have to go to the bathroom, but haven’t found one yet – kind of like in those dreams where the bathroom is always occupied, or the toilet is in the middle of your boss’ living room!)
Hold all this, then relax, and sigh out the breath.
I encourage my private students to do this exercise as often as they think about it – and as many times a day as possible. Sometimes after they’ve been doing this for a few weeks the voice begins to unlock, free up and be fuller and richer – even if they’ve done no other practising!
A number of years ago a family member was in hospital with one of those oxygen measuring clips attached to her finger. When the situation had calmed down and she seemed to be out of the woods, I thought I’d try it on myself. I clipped it onto my finger and over about 30 seconds or so – doing breath of fire – saw my own oxygen level rise from 96 to 98!
This is also a very good short term solution when you find yourself feeling sleepy at work. Once you can do this quickly and lightly it can be done unobtrusively in just about any public space where there’s even just a little noise.