Last updated 4 months ago by UtrechtCentral.com
Have you ever experienced dryness, tensions, or maybe even pain in your throat when you tried to speak loud or after speaking for some minutes in presentations of your work or study?
Part of this problem is due to the nervousness, and part of this is due to the coordination of breathing, posture and voice usage. As our body and mind are connected, they in fact affect one another. When we feel nervous, our body gets tense. So in return, some warm-up exercises can help us to relax and feel more grounded.
I would like to share 5 little warm-up exercises to set up a good posture, breathing and vocalisation techniques as a preparation for presentations, or as general everyday exercises for a better voice usage in daily life. First it is the lie-down exercise, or often referred as “semi-supine” in Alexander Technique.
Lie-down exercise for a good posture and awareness on breathing pattern
About our spine
Our spine consists of thirty three vertebrae and its shape is slightly curved. The upper twenty-four are separated from each other by intervertebral discs, and the lower nine are fused in adults, five in the sacrum and four in the tailbone.
There is a tendency for the discs between the vertebrae to be squeezed when we are standing or sitting due to gravity. The discs become thinner and you become fractionally shorter. The discs protect the vertebrae by absorbing a certain amount of the percussive impact onyour spine caused by standing, walking, running and jumping in daily life. They also protect the bony parts then you put extra pressure into your spine by bending it excessively in activities.
How to do the exercise
In the lie-down exercise, first of all you lay on your back on a hard surface, such as on a yoga mat on the floor, with your head on a book or books with your legs folded and knees up. The thickness of the book(s) should be just alright that you head should be in line with the spine. You should feel comfortable and that the head is freely balancing on the book.
For the arms and hands, they can be by your side or flexed so your hands rest on your abdomen. Your feet should connect easily with the floor and spread out as you let go of unneccessary tension. Lying on a soft bed does not encourage the back to lengthen and widen as much.
Pay attention to your breathing and imagine yourself sinking into the floor. You can play some relaxing music at the same time.
Feel the natural expansion of your lower abdomen and lower back when you breathe in, and the deflation of these areas when you breathe out, with relaxed shoulders and chest. Feel also that you can drop your tilbone onto the floor.
Then after 10 to 15 minutes, slowly get up from the floor by first rolling to the side and then using your arms to support you.
Benefits of the exercise
This exercise takes the pressure off and allows the discs between vertebrae to recover their supportive, shock-absorbing qualities. Also during the exercise, you can gradually release all the tensions of the body.
This exercise is also an opportunity for self-observation and reflection on your breathing pattern.
You would very likely feel your spine more aligned and yourself getting taller than before the exercise. Also your awareness on breathing will be higher and probably you may be able to have a deeper breathing too. It is very important to avoid raising shoulders and chest when breathing in as it means the breathing is too shallow and rapid, which would lead to more tensions and nervousness.
Ten to fifteen minutes of lie-down exercise can already be a good preparation for a demanding activity like an important business or academic presentation.
More warm-up exercises will be shared with you in the upcoming articles!