Take a Deep Breath and Sing!

Kathleen Karlsen
January – February 2020 • Vol 3, No 108

To expand your capacity for breath is to expand your capacity for life. The lungs are the ideal container for the breath and for the production of sound. Breathing takes a unique combination of strength and relaxation. As you breathe in, the alveoli—clusters of tiny “balloons” at the ends of the branches of your airways—are filled and expanded. As you breathe out, the “balloons” relax and deflate.

The capacity of the lungs can be increased in several ways, including chanting mantras and singing in general. The diaphragm (below the lungs) and the intercostal muscles (between the ribs) play key roles in both singing and breathing. As you expand your lungs to breathe deeply to sing, the ribs expand and the intercostal muscles will strengthen and increase the potential volume of your lungs.

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