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Look at it this way.

as encouraged by Timothy Shepard

ON BREATHING

I hope you all are aware by now that I am very interested in helping Christians to be singing people. I'd do just about anything; I think it's that important. That is why I would like to give you a very brief lesson about how to breath in the most empowering way, so that your song will take flight. Breathing is, after all, the foundation (literally) of all song.

Breathing begins with correct stance; one must posture himself for a good breath. Good posture consists of the following: feet firmly planted on the ground, chest high, neck lifted tall, and shoulders relaxed. Try it now; it really is that simple.

When I learned about breathing from my teachers, I was amazed to learn that it is better to think of inhalation as creating the conditions so that air will rush in to fill a void. In other words, don't think of inhalation as sucking air into your lungs; think of it is as intentionally becoming open or vulnerable for something to come into it. That's probably why people are generally lousy breathers, we are afraid to become vulnerable.

Technically speaking, this process involves activating those particular muscles that will create a vacuum in your lungs to be filled by air. A good breath will be a deep one, one that satiates the lungs completely. This means that instead of your chest rising with inhalation, your stomach should expand. The muscle responsible for the deep breath is called the diaphragm. It is about two inches above your belly button. The diaphragm gets a workout with a good hardy laugh. Sometimes getting this muscle to work is difficult, but don't give up; a good breath is worth the effort.

Now that you have expanded your stomach, causing your lungs to lower (expand), a vacuum has been created and air will rush in. This is assuming that you are not under water or in outer space and air is available. If you're lucky, the air is clean and fresh. At any rate, though, we should not take clean air for granted.

Finally, we need to put the air to good use. For a singer, this means controlling it, making it last as long as possible, consciously putting that air to its most efficient use; not just letting loose and blowing it all out. This is a common problem. The difference between a trained singer and an untrained singer really lies in how well he or she controls air.

The more I think about it, the more I realize what a miracle breathing is. It is profoundly related to our physical and our spiritual well being. The Greek work used by the author of the book of Acts for a "good breath" is Pnoe. It is interesting to note that same word earlier on in Acts translates to "rushing winds" -- as in Pentecost. We need breath to sustain our bodies; we need Pnoe to support our lives. Take a deep breath, friends, and let's continue making a joyful noise to the Lord!!

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