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The stretches that I recommend focus on the spine, shoulders, neck, tongue and jaw. They are a collection of exercises that were recommended by colleagues from dancers, physios and other singing teachers. You can download them below.
The stretches that I recommend focus on the spine, shoulders, neck, tongue and jaw. They are a collection of exercises that were recommended by colleagues from dancers, physios and other singing teachers.
I will be creating a video where I go through these stretches very soon.
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“Stacking” the body
This means imagining a “line” running through your skeleton. You can see this in the image of the skeleton here.
Another way to is to imagine that you are a puppet, being controlled by a puppet master. Imagine the puppet master is lifting up you by a string in the crown of your head, a string at the top/front of your chest, and there is a little weight that is pulling you down at the base of your spine.
You may also want to pretend that someone is stretching you gently outwards by your shoulders.
This should lead to a feeling of lengthening without holding tension. Don’t force yourself into this position but let there be a sense of moving in the directions described.
You need tension to stand up. However if your skeleton is aligned as described above then you should be able to use as little muscular tension as possible to stand up.. Be aware that if you are used to standing in a different way then it may take more muscular tension to stand “well”. Changing habits takes effort!
Every time you think of it ask the question, am I using more muscular effort than I need at this time?
Alert and Aligned
You should feel energised and, as though you could break into a run, but also that you are grounded and wound’t fall over if someone bumped into you.
Release Your Abs
This advice comes with the waiver that you can’t entirely release your abs if you are going to stand up. A little engagement of the abdominal muscles is required for standing. However most of us standing with much more than a little abdominal engagement. We hold in our abs as though we are hiding ourselves, or gripping on for dear life.
Let go of that abdominal holding as much as you can, when you are breathing in for singing and also in life. We need freedom and flexibility in the abs to be able to take a full, deep breath. Gripping in the abdominal muscles can often lead to gripping in the larynx and lastly all that holding is so much unnecessary hard work! Make like Elsa and “let it go” (at least a bit!).
This is part of a series of blogs