Click here to read about James Nestor’s BREATH

...this summer I've taken time for summer reading 🙂

Shout out to my Alexander Techique teacher/friend Tara Sullivan for recommending this book. It touches on all sorts of breathing techniques, EXCEPT for singing, yet it is delightfully confirming of my belief that singing keeps us happy, calm and living to 110. For example, apparently the ability to lengthen our exhale raises our carbon dioxide levels, which is a good thing for our cells, woot woot, singers (and swimmers and…professional fire breathers?)!!

Besides being chock full of fun fact science and fascinating anecdotes, BREATH heightens the reader’s awareness of breathing in the moment of reading. It brings attention to how and why we breathe as we do. That kind of time-slowing attention to the NOW as in „what the world needs now…“ It speaks to the mind, but keeps bringing us back to the body.

Working with a student today on committing her entire breath to a phrase, I realized that BREATH has informed my own teaching and singing without being about singing at all. I’ve taken this miraculous, complex function for granted, even as I talk and think about it incessantly. Nestor offers a few ways to mix it up, push limits and challenge beliefs. OK, that does include taping your mouth shut in the pursuit of healthier and more efficient breathing, but a lot of it is interesting deeper delving into stuff you’ve already done in your yoga classes.

Would Lamperti approve? (I always come back to the bedrock of Bel Canto when exploring new ideas.) We’re reminded in BREATH that practices from the  past, whether 200 or 2,000 years old, are still living, pliable and essential.