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chuy67
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I recently purchased The Four Pillars of Singing. When I started out on Pillar one, everything seemed fine, or at least I thought. Whenever I take deep diaphragmatic breaths, I experience a tension feeling in my throat towards the last 1/3 portion of inhalation. What could the culprit of this problem be?

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I recently purchased The Four Pillars of Singing. When I started out on Pillar one, everything seemed fine, or at least I thought. Whenever I take deep diaphragmatic breaths, I experience a tension feeling in my throat towards the last 1/3 portion of inhalation. What could the culprit of this problem be?

chuh67: It could be for multiple reasons. Here are some of them:

- a deep, diaphragmatic breath stimulates a reflex that can cause the larynx to lower significantly in very many people. This is a position that the larynx may not have taken in you many times before, nor likely sustained for long. The laryngeal suspension muscles (going up to various bones of the head and the hyoid) will get stretched when you do this, and are not likely 'used' in this part of their range of motion. I think they are likely reaching the limit of their current stretch-range. To determine if this is happening, stand in front of a mirror when you do this exercise, with your fingers lightly on the front of your throat, do the breath, and look/feel if it is happening. If it is, for a while, back off on the depth of the breath until you are more comfortable.

- Over-concentration. Doing something deliberately beyond the scope of habit requires some mental concentration, and some kinds of concentration show up as tension in the body. To experiment with this, do two other things at once, like walking and reading, while you are doing this exercise with a casual attitude. If you find your gait faltering, or are having trouble keeping track of the sentences you are reading, you care concentrating on your breathing to much. While its funny to say it this way, the exercise works best if you don't care about it so much. Chill.

- Head-Postural influences. Body parts are all connected in one manner or another, and your head positioning may have an issue that this motion brings to light. To experiment, Lay down on your back on the floor, with a small pillow under your head, and take the breath. If the tension does not appear, then its a good indicator say that there is neck tension associated with your head positioning that is coming into play. You can use other non-standing head positions as well for other experiements, for example, sitting in a slouching position, with your head bent down so that your chin is close to your upper chest.

I hope this helps,

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Thanks for the advice Steven! :D

I tried all three points and came to the following conclusions.

1.When I looked at myself in the mirror while taking deep breaths, I found that the muscles below my chin would fall towards the floor during the first portion of my breath. Is that supposed to happen?

2. You have an excellent point here, I at times can over thing the simplest topics and become completly obssesed over them. Most likely if I were to relax a bit more the tension would go away.

3. When speaking of posture, I found that if I sit on the end of a chair and bend over with my head in between my knees and arms dangling, that I could take a deeper breaths without tension. Does that say anything?

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  • 2 weeks later...

2. You have an excellent point here, I at times can over thing the simplest topics and become completly obssesed over them. Most likely if I were to relax a bit more the tension would go away.

Everybody has this... Especially performing artists and ESPECIALLY singers. The best advice is what you already know... Just try to relax and realise it's not the end of the world !

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