In this post we’re going to add to your tool belt of ways to manage and soothe performance anxiety. If you’ve read other breathing posts, you are starting to get a feel for the power of your breath. Being aware of your breath helps you to be aware of your state of mind: shallow breath = stress/anxiety, deep, full breath = relaxed, calm.
This breath practice is a way to move to a non-anxious state by using sound to help extend your exhale. It is something you can practice back stage before performing, or while riding on the subway, in your car or while simply walking down the street.
To begin this practice, sit in a comfortable cross legged position or in a chair with your feet flat on the ground, spine tall.
Inhale through your nose and exhale through your nose while softly and gently humming on an /m/ sound and comfortable, mid-range pitch.
There should be little effort in your hum and the jaw should be soft, the tongue resting between your lower teeth. As you continue your neck, shoulders and jaw will continue to release tension.
The bee breath calms the anxious, spinning mind and helps to lengthen the exhalation without additional effort – forcing the breath beyond your capacity will have the opposite effect.
What you are doing is humming softly. There are many articles out there about the health benefits of humming. Including one from the New York Times that presents multiple studies on the effect of humming to help sinus infections, a short one from mindbodygreen on the health benefits of humming and one from relaxation lounge on the instant benefits of humming daily.
Give it a whirl and see how you feel after!