Updated: Jan 23, 2022
Physiology Is In Your Corner!
At some point early in the relationship between a voice teacher or coach and their student/client, the subject of healthy and efficient breathing is addressed. Every voice pro has a basket of resources to help people take that “singer breath” that relies on the primary respiratory muscles of the diaphragm and intercostal muscles.
But some people find it easier than others. And sometimes, if the singer is having a hard time applying the skills the teacher is trying to impart, it can be really frustrating for both parties. Frustrating for the teacher, because they know that breath efficiency is a big part of laryngeal efficiency. Frustrating for the client, because this just should not be so hard!
Typically, the person who has a more challenging time getting this is a certain body type. An ectomorph. Or, a lanky or “long waisted” type.
Keep reading, or watch the video of the broadcast!
There are three basic body types: The ectomorph, the endomorph, and the mesomorph. Everyone’s body is a combination of either two or all three of these body types, but many of us tend more toward one or another.
(This is in the free download which you can get at the bottom of this page.)
The ectomorphs are the long ‘n’ lean people. They’re often tall, but not necessarily. The posture that feels natural to these people, when it comes to body alignment, is to have the center of the sternum dropped a little, the shoulders rolled slightly forward, and the head positioned at a slight angle on top of the spine. Because of how they’re built, this just feels right to them.
This can be made more extreme if they’re tall - because they tend to drop their face to be closer to yours - or if they work from a sitting position a lot - like at a desk. In general, and because of their habits of alignment, these people usually have weak rhomboid muscles. Additionally, they are accustomed to excessive stress on their cervical spine.
Your head weighs about 10-12 pounds, and keeping it upright requires an appropriate degree of muscle strength when it’s sitting nice and squarely at the top of your spine. If you reach forward or down at a 15 degree angle, you increase that stress as though your head weights 25-27 pounds. Add another 15 degrees and your cervical spine is working as though your head weighs 45 pounds.
If you say “stand up straight” to these folks - which people have been telling them most of their lives - they’ll throw their shoulders back and push their chest out. Unnatural and uncomfortable. We don’t want that.
We want Diva Posture,
and here’s the 3 Step fix for helping them with that.
This will work for almost every Lanky, but here's a caveat:
If a person has body issues or health issues that make this difficult, emotionally stressful, or painful in any way, don't do it!
Step 1: Tell them it's normal
Tell them they’re not alone. Stress to them that it’s not personal, it’s simply the body type they have. If you say this to them there’s a 99% chance you will be the first person ever to reassure them in this way.
Step 2: Explain why breathing matters
Once you’ve established that you’re not picking on them, show them your version of why breathing matters. It can be short and sweet, because you'll be revisiting the subject, but at the outset you may want to take a minute to tell them WHY you’re going to show them a different way of experiencing their body.
Most people do not know that the body is made up o