As a starter singer, I always used to wonder how to be ‘grounded’. It seemed such a desirable thing to be.
I could recognise a ‘grounded’ performer but simply holding still didn’t seem to get me anywhere, in fact, to my distress, it was clear that I sang better when I walked or moved around. Martial arts all use techniques for grounding. Here is a very simple one.
Stand comfortably (don’t get obsessed with perfect posture etc). Make sure your feet are neither together or farther apart than the width of your hips (and I don’t mean the fatty part of your hips – I mean the bone). Check that your knees are slightly released – ie not hyper-extended or locked. This is how your knees would be quite naturally if you found yourself on a bouncy castle or a mattress – in short your instinct to balance would command your knees to stop bracing. While you are at it you can check that your natural spinal curve isn’t too exaggerated – though releasing your knees should already help that. Now place a hand below your belly button, and another hand on your sacrum (your lower back space directly opposite your ‘lower belly’ hand). Now LET GO. Just let go of your muscles, let it all hang out. You will feel a drop of weight onto your feet immediately. Voilá! Grounded.
This basically means you are ALLOWING gravity to have much more influence on your body – you are resisting gravity less, without actually collapsing. By the way, it is fun to do the above exercise, do the let-go bit, then DO IT AGAIN. You may think you will be at risk of an unpleasant accident but you won’t – you will simply discover there is more to go.
Already you have now massively helped your breathing by giving yourself a huge platform to lean on- planet earth. But gravity – which affects us in every way physically – also logically will affect our breathing. In the same way that you gave yourself more grounding, you can give yourself freer breath by noticing and even exploiting the effect of gravity on your inhale and exhale. Time for another blog.