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The Inspiration of Breath: An Online Course

Breath is fundamental to every aspect of our life.  We are born with an ability to breathe deeply and fully, but as we go through life, stress and tension can cause our breathing to become shallow and constricted and our voices strained and weak. Inefficient breathing can also lead to fatigue, anxiety, muscular tension and even digestive problems. Getting back to the way nature designed us to breathe is a tonic that revitalizes body and mind.  In this four-part course we will explore ways to reestablish our natural, coordinated way of breathing. Please see descriptions for the four individual classes below.

Three excerpts from Jean McClellandʼs online course, The Inspiration of Breath.

Class One: The Miracle of Breathing

Our first class introduces us to our body's ability to "breathe itself." We will study in detail how our muscles of postural support and respiration work in harmony to help us breathe and how our ribcage can either aid us or hinder us in breathing.  As we study the role of the diaphragm in breathing, we will explore the groundbreaking work of the breathing pioneer Carl Stough . We will conclude our first class with an understanding of what it means to develop strength in this most essential breathing muscle, the diaphragm.

Class Two: The Inspiration of Breath

Breathing lives in an area between consciousness and unconsciousness. While breathing can’t be controlled per se, it can be observed. Correct breathing can never be forced, but we can learn how to work with  breathing in a way that stimulates all the right muscles to work. In this week’s class you will learn how to witness your body’s innate ability to breathe itself. You will be given exercises to help align, open and free your body, a first step in coordinating and strengthening  your breathing. Guided meditations will help you experience a state of “flow”— a very relaxed and creative state of mind that regulates and deepens your breathing and prepares you for the strengthening work that follows.

Class Three: The Power of Exhalation

During this week's class  you will learn how to develop strength in your diaphragm and to use the power of your breath as the source of, and support for, your voice. We will review the anatomy and physiology of breathing as we work with exercises to help  enliven the diaphragm, ribs and abdominal muscles.  In addition you will be guided in stimulating your imagination in order to connect to that area between consciousness and unconsciousness where breath lives —a deeper, more creative part of ourselves.  

Class Four: The Impulse for Sound

Our final class will explore the direct link between breathing, voice and artistry.  We start our class with an explication and experience of impulse— a vital energy that is present in everything alive and is the source of your true voice.  You will be given a repertoire of exercises to uncover and stimulate impulse in yourself and to encourage its development.  We will review the work of the past four sections and integrate all that we have learned with the recitation of spoken text and poetry.