The Top of the Breath is the end of the inhale.
Here, before you engage the voice, is where you make important choices. It is here that you must learn to consciously slow the breath and detect that moment where you finish your inhale or choose to fill even further.
Larynx at rest
The top of the breath is the most common place in the breathing cycle where we engage vocal tension.
Remember, your larynx doesn’t control the flow of your air. Your vocal folds must stretch and contract to vibrate the air into sound waves. But, they can’t move if they’re being pressed inward to control the breath. However, this place passes so quickly that we may not even notice we are doing so.
You don’t need to make any special effort in the larynx at the top of the breath. Your larynx remains in its rested, neutral position.
This is one of the most important breathing techniques: Throat remains open, larynx relaxed at the top of your breath.
Exercise - Top of the Breath
Preparation: “Home” position
All exercises begin only after all points of the vocal core are at rest:
- Mind is focused on the small, inward sensations of breath in the vocal core.
- Eyes are open and in soft, relaxed gaze. Eyebrows relaxed.
- Lips are closed and relaxed. (No grimacing.)
- Jaw falls from the face and creates a small space between the teeth.Lips remain closed.
- Head is horizontal with a horizontal line between the ears. Back of head is relaxed.
- Tongue rests flat on the floor of the mouth.
- Larynx is passive. Breath is silent.
- Chest rises and falls with the flow of the breath. Shoulders relaxed.
- Define the sensation at the top of your inhale.
- Observe the easy inflation and deflation of the chest. How the chest silently rises and falls with the motion of the breath cycle.
- Slow your breathing pace so that you can detect the moment at the end of your inhale.
- Notice if you are closing your throat at the end of your inhale.
- Release this unnecessary tension.
- Explore how you can leave your larynx at rest at the top of the breath, the end of the inhale.