Just breathe?

At the start of every choir session, I ask members to join me in taking a breath (a few actually). I always see a mixture of happy compliance, eye rolling and even loud sighs (from more daring members)! I press on regardless.

But the question “Why?” always hangs in the air.

To be honest I’ve asked myself this question on numerous occasions and it wasn’t until my good friend Kate gave me her answer, that my own truth dawned on me. Until that point, I just sort of did it, because it worked (for me).

Her comment made me reflect on the many other ways to start a session. Some choir leaders jump straight into a vocal warm up, some have a special signal – clapping a rhythm or other behaviourist approach, some start with a simple song.

I have experienced and witnessed many of these approaches as choir leader and choir member. They all serve a similar purpose – that of drawing the group to attention.

But the breath.

Aaaah, I love taking a breath.

Breathing in luxuriously and deeply for the count of 4 then, breathing out slowly for the count of 6. Extending this by slowly adding sounds, for example breathing out on “sssss” (as in the S for smooth).

The change in atmosphere is tangible. The silence – sublime. The relaxation. The stillness. The focus. That’s why.

Technically speaking I have reasons too. It helps to sing without tension and breathing slowly, calms us – soothing our nervous system. We also need to breathe well to support our singing and this simple repetitive action reminds us of our body’s capacity.

The impact in a 50 piece choir can be transformational. It creates a swift movement from loud chatter and laughter to silence. It brings calm focus and attention, bodies relaxing, minds opening. The perfect start to a session.

By the way Kate’s answer was this (I am paraphrasing here). “Some people haven’t had a chance to stop all day and just breath. To let go of the day. Mark an end to the stress. To empty ourselves just for a moment”

Try it!

In a noisy family household or office (if you’re feeling super brave); ask everyone to stand with you and take a few breaths. Alternatively you can lie on the floor with your knees bent.* Obviously not in an office!!

Put one hand on your chest, and one at the top of your tummy. Keep your shoulders and neck relaxed.

Take a deep slow breathe in through your nose and visualise it travelling down to your tummy. A good breath is one that raises your lower hand, more than the hand on your chest. (If you are finding it hard, breathe in as if you are sipping through a large straw. Suck the breath in and feel it fill the bottom & sides of your lungs).

Breathe out through your mouth.

Once you get the hang of a deep breathe, start the count.

Close your eyes.

Breathe in for 4 and out for 7. Spend a minute or so, just breathing. You can also try adding “Ssss” to your breath out.

Afterwards take some time to notice the change in the room, on others and your body before getting busy again. It’s staggering how a simple breath can lift the moment, maybe even alter your day.

*breathing well can make you feel temporarily dizzy. If this happens, just pause for a bit. It will pass. And when it settles try again.


Women 4 Women Choir, Worthing

Due to the Corona virus these sessions are currently suspended. Please contact Amanda Mitchell for further information.

Soul Choir Workshops

Join us & sing in a supportive non judgemental environment at our workshops organised by women, for women.

These workshops are perfect for busy people who cannot commit to a full term. They are fun, uplifting and totally joyful!

Advance booking essential – just 25 spaces per workshop.


Black History Month Soul & Gospel workshop

A FREE singing workshop! A chance for you to sing and take part in Worthing’s celebration of Black History Month.

At this workshop you will be making soulful sounds within the hour! All welcome – beginners and experienced singers alike!

Places for this workshop are all gone! BUT if you are coming to the larger event anyway, stick your head into the Herridge room (back of St. Paul’s near the toilet) in case a space comes up!


Women 4 Women Choir, Worthing

Soul Choir Workshops

Due to the Coronavirus, our workshops are currently suspended. We are taking some time for quiet reflection and will be back stronger and more determined than ever.

Join us in Worthing & sing in a supportive non judgemental environment at our workshops organised by women, for women. These sessions are fun, uplifting and totally joyful!  

Advance booking essential – just 25 spaces per workshop.

Session details:

When: Alternate Tuesdays 7.30 – 9pm.

Where: Alan Fletcher Hall, Offington Methodist Church, 271 South Farm Rd, Worthing BN14 7TN (please note parking entrance is off Broomfield avenue – BN14 7RZ)

Cost: £7 per session – perfect if you can only make 1 or 2 sessions.

If you want to join us for more, book a few sessions & get some money off!

Bundle of 3 for £19.50

Bundle of 6 for £36.00

Buy a bundle of 6 & get 10% off your 7th session!

* Please note – because these sessions have been so popular, pre-payment is essential to secure your place.

To book your place, please contact Amanda Mitchell