Breathe In, Breathe Out
Posted April 15, 2010on:
I have heard a lot about breathing and stuttering lately. There has been an active discussion on one of the stuttering list groups about breathing poorly or improperly being a root cause in stuttering. One woman wrote:
“Has anyone noticed when in a car with a bunch of people in cold weather sitting next to a window that when you talk the window fogs up when
no one else’s window does? I have noticed this in the last couple years in the winter weather . I think this is due to my stutter and breathing improperly!!”
I have noticed when it is really cold that my warm breath fogs up the window in the car too, but I thought it happens with everyone. Never really attributed it to breathing.
When I met with friend Sheila recently in the UK, she shared some of the techniques she learned from the McGuire program. Breathing and speaking only several words on each breath is one of the focal points of this fluency method.
And I received an interesting phone call from someone yesterday. This person found my blog link through another activity that I am involved with, and attempted to track me down when he read that my blog was about stuttering. He went through quite a few steps until he was able to reach me at work. He wanted to share with me a breathing technique that he believes helps people to relax and reduce stress.
He shared how he helped a 55-year-old man who had stammered for most of his life to overcome his stammering through the use of a deep breathing strategy. This gentleman invited me to attend one of the seminars he conducts to teach people how to use this breathing strategy. He is originally from India as is the gentleman who was able to overcome his stammering using this breathing strategy.
He is going to send me some information and links to his web site and asked me to let other people who stutter know that he would be happy to share his methods with us.
In less than two weeks, I have heard or read about how significant proper breathing is to people who stutter or care about people who stutter. We all know the relaxing benefits of deep breathing. It has been used in yoga, meditation, and mindfulness for thousands of years by thousands of people.
Personally, while I understand the benefits of deep, calm breathing, I always had a hard time with the concept of using “full breath” as part of the fluency shaping therapy I was involved with for a while. I never seemed to be able to focus on taking a “full breath” in the moment of stuttering, as the stuttering has already happened. And it reminds me too much of the advice I was sometimes given by well-meaning fluent people who don’t understand stuttering: “Slow down, take a deep breath”. If that really worked to eliminate my stuttering and was that easy, I would have been doing that.
What do you think? Does breathing have an effect one way or the other on your stuttering? Have any of you tried breathing techniques that really work to reduce stuttering moments?