So how do you relax your throat? It's not always easy to isolate a specific muscle group. If you can bring your awareness into your shoulders, neck, jaw and tongue and mindfully relax them, great! But if you could do that you probably wouldn't have strained your voice in the first place, so let's operate from the assumption that some additional exercises would be helpful. . .
Now this is not a muscular “big” breath, just a relaxed breath that travels aaaall the way down your torso into your pelvic floor. The higher the breath in your body (ie if you breathe a lot with your shoulders) the more tense your breath is. The lower you breathe in your body (ie if you can feel it in your belly or pelvis) the more relaxed your breath is. Your body knows that breath creates sound so there's an unconscious link between your breath and your throat. What you do with one will have an automatic effect on the other. Since it is so much easier to consciously relax your breathing than it is to consciously relax the little muscles around your vocal folds, relaxing your breathing will go a long way to relaxing your throat. And you can do it without making a sound!
It really doesn't matter how you steam. You can sit over a bowl of boiling water with a towel over your head. Or you can go relax in a sauna. Or just breathe with extra care when you take your morning shower. All steam is good for your vocal folds, the more steam you can breathe in and the more relaxed your body is, the more relaxed your throat will be, so take this as an excuse to go sit in that hot tub.
3. Be Gormless
You may not want to do this in public, but any chance you get when you're on your own inside (so no passing bugs fly in by mistake), especially if you sit at a desk for any part of the day, just let your jaw drop open. The key to this is letting the jaw RELAX open, you're not muscularly pushing it open, just letting it go. The jaw muscles are connected to the tongue muscles which are directly connected to the muscles around your vocal folds. Relaxing the jaw is such an uncommon thing that five whole minutes of gormlessness a day will change your life. You want your jaw to relax to the point where you can fit AT LEAST one finger between your teeth. If you can't squeeze even one finger between your teeth, you may need to re-evaluate your idea of what letting go actually feels like.
When doing any or all of the above you may feel the impulse to yawn. Let yourself yawn! This yawn is the rejoicing of your muscles at the freedom you are giving them. If you suffer from jaw tension make sure you smile a little as you yawn, it will help prevent that horrible popping that happens if you over-extend.
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READY TO TAKE IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL? WHY NOT UNLEASH YOUR VOICE?