Influence your nervous system in a direct way

How do you become less nervous for a performance?

You are about to discover the most calming exercise ever: the Shower Pouch.

After years of seeing all those breathtaking, text-banging, polarizing singers, I could no longer stand it. I decided not to rest until I had come up with the ultimate calming exercise. The exercise is called the Shower Pouch.

The Shower Pouch is a combination of insights that I gained as a singing coach, hobby cyclist and yoga lover. If you do the exercise, your body can not do anything else but becoming calmer.

How does the Shower Pouch work?

Stand firmly. Make a conscious contact with your feet. Then you breathe. As soon as you exhale, you sing a very slow, calmly descending noe. Let the noe slide down like a slide (in technical terms we call this a glissando). It does not matter which note you start on, if you end up on a fairly low note for you. When your out of breath, you wait (pause). Until you feel the urge to take a new breath.

This already feels good when you are tense. But there is also a visualization. As you let the note slide down, imagine that you are in the shower and that the note you are singing is the water. Let the water wash from your head to your toes as you sing the calm falling noe. Imagine how the water disappers into the ground under your feet. Repeat this image every time you sing a new noe.

Why does the Shower Pouch work so calmingly?

There are three reasons for this:

  1. By extending your exhalation and then pause for a while, you stimulate your nervous system to switch to its parasympathetic, calming state (if you are nervous, your nervous system is in its sympathetic fight / flight mode). A conscious exhalation is the only way you can influence your nervous system. I learned this golden tip from Koen de Jong from
  2. Because you sing the noe and visualize the water, you stimulate your senses. Thus, you distract yourself from your own inner critic, who whispers you all kinds of terrifying scenarios. You become more focused on the present instead of on the future.
  3. Your energy drops. You land. This calls the yoga 'earth'.

Even the largest nerve tendon feels calmer and more present after having done the Shower Pouch. Try the exercise yourself and let me know its effect.

You will find 12 other exercises in the bais book The Voice Gym. I wrote it to share basic singing techniques that every singer should know of.

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