Reality check. We don’t all love yoga. Maybe you hate yoga pants; you haven’t found your yogi squad or you’ve just found another activity to help you stick to your health resolutions. Whatever the reason, just because you don’t love yoga doesn’t mean you have to deny yourself the benefits yoga brings to your well-being. From self-awareness and decreased anxiety to better breathing habits and posture, there are plenty of good-for-you gains to get from a yoga workout. But it turns out, yoga isn’t the only way to reap those benefits. In fact, you can skip the downward dog altogether and do one very simple activity instead: singing.
Singing releases endorphins, a hormone associated with feelings of pleasure, and oxytocin, a hormone that has been found to alleviate anxiety and stress and enhance feelings of trust and bonding. Plus, study after study has found that singing relieves anxiety and contributes to your quality of life. But what else can singing bring to the table? Well, to find out, we talked to the experts about what we can expect if we try to turn ourselves into the next Taylor Swift.
1. Better Breathing Habits: We all know that a focus of yoga is breathing. And guess what? Proper breathing is super important when you’re singing too. “The controlled breathing practiced during yoga can reduce stress and increase alertness. The act of singing similarly requires the voice to be regulated to sustain the notes,” says Lana Albright, a formally trained singer and Match Maker at Reverb Lessons.
2. Improved Posture: No need to bust out a headstand or tree pose to get better posture. In fact, Albright says that standing up straight is key to proper singing technique. “As your chest cavity expands and your shoulders and back align, you’re improving your posture.”
3. More Exercise: “When you practice proper singing techniques and vocal projections, your lungs get a workout. In addition, singing promotes a stronger diaphragm and stimulates circulation. Some even argue that singing can increase your stamina, since you pull in a large amount of oxygen while singing,” says Albright.
4. Stronger Voice: This one might seem a little obvious, but adding singing to your daily routine will give your voice a workout you probably didn’t know it needed. “Something great about taking voice lessons is you actually just end up learning how to use your voice on a day-to-day basis more efficiently and healthily. Understanding how to support your speaking voice, as well as placement of your sound, can help with projection, and it can save your voice,” says Emily Thebaut, a voice lessons instructor.
5. Higher Confidence: I’ll be the first to admit, nothing boosts your confidence quite like nailing your first crane pose. But you can get that same feeling by belting out a song. Albright says, “Performing in front of an audience of any size and receiving praise helps you overcome stage fright and increase confidence. The more you put yourself out there, the more comfortable you become in front of a group — whether you’re singing or giving a presentation.”
6. Easy Mood Booster: You know that feeling you get when you’re busting out a tune at full blast during your morning shower? Turns out, there’s a reason those five minutes leave you feeling so good. “Singing is one of the easiest musical skills to pick up because you don’t need anything but your voice. You can get an instant mood boost, whether you’re singing on a stage or in the shower. To reap the additional benefits, it’s easier than ever to work singing lessons into your busy schedule. Reverb Lessons, for example, connects you with an instructor who can work around your schedule and is even willing to meet you at your home or give you lessons online,” says Albright.
Tweet us your favorite songs to jam out to @BritandCo!
(Photo via Getty)