good speech


Speech, or Vaachika (Sanskrit)

Most common questions I come across is how to speech? First lets understand the meaning of speech, defined as “The expression of or the ability to express thoughts and feelings by articulate sounds”. And it is all to do with breathing.

  • Observe the breath,
  • Control the breath,
  • Make the breath sound,
  • Let the sound of the breath fill the auditorium,
  • Your speech should reach the last spectator, on the last seat.

These 5 instructions are like five commandments for anyone who’s job is much to do with Speech, like actors, voice artist, public speaker etc. In Sanskrit language, breath is called praana: the breath of life. But the fact is, we do not seem to care much of our breath neither do we observe our breathing pattern.

Control the breath, rather breathlessness controls you instead. Breathlessness cuts your sentences abruptly and meaninglessly.

Training in breathing should lead to voice training and voice training in turn should lead to speech training. The best way to train one’s voice is through music training.

To Control breath is to control mind.

Breathing Practice

a) Pranayam – Hold your breath a little longer than usual, repeat 4 times, further by blocking nostrils with fingers, again 4 times. Lastly, focus on abdomen, push your abdomen with a jerk.

b) Long breathing.

  • Inhale, Exhale with a closed mouth. Repeat 4 times.
  • Inhale, Exhale with an open mouth. Repeat 4 times.
  • Inhale, Exhale on a “humm”. Repeat 4 times.
  • Inhale, Exhale on a “humm into aaahh”. Repeat 4 times.

c) Vippasana – Slightly upward head. Focus on tip of triangle above your nose or on point between eyebrows, while breathing. Do it for 10 minutes minimum.

Voice Practise

First Stage

Alphabets are divided into 2 categories; Vowel & Consonants

Vowels – a, e, i, o, u ; Consonants – p, k, t, l, h etc.

These sounds sit on a vowel and produce variations such as; (taking an example of P letter) – Pa, Pe, Pi, Po, Pu.

Vowels arranged in slightly different order to form a cyclic movement to start with Voice training; u, o, a, e, i. In kannada, it becomes, OO, OH, AA, EY, EE. It forms a vowel cycle and can be practised to use as basic voice and speech excercise. Also, try to form a single cyclic movement in one breath. Do it repeatedly. Do not forget to watch your lips, teeth, tongue, opening and closing as needed.

Second Stage

Choose a consonant, attach it to the vowel and do the cycle. For example,

P – Poo, Po, Pa, Pey, Pee; K – Koo, Ko, Ka, Key, Kee and so on.

Focus on the clarity of the consonant. K should sound K not Q.

Third Stage

Alpa Praana (Small breath); Maha Praana (Heavy breath, that consumes more breath than normal)

Alpa Praana – Koo, Ko, Kaa, Key, Kee

Maha Praana – Khoo, Kho, Kha, Khe, Khee