Having a long breath is a necessity for those involved in Quranic recitation (Tilawah). Not everyone is naturally blessed with a long breath capacity as it is closely related to the size of one’s lungs within the chest.
Individuals with larger lungs can hold a greater volume of air. If you don’t possess this natural capacity, don’t worry; breathing can be trained.
Quran reciters (Qori’ and Qori’ah) have their own methods for practicing and achieving long breaths. A long breath is crucial for maintaining the quality of Quranic recitation.
This article will discuss how to develop long breath through breathing exercises. Here’s the breakdown:
Diaphragmatic Breathing Exercises
Quran readers (Qori’ and Qori’ah) must be well-versed in breathing techniques. This is because adhering to the rules of Tajweed, which concern the length of recitations (Ahkamul Mad wal Qoshr), as well as stops and starts (Waqof and Ibtida’), necessitates having long breaths to align with these rules for recitation.
There are three types of breathing techniques: abdominal, chest, and diaphragmatic breathing. Diaphragmatic breathing is the most suitable technique for Quran recitation.
Diaphragmatic breathing focuses on the diaphragm (the muscle separating the abdominal and chest cavities). In diaphragmatic breathing, the muscles between the abdomen and chest tighten while the side muscles around the waist expand as the lung cavities fill with air.
Here’s how to perform diaphragmatic breathing exercises:
- Stand upright and take a deep breath. Direct the air into your lungs until you feel your diaphragm tighten. Hold it for a few moments. Then exhale slowly. Repeat this process up to eight times.
- Stand upright and take a deep breath. Direct the air into your lungs until your diaphragm contracts. Hold for a few moments. Exhale while making a hissing sound. Repeat this diaphragmatic breathing exercise up to eight times.
- Stand upright and take a deep breath. Inhale into your lungs until the diaphragm tightens. Hold for a few moments, then exhale while pronouncing vowel sounds (a, i, u, e, o). Repeat this exercise up to eight times.
- Stand upright and inhale deeply, making the diaphragm contract, then exhale immediately. Perform this diaphragmatic breathing exercise rapidly and repeatedly.
Regular Breathing Practice During Quran Recitation
There are four steps you can take:
- Sit cross-legged or stand while reciting. Begin by praying to Allah for an extended breath to recite the Quran.
- Assess your breath capacity by blocking one nostril with your finger and inhaling as deeply as possible. Hold your breath until you feel your lungs can no longer take in more air.
- Continue to hold your breath for as long as possible. The longer you hold your breath, the more you’ll improve your breathing capacity.
- Exhale slowly, then repeat the process. Practice these breathing exercises daily, in the morning and evening.
To enhance your breathing for Quran recitation, it’s not just about the techniques; physical exercise is essential. This balance between technique and physical stamina will support your breath capacity.
You can engage in exercises such as running, swimming, yoga, martial arts, and more. Perform these exercises at least three times a week for 15 minutes each session.
After exercising, practice deep breathing by inhaling and exhaling slowly. You can also practice diaphragmatic breathing by exhaling near a lit candle without extinguishing the flame.
Breathing exercises should be complemented with voice training. Here’s how:
- Inhale deeply and hold the breath in your abdomen or diaphragm. Hold it for a few seconds. Then exhale slowly while making a sound. You can hum a tune or practice the rhythmic patterns used in Tajweed (Naghom) without lyrics, such as Bayati, Shoba, Hijaz, Shikka, Jiharkah, Nahawand, Rost, and others.
- You can sing a freeform song or melodious tunes using Naghom patterns.
Additional Support for Breathing Exercises
Here’s an extra tip to enhance your breathing exercises:
Every night, place a container of boiled water in an area where it will catch the morning dew. In the morning, you can drink this water before Fajr (pre-dawn prayer).
Perform these steps consistently for approximately one year, and you’ll see beneficial results.
Refrain from consuming foods that can disrupt your respiratory system. Avoid fried foods, sugary drinks, carbonated beverages, ice-cold drinks, and coconut milk. Excessive consumption of these foods can lead to respiratory issues like coughing and hoarseness.
Instead, drink plenty of plain water, which acts as a lubricant for your respiratory organs. Additionally, consume fruits and vegetables with high water content.
To achieve longer breaths, make it a habit to wake up early. Don’t delay past the time of Fajr. Upon waking up, clean your throat by gently inserting your finger to remove phlegm and mucus.
Drink warm water slowly, avoiding hot beverages that can harm your throat.
These are the techniques and practices that can help you achieve longer and deeper breaths, enhancing your Quranic recitation quality.
Here are several methods to develop longer breaths through breathing exercises, complemented by a healthy diet to ensure unimpeded respiratory function. Following these steps, you can expect your breath capacity to improve over time, ultimately enhancing your Quranic recitation quality.