The Long Inhalation: An Essential Circular Breathing Technique

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The Long Inhalation is a special circular breathing technique for didgeridoo or other winds, which is different from the way you see it taught.

To perform this exercise you will need your lungs to be mostly empty. Essentially you will play a drone and inhale through your nose for as long as possible while still maintaining the didgeridoo sound. The goal is to develop a circular breathing technique that lets you keep a strong drone while bringing air in through the nose. Don’t miss the video below!

Performing The Long Inhalation Circular Breathing Technique:

1. Exhale the majority of your air by blowing out
2. Put the didge up to your mouth and play a drone making sure your cheeks are full
3. Inhale through your nose at the slowest rate possible. Keep the sound of the drone strong by contracting the muscles of your cheeks and jaw to expel air. The air should flow at the same rate
4. Let the sound die out once you have run out of air

It’s important to let the sound die out at the end of each attempt (at first). This will allow you to fully focus on the principle of inhaling and making sound at the same time. Once you can do this successfully, move on to the following exercise.

Performing The Long Inhalation followed by Abdominal Burst:

Now you will perform the same steps 1-3 from the previous exercise with the following ending:

1. Exhale the majority of your air by blowing out
2. Put the didge up to your mouth and play a drone making sure your cheeks are full
3. Inhale through your nose at the slowest rate possible. Keep the sound of the drone strong by contracting the muscles of your cheeks and jaw to expel air. The air should flow at the same rate
4. Before the sound has a chance to die out, send a new wave of air through the instrument by engaging your abdominal muscles in a quick burst.
5. Play the drone for a while until you feel that your air supply is low
6. Repeat steps 3-5

Practicing this circular breathing technique will seem difficult at first, especially if you are new to the practice of didgeridoo or your wind instrument. Once you can master it, however, the long inhalation will allow you to perform circular breathing without losing any of the force of your air stream.

Ready for further training on circular breathing? Want to see how to put all the pieces together? Sign up below for a free video class on Circular Breathing Exercises You Can Try At Home.

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AJ Block is the director of Didge Project and is active as a didgeridoo teacher and performer. In addition to didgeridoo, AJ has spent years studying music traditions from all over the world including jazz (trombone and piano), western classical music, Indian Classical Music, guitar and world percussion. AJ has developed a number of programs for Didge Project including The ABCs of Didgeridoo, The Didgeridoo Skills Course, and Circular Breathing Mastery. He is also the author of Didge For Sleep, a didgeridoo learning method designed specifically for people with Sleep Apnea. As a performer AJ is the leader of the Didge Project Music Collective and a member of Dream Seed: A Shamanic Sound Journey. AJ is a founding member of Sacred Arts Research Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of sacred art traditions through education, ritual and study. As a student of spiritual teacher Maestro Manuel Rufino AJ is an active member of the Golden Drum community.