At ACDA we listened to a friend of mine give a presentation on bel canto techniques in the choral rehearsal. Many things stood out to me during his presentation , but two pieces that stuck with me particularly were images he used around the breath -
"When you breathing in , you just need enough to satisfy."
"Creat an open, empty space"
-drawing attention to the feeling of emptiness in either/ both the pharyngeal area or lower ribs and abdominal region
Something about this language has really stuck with me and I've used it many times since. The contrast of the word empty to the usual action of "fill up". And the idea that there's a sensation of air that satisfies you and your breathing/singing task, instead of the 'right' amount where it's more important to look like you're working for air than listening to what your system needs.