Early in the canon of Feldenkrais’ group lessons that he taught on the street named after Alexander Yanai [יהונתן "ינאי" אלכסנדרוס], who was the bellicose second king of Judaea, you’ll find the one called, simply, BREATHING.
A rather audacious title, isn’t it?
It is not Moshe’s only Awareness Through Movement® lesson that makes the action of breathing its theme, not by a long shot. So why this title?
Perhaps he didn’t consider that this name made for such an absolute and final headline. Or he wasn’t thinking ahead about what he was going to call the other ATMs® on the same topic.
Or, maybe, there is something fundamental about this lesson?
More than halfway through the lesson, Moshe assures the class that the lesson has nothing to do with teaching yourself how to breathe. Quite the opposite, in fact. He declares that the lesson is about reestablishing, recovering, returning to breathing as your body is designed to breathe. But what does that mean?
He’s hinted at this idea earlier in this lesson, referring to the lesson as he was teaching it, “Here you are learning to rely on a natural mechanism.” If you’re familiar with Moshe’s method, you will recognize in this statement one of his primary premises: the way to improve your abilities is to engage your body’s existing neurophysical mechanisms. In this lesson, he gets you to use the swallowing reflex in an unexpected and most effective way to improve your respiration.
Rather than my attempting to explain this august lesson, I invite you instead to log into your Mind in Motion Online (MIMO) account so that you can listen to my recent rendition — recorded from the Feldenkrais® teacher’s AY a Day study group — and find out for yourself.
You’ll find the recording in the Library/Files section:
You can download the audio (MP3) file to listen to it whenever or wherever you like or you can stream it directly from MIMO to the internet connected device — smartphone, tablet, computer, etc. — of your choice.
If you have a professional, Become a Better Teacher, MIMO account, once you’re logged in you’ll also be able to access the recording of our post-lesson discussion. Just so you know ahead of time, it lasts something like an hour. Even so, I appreciated how sincere and straightforward our conversation was and found the content and the tone really engaging.
(If you have yet to sign up for your free MIMO account, you can do it now.)
What do you think of the lesson? What are your thoughts about why Moshe called it BREATHING?
Please let us know your thoughts, reactions, and contributions in the comments section below.
If you’re interested in Feldenkrais’ approach to improving how you breathe, you have a few more days before the early registration deadline for my 2019 Awareness Through Movement summer camp, A Breath of Fresh Air.
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