I have posted a short breathing course up on my YouTube channel, with the theme of breathing for better physical health and emotional well-being. These are the practices I encourage people to perform on a daily or near-daily basis. I like the idea that there is a selection of possibilities to choose from; in Feldenkrais we like to distinguish between the idea of daily exercise – i.e. perfecting some skill through repetition – and the Awareness Through Movement process, which is more about expanding our capacity for spontaneous creativity in response to what life brings by practising subtle action in a non-robotic, process-focussed way.
Here is how Moshe put it:
“The most common feature of people who achieve indescribable and superb performance is the hours of daily practise they all undertake throughout their lives. Hours of repetitive practice is hard work; hours of practicing awareness in movement or action remain the most absorbing and interesting time in our lives. The feeling of being alive relates to the awareness of growing to be oneself.”
The Elusive Obvious, Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais (1981)
Potent Breathing #1
This introduces my approach to breath-play, and is designed to support natural, healthy “nasal” breathing. I also cover other subjects that are the foundation of both my Feldenkrais teaching and my Potent Voice teaching, including Tidal Flow, Breathing Into The Hara, and finishing with a brief introduction to Overtone chanting.
I touch on the beneficial effects of extending the out-breath, and listening to the sounds we are making with attention and awareness, in the moment – behaviour that is a natural part of any form of singing practice – as a reliable way to shift ourselves into our naturally therapeutic parasympathetic rest-and-recuperate mode:
Potent Breathing #2
In the second video I begin with a quick recap and then go into Seesaw Breathing – a Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement classic. This lesson is featured in Moshe’s early book of the same name, although, as I have been teaching it now for 31 years, if you have experienced this lesson taught by other Feldenkrais teachers you may well detect some of my own personal “handwriting” in the mix…
Potent Breathing #3
After some delay I have just posted a third video up on my channel. In sequence these three lessons would work very well as a 90 minute “foundation class”, and I will be encouraging newbies to try them out as preparation for working with me on a more regular basis. This third film explores in depth a movement I have borrowed from a powerful breath training called Holographic Breathing; a soft opening and closing of the jaw that is synchronised with the in- and out-breath. I am calling the Awareness Through Movement version the “Bell Jaw”, in reference to the distinctive Bell Hand movement that was such a significant aspect of my Feldenkrais training. The “Bell Hand” lessons were what opened my eyes to the effectiveness of Awareness Through Movement as a stress and anxiety lowering practise. I then return to the theme of using sounds as a self-soothing process that I introduced in the first film. Here we are intensifying the beneficial effect of extending the exhalation and tuning-in to the sounds as an attention-training process by focussing on a particularly vibrant and resonant toning sound – check it out here:
As so much of my teaching practice is involved with voice and performance I have written several articles about breath-play already. I am listing some of them here…
Breathing Articles – a selection…
Earlier this year, to explain my expanding my teaching into more Qi related processes, I wrote Energise Your Breathing & Discover Your Potent Self.
I was nosing about in an archive of early Awareness Through Movement lessons when I rediscovered a theme I had not yet fully integrated into my teaching and was excited to realise how powerful it was for improving the organisation and posture of the spine and neck from the inside out: Breath Fully & Realign Your Spine.
Finishing with a more general article – now I am hanging out with the Biotensegrity crowd I will probably update this very soon: Breathing–Anatomy & Function.
I will post more on my dedicated YouTube playlist as regularly as I can – do check it out when you have time…
The image is a piece of public art by Alexis Diaz Lodz