chapter
1 Pages

Breath

Sitting in that posture the students must do three full breaths, emptying out completely on each exhale. I then demonstrate how I want their breath performed: I give them a count of six in, and six out. On the first 1, 2, 3, they are to inhale and dilate their abdomen, so that the stomach (not the breast) sticks out. This action lowers the diaphragm, making more space for air in the lungs. On the 4, 5, 6, with the stomach dilated, the back part of their ribs should dilate also, thus opening even more room in the lungs. I call it the “Fish’s Gills”. On the exhale, 1, 2, 3, the stomach pulls in, pushing the diaphragm up toward the lungs while the ribs are still pushing out, and on 4, 5, 6, the ribs press against the lungs in the back, emptying what’s left of the breath, thus allowing the performer a “second wind”. I then create a beat with my hand on my knee, counting the numbers out loud while they practice this breathing, and after two such breaths, I augment the count to 8, then 10, and 12. This forces the students to breathe and exhale to a count, getting slower with each one, and teaching how to obtain longer breaths, while still not displaying any visible “heaving” frontally.