Holding Your Breath, in Awareness (15 or 39 min, Patrons)

Back-lying and some front-lying. Relaxing the nervous system by exhaling through consonants, then bringing awareness to what actually happens when we hold and release the breath, so we can become freer and more spontaneously adaptive to life's different breathing situations. The first 15 minutes can be a standalone lesson.

Before you begin read this for practical tips and your responsibilities, and check out Comfort & Configuration below.

Recorded live in a Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement (ATM) class, this lesson is copyright Nick Strauss-Klein, for personal use only.

Tip – Complete the Movement

Study tip: Complete one movement before beginning the next. You’ll improve faster if there’s enough time between movements that you feel fully at rest.

Tip 3 – Head Support

Study tip: It helps to have a large bath towel nearby when you start a lesson. You can fold it differently for comfortable head support in any configuration.

Tip – LESSS is more

LESSS is more: Light, Easy, Small, Slow, & Smooth movements will ease pains and improve your underlying neuromuscular habits faster than any other kind of movement, no matter who you are or what your training is!

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Tip 4 – Padding

Study tip: Comfort first! Carpeted floors usually work well, but it’s great to have an extra mat or blanket nearby in case you need a softer surface in some configurations.

Tip – What’s New

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Tip – Pause the recording

Study tip: If you’re really enjoying a movement and want to explore longer, or you just need a break for a while, pause the recording!

Tip 5 – Discomfort

Study tip: If a configuration or movement causes any increase in discomfort, or you feel you just don’t want to do it, don’t! Make it smaller and slower, adapt it, or rest and imagine.

Tip – Rewinding

Study tip: Many instructions are repeated. If you get a little lost, rest and listen. You’ll often find your way. Or use the rewind button on the page or your mobile device.

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Tip 1 – Interrupted?

Study tip: Interrupted or don’t have enough time? You can return to the lesson later today or tomorrow. Read how best to continue your learning on our FAQ page.

Tip – skip a lesson

Study tip: If you can’t find a comfortable way to do the initial movements or configuration of a lesson, it’s ok to skip it for now and go on to another lesson.

Tip – Directions are Relative

Study tip: Directions are always relative to your body. For example, if you’re lying on your back “up” is toward your head, and “forward” is toward the ceiling.

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Tip – what to wear

Study tip: Wear loose, comfortable clothes that are warm enough for quiet movement. Remove or avoid anything restrictive like belts or glasses.

We offer over 50 free lessons, but this one's just for our Patron-level donors. You can learn about it in the free lesson notes and comments below, but to access the audio you’ll need to join The FP as a Patron. Learn more

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Please explore this whole lesson lightly and gently. There’s no need to sustain holding your breath longer than a few moments. In fact, you’ll learn more if you’re relaxed and breathing as often as feels good.

If you’re unable to lie on your belly, just imagine your way through those few variations.

After your first listening, it’s possible to explore many of the movements in this lesson in almost any position. See if you can adapt it to sitting, or lying on your side. For the gentle head rolls, you could just slightly turn your head from side to side. Keep it small, slow, and smooth.

This lesson is found in Patrons Monthly, our growing collection of new lessons (one or more added every month) for Feldenkrais Project Patron-level donors.

It also appears in our Breathing with Vitality Deep Dive.

It was recorded during the 2020 Q3 Patrons Update and Lesson video conference. Patrons can view the update here. There was some great discussion with students after the lesson.

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Members and Patrons. Learn more or login:

Got a question for Nick, or a thought about this lesson?

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6 Comments

  1. orlaclarkeeircom-net on October 6, 2020 at 7:08 am

    Hi Nick, I love the lesson ‘Holding your breath in awareness’, I am finding it a great source of confidence, and I sincerely hope American politics calms down sometime soon, the pandemic is quite enough to cope with! I am inclined to repeat lessons and I suppose I loose the element of confusion, does it matter much? could you suggest a lesson to help with a painful coccyx? A very old damage which has resurfaced this year. Many many thanks for the sense of comfort and security you provide in these weird times. Orla Clarke

    • Nick Strauss-Klein on October 6, 2020 at 3:39 pm

      2020 sure has been a lot to reckon with…. Repeating lessons is great, so long as you find yourself curious. There’s value in sorting out confusions over time, and each time through has its own experience to offer anyway, as we’re always changing (even when the recording isn’t). Mix in an unknown lesson here and there when novelty and confusion sound intriguing again! Coccyx challenges are tricky to address even if I could watch you move in person, but off the top of my head maybe try Breath, Belly, Back, and Hips: Connecting to the Earth. Let me know if that one isn’t a comfortable position or movement.

      • orlaclarkeeircom-net on October 9, 2020 at 6:42 am

        I really enjoyed doing that lesson, thank you!

  2. orlaclarkeeircom-net on October 8, 2020 at 11:49 am

    Thanks Nick, I will try that, and yes I find new learning every time I repeat a lesson!

  3. loripeifferphd@gmail.com on October 22, 2020 at 8:51 am

    Hi Nick,
    This was a beautiful exploration of breathing! Interesting to notice how my body was much less aware of possibilities for pausing after an in breath. I will return to this lesson, no question – I can feel the calming effect on my nervous system, which is welcome!
    Lori Peiffer

  4. Lorraine on March 29, 2021 at 4:57 pm

    I swam a lot as a child and consequently I am a very strong and confident breather. I found in this lesson that I have limited some possibilities and will be able to explore these now.

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