Lesson Outline

References: Looking down, looking up (base of neck changes). Length of breath cycle.  Distance of lumbar from floor.

  1. Supine, feet standing, exhale and pull the abdomen in “Till you can feel the space below your ribs becoming empty”.
    • 1a. Lie on the stomach, do the same. Notice when the stomach leaves the floor and you feel the ribs press the floor. Is there a left right difference in contact?
    • 1b. Turn and reduce the contact of the left chest with the floor. Do the same breathing. The left side now needs to breathe more in order for you to feel floor contact
    • 1c. Do the same on the other side: reduce the contact of the right chest. Now return to the middle and breathe thus. Can you feel the small floating ribs creating the accommodation for breath?
  2. Supine, feet standing. Lift the head with the hands and simultaneously exhale in this way
    • Are the abdominals that help lift the head the same that help exhale?
    • If you lift the head too much, the belly won’t go in. The head then lowers
  3. Stand on the knees, crown on the floor, elbows in the air
    • Is the exhalation shorter, when inverted?
    • Exhale in this way
    • Does the head roll and the neck lengthen?
  4.  Supine, legs long. Breathe in this way. Compare length of exh. and inh.
    • 4a. Lie the arms long above the head, legs long, breathe this way. What happens to the arms? Where do you feel it in the back? Exhale, wait, exhale more. Do you feel a pull as far as the legs?
    • 4b. Supine arms above head, feet standing. Lift the pelvis, breathe in this way. Does anything happen in the arms? Do the collar bones and chest expand? “This position forces that he higher parts of the body work harder than usual. In turn, this makes your usual breathing easier.”
    • 4c. Right leg straight, left foot standing, lift left pelvis, breathe like this. Change legs around. Rest, sense if the chest is flatter than usual
  5.  Stand on all fours, hang the head and pull the abdomen in whilst exhaling. The part that is highest from the floor is 10cm above the belt line. Note the head lowers and rounds as you breathe
    • 5a. Stand the right foot, place the right forearm on the floor. Breathe like this. Do you feel asymmetry in the back, in the breathing?
  6. Change sides
  7. Supine, breathe this way while lifting the chest (off the floor)
    • 7a. Stand on the knees, crown and hands on the floor, breathe this way. Feel the body rolls over the top of the head
    • 7b. Stand the toes, continue till you can lift the knees. Move not powerfully, not fast, not too much
    • 7c. Continue, bring the back of the neck (towards the idea of being) in contact with the floor. Rest. Feel what is happening in your body now
  8. Stand, hands on knees, knees gently bent, lower the body (bottom) with arms staying straight. Contract the abdomen and exhale, hold the breath at the end, then contract the abdomen even more. Then inhale. Repeat about 10 times
  9. Stand, sense

Insights and Focus of Teaching

Related ATMs

On knees and head:

Lengthening the neck:


  • Epiglottis on wikipedia:
  • Mp3s in german language: Alfons Grabher
  • Video of a fitness professional demonstrating the Stomach Vacuum
  • A free version of Larry Goldfarb teaching this lesson can be found on Mind in Motion. You need an account to access the lesson. Once you have an account, go to your “Library” and search “Free ATMs” and then “Alexander Yanai”
  • Fast forward Feldenkrais lessons AY21 Contracting the abdomen while exhaling by Alfons Grabher

More Insights (ideas, principles, strategies, experiences, …

  • Youtube comments from Marincxr: He is inhaling with a closed glottis which causes the diaphragm to contract and suck in the abdominal cavity. The transversus abdominus are mucles used for expiration during exercise. The diaphragm is the main muscle (There are other muscles that contribute like intercostals , scalene and sternocleidomastoid) used in the process of inspiration or breathing in and if done with a closed glottis causes this effect. The transverse abdominus is used in forced expiration not inspiration. The transversus abdominus is used exclusively in forced expiration so how is he training it while doing a vacuum.
  • I took a stop watch to my breathing:
  • Dr. Ludwig Schmitt, the great German doctor and author of the book “Atemheilkunst” identified 18 groups of muscles that have to play together in breathing (the pelvic floor being just one of them).

– AlfonsGrabher Dec 3, 2014

  • Repeatedly flattening the belly whilst exhaling, in different positions including in semi headstand. try this lesson for its effect on the. The action is a lot to do with pulling the belly in. Therefore, the lesson focuses on the muscular aspects of the exhalation. But, why use the abdomen to exhale, actively, in contrast to passive exhalation due to diaphragmatic relaxation? Cf with breathing by welding, where the focus is on molding, or directing the air in to, the chest and skeleton. Cf with AY28, where the body is taken into an asymmetric position, and see saw breathing happens, in other words, has to do with position, rather than, or in addition to action. Other breathing lessons have to do with frequency, cadence, nose, etc., i.e. the breath itself, rather than the neuro-muscular-skeletal habits or possibilities of movement. (B. Parsons)


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