Your study guide for ATM lessons



  • Use seesaw breathing to create a freer breath. In this ATM, seesaw breathing is done in various positions: on your back, stomach, side, and kneeling.
  • To do seesaw breathing: breathe in filling expanding your lungs. Hold your breath. Without breathing out, contract your chest pushing the air into your abdomen causing the abdomen to expand. Then contract your abdomen causing your chest to expand. Repeat, seesawing the chest and abdomen until you need to take in a new breath.

Lesson Outline

  1. Lying on your back with your knees bent (clarify position of knees over feet for optimal balance), explore the effect of breathing has on the movement of your chest, particularly the lifting of the sternum without lifting the spine from the floor.
  2. Then expand chest without breathing in. Compress chest (expand belly) without breathing out.
  3. Alternate, chest/stomach (seesaw breathing) a few times slowly and gently. Then repeat doing the movement as quickly as possible (but not hurried). Gargling sounds in belly?
  4. Do this seesaw motion, but independently of your breathing in and out.
  5. Lying on your stomach and breathing normally (not holding your breathe), alternate expanding your chest and then your stomach. First, notice if the chest and stomach touch the ground exactly in the middle. Then accentuate the diagonal ground contact, i.e. when you push out the chest, press the left side to the ground and when you push out the stomach, press the right side to the ground. Repeat along the other diagonal.
  6. Do seesaw breathing in the following positions:
  7. Lying on your right side with your head raised (with the help of your left hand).
  8. Lying on your left side with your head raised (with the help of your right hand).
  9. Lying on your back with your head and shoulders off the floor (you are supported with both forearms) and your head lowered until the chin touches the sternum.
  10. Lying on your back with your head and shoulders off the floor (you are supported with both forearms) and your head dropped back.
  11. Kneel with your head on the floor.
  12. Kneel with your head on the floor and left knee a little closer to your head. Then with your right knee closer.
  13. Sitting with your soles together, with your right hand touching the lower left ribs and your left hand touching the lower right ribs, and with your head lowered.

Focus of Moshe’s Teaching

  • Indicate focus or key principles that are made explicit in the teaching
  • 11 and 12 reverse your relationship with gravity: to expand the belly, the ribs must contract but now have to do that in an action aganist, rather than with, gravity; similarly, pushing with the diaphragm has to lift the contents of the abdomen against gravity rather than pushing down into gravity.

Related ATMs



Share Your Insights (ideas, principles, strategies, experiences, …)

  • Note that 1 explores the “pump” action of the (primarily) upper ribs, in lifting forwards. Then of course 2-4 explore the diaphragm as agent of breathing but also independent of breathing. 7-8 call on the bucket handle action of the lower ribs. – LynetteReid Nov 22, 2012
  • I was very surprised teaching it recently to see how the 7-8 bucket handle motion can be missing from people, and then if the challenge of reversing the relationship to gravity in 11 isn’t met, 12 becomes very mysterious. – LynetteReid Nov 22, 2012

Key Ideas, Principles, Strategies

  • Different postures and situations (e.g. swimming, walking, sitting, lying, singing, and playing the trombone) require different ways of breathing. People have habitual ways of breathing, e.g. to always expand the chest when breathing in. However, in this ATM, you learn that you can expand your chest when breathing in or when breathing out. By sensing these options, you gain more choice in how you breathe and can breathe in a way that is most efficient in any given situation.

Typical results

  • Freer breath and standing taller.

Personal Comments

  • I remember the first time I did this ATM in my training. I started with a lot of tightness in my shoulders and upper back. After this ATM I felt much better. The gentle expansion and contraction of the ribs and was like having a internal shoulder/back massage. – yedwab Sep 16, 2010

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