Lesson Outline

Focus of Moshe’s Teaching

Related ATMs

Breathing in 4 parts:


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

My experience of this lesson was astounding, dramatic. The movements are relatively simple – staying in a twist and breathing in rhythmical four beats: Inhale, stop, exhale, stop. I think that because of the simplicity, I became able to track Moshe’s detailed guidance and to enlarge my attention accordingly, like never before. The result was that I experienced self-organization in the most powerful way.
Three quotes landed on me with particular force.
First, where Moshe says that without strain, without force, “gradually it organizes itself so it will be possible to make great changes in the tension of the back muscles, the neck muscles, and the chest.” (No. 1e.) The key language here was “it organizes itself.”
The significance of self-organization occurred next, when Moshe said:
“[P]ay attention to the feeling of these external parts. In them – you can feel a movement in the opposite direction than before. Inside – you can feel an emptying.” (No. 4d.) This language, combined with the stopping of the breath, pointed my attention into settling deeply, where my attention could become very calm and precise.
As a result, I felt two things simultaneously: Right now, where I was in the present moment, and the next moment, where I was about to go immediately following. This created an exciting tension. I felt like I was poised and balanced in what I was sensing in the moment, and, at the same time, confident and secure in where I was about to go. Pausing within this sense, during the stopped breath, I could truly relax, truly eliminate strain or force. As I result, I felt a glorious, powerful balance and expansion.
This, to me, was the feeling that “it organizes itself.” I felt like my system was arriving at, jumping off from, asserting, its own organic being-ness. Unforced, no “concept,” just – relaxing into the power that comes from simply being. The feeling was fantastic, spectacular, new to me in this huge way, despite that I have been practicing FM, and breathing techniques specifically, for many years.
Then, when Moshe said “[m]ove from place to place until it will be possible to feel all these sides at once. Pay attention to those places [you] don’t remember while feeling the movement of air” (No. 4f), this suggestion permitted me to enlarge the feeling I described above, only more explicitly: I could completely forget about a push to achieve, or go somewhere intentionally – that I could lie back in the poise of the moment, that my attention could pool outward to “all sides at once,” simultaneously, and that I could truly feel those places I “didn’t remember,” or, perhaps more accurately, simply hadn’t noticed before.
For the rest of the lesson, I could surf on Moshe’s detailed guidance, his language that was so dense and explicit. It was not work. Not a task to be done and got done with. It was dancing, it was fluidity, it was silken, it was bliss.
How many zillions of times have I heard, and have I told my own students, to be soft, to move simply, without force or ambition? Zillions. How many times have I myself felt the wisdom of that way of being? Many, many times. This was the first time, however, that that wisdom really clobbered me over the head, so to speak.
After, I felt so hugely moved, so utterly exhilarated, that it was difficult for me to hold the experience without tears. I had a great deal of trouble trying to articulate why the moment was so significant for me. All I could tell was that it was enormous. These words here are my attempt to describe it – still, they feel insufficient.
When I taught my next ATM, the relatively undemanding “cat-cow” of AY 177, making the spine flexible and integrating it, I placed much more emphasis on the breathing. A student whose overall stiffness has historically made movement difficult for her stood up, after, and said, “I have never felt so light.”
In my AY study group, after we did the lesson and after I had struggled to articulate what had happened for me, a member asked whether the effect of the breathing series immediately prior (AY 179-80, 185-87), which we have done sequentially, might have been a contributing factor. The answer is “yes.” The question also makes me realize I should add that I have been practicing meditation, rhythmical breathing, and Les Fehmi’s Open Focus for many years, every day for around half an hour, and especially intensively over the past seven years. No doubt this background helped, so I didn’t need to devote as much attention to mastering the breathing and, thus, I could experience the degree of rest and freedom I did.
Nevertheless, my student got the benefit from breathing and she has no such comparable experience. So breathing is for everybody – hurray! –  Anita Schnee, 1.7.18
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