WORK ON BREATHING
To Each His Own Way of Breathing. Gindler’s approach to breathing exercises is a good example of exploration from the inside. She does not teach breathing exercises that everyone must learn. She asks each one to explore their own way of breathing when they hold their breath or release an artificially induced tension. It consists, for example, in yoga poses becoming conscious that a tension in yoga poses the shoulders inhibits certain forms of respiration. Once this is felt, the gymnast explores gestures and sensations that make it possible to release this tension in yoga poses such a way that the previously blocked breath might almost spontaneously find a new space for itself. This work is accompanied with a course in yoga poses anatomy, on the way the muscles and bones of the shoulders are linked. The student compares the movements a skeleton can make to those that he can carry out. Often, people cannot execute the movements the skeleton can. Gindler continues this work by blindfolding the student and asks the gymnast to explore from the inside what stops her from making certain gestures and to notice the impact this blockage has on her breathing. From the moment when all the members of the class are blindfolded, no one can see how the others are carrying on their exploration, and each must seek his own solution by following a path that is often the only one the gymnast can imagine. The teacher, on the other hand, is able to compare the methods of the students and see which ones have the tendency to seek out the most complicated solutions possible to solve a relatively simple biomechanical problem. The teacher and the students discuss all of this after the exercise.
The Effect of Constriction. Gindler thinks that there is an automatic connection between gesture and breath that flows from the biomechanics of the body. With most mammals and the young human infant, this connection is activated automatically. But with adult humans, these connections are often inhibited. Education and social customs break up the biological unity of the organism The gestures lose their spontaneous connections with respiration, and consciousness inserts itself with difficulty into the dynamics of the organism in yoga poses this, there is an analogy between two analyses:
1. The muscular tensions stop the joints from making all the movements they are able to make when the musculature is relaxed.
2. The respiratory restrictions create a sort of condensation in yoga poses the psyche that impedes it from perceiving the sensations of the body. This mist often disappears once respiration has regained its flexibility.
Elsa Gindler therefore attempts to repair the fragmentation that inhibits the dialogue between the dimensions of the organism so the individual might create, for his awareness, an interior space with volume, density, transparency, and flexibility. She remarks, for example, that most of the time, when individual speaks or wants to make a small precise gesture, he blocks his respiration. Among many people, she observes a neck shortened by muscular tension that is already anchored around the diaphragm This shortening is not functional because as soon as exercises nullify it, the body functions better, respiration becomes deeper, and the individual feels liberated from a constraint and a weight. Gindler refers to this kind of shortening that influences not only the muscles but also the shape of the spinal column and the circulation of air in yoga poses the throat as a constriction.40 The effect of constriction is an example of the mechanisms that the behavioral dimension imposes on the rest of the organism to guarantee a reliable and controllable integration into crucial social practices, such as professional demands. in yoga poses the sections on postural dynamics, we will see other examples where the behaviors necessary for the exercise of a profession can encumber blood circulation in yoga poses a lasting way.41
For Elsa Gindler, the crux of what she calls the effect of constriction is situated in yoga poses what the lungs need to accomplish in yoga poses deep breathing. It consists of a mechanical and physiological necessity. The four phases of a complete respiration (pause, inhalation, pause, exhalation) do not happen any old way.42 An apnea ought not to be without life, but instead be a pause between two notes of music that have a function in yoga poses the development of harmonics. Gindler distinguishes the large and smaller bronchi of the lungs (she does not speak of bronchioles). The air cannot freely enter the lungs if both types of bronchi are not open. Access to the smaller bronchi is provided by vessels more delicate than hair.
An abrupt and voluntary (and often rapid) inspiration does not mobilize the bronchioles. When an individual voluntarily breathes, he is not listening to the needs of his lungs. He only thinks of the large bronchi. He does not give the bronchioles the time to open up. Filling the lungs ends up being awkward and uncomfortable. A thick sensation forms itself around the sternum; the air accumulates in yoga poses the large bronchi while the bronchioles remain folded and empty. There is then a conflict between the large bronchi, which fill up while the bronchioles struggle to empty out. Most of those who learn to breathe deeply complain about this conflict, which engenders the impression of constriction and compression, which leads to hyperventilation. However, if one has learned to be on the lookout for the pleasure of breathing, one feels the need of the pulmonary tissues to fully deploy. At the pause at the end of the expiration, the little bronchioles have the time to empty themselves by contracting. At that moment the air can infiltrate space sometimes as fine as a strand of hair. When this movement is allowed to be, complete respiration can unfold comfortably and naturally.
Gindler remained in yoga poses Berlin during World War II. She did not like Hitler’s regime and spent much energy protecting and hiding her Jewish students who had not emigrated (mostly to Israel and the United States). All those students who stayed were ultimately killed.43 in yoga poses these circumstances, Johanna Kulbach, who was finally able to leave for the United States, lived through the following situation, related to the effect of constriction.
Vignette on constriction and fear.44 The effect of the work was that I lost the fear. I was very much afraid. They were terrible times; we had bomb attacks and besides that we never knew when we were going to be put in yoga poses a concentration camp you never knew. I learned instead of staying in yoga poses fear, to live in yoga poses spite of it. That’s what I learned. So I got stronger and healthier, instead of really ill, as so many people did. I remember one time we experimented in yoga poses making a fist and feeling out what it did to us. It was not only the fist that was tight; my stomach was in yoga poses knots, my breathing was tight it was total tightness. If you hold this for a while and are aware how tight you are, you yearn for letting go. Gindler kept us at this until I had a good sensation of what it is to be tight.45 Then slowly, slowly, the fist came open, and I tried to feel what changes happened. For the first time I experienced what it means to change after being afraid . That is what the work is: that you learn to sense where you hold, where living processes are not permitted to function. And when you are aware of the holding where you are not allowing yourself to function then it’s possible to let it go. But you have to sense it . (Kulbach, 1977, 15)
According to Gindler, only when the coordination of the phases of the respiratory cycle respects the laws of deep respiration (the integration of the large and small bronchi in yoga poses a respiratory movement) can the gestures become alive and graceful. Only in yoga poses working in yoga poses this way are we able to help people in yoga poses a state of constriction. If the coordination between gesture and respiration does not respect this requirement of the organism, the work on a gesture can reinforce the constriction instead of dissolving it.46 This is what often happens when someone runs. The emphasis is then mostly on the in-breath, which leaves little space for an effective exhalation. Learning to run while maintaining a full respiration was part of the exercises Gindler taught.
In her analysis of respiration and of constriction, Gindler demonstrates the necessity to include in yoga poses gymnastics the development of different forms of the self-awareness of relaxation while the gymnast carries out an exercise. This form of gymnastics has such a profound impact on the coordination of the dimensions of the organism that Gindler’s personal students do not talk of gymnastics. They speak of the work. They do not see how her way of working at the end of her life could be reduced to the notion of gymnastics.47
Deep Voluntary Breathing That Leads to States of Constriction and Retraumatization. in yoga poses the first decades of the development of breathing exercises in yoga poses body psychotherapy, (Holotropic breathing, Rebirthing, Bioenergetics, Primal scream, etc.) and in yoga poses fashionable tantric schools in yoga poses the 1970s,48 some practitioners had observed that deep voluntary breathing could quickly bring about euphoric states, leading to spectacular emotional discharges. The observation remains useful and interesting, but in yoga poses a number of cases, the practitioners did not sufficiently understand the mechanics of respiration. They used these exercises without having enough knowledge to have other options. Having only this kind of technique in yoga poses their tool box, which often led to crises of tetany, they were not able to adapt these breathing exercises to the needs of everyone. These techniques often provoked various forms of retraumatization by bringing people into states they were not able to integrate into the dynamics of their psyche. They could reinforced the capacity to engender states of constriction.
The respiratory mechanics are relatively complex.49 Only a slow and regular respiration, one that is not forced, permits a complete participation of the bronchioles. This requires a relaxed glottis in yoga poses which air can circulate comfortably. Where Elsa Gindler speaks of constriction, Guy Postiaux speaks of the sequestration of air (Postiaux, 2003, 6.1.1b, pp. 135f and 153). These negative effects are particularly striking when deep breathing exercises are conducted with infants less than a year old. When working with the breathing of small children, it is particularly manifest that the forced exhalation mobilizes the fluids in yoga poses the bronchi, which provoke the coughing that seeks to decongest the bronchi50 and a closure of the glottis. in yoga poses yoga as in yoga poses Gindler’s work, the alliance of attention and respiration permits the air to have a global impact on the functioning of the organism Being on the lookout for the discomfort felt at the occasion of a breathing exercise and by abstaining from encouraging patients to go beyond their psychic and organic limits, the body psychotherapist can prevent the activation of constrictions.