In a workshop in London, England, Dr Feldenkrais spoke about breathing.
“What is correct breathing? The answer is as elusive as ‘What is clever or good talking?’
Our breathing apparatus is a thing to enable us to get enough oxygen; and get enough CO2 or carbon dioxide out of the body. There is no rule for breathing except that it must be a supple, versatile instrument. By the way you will see that it’s not enough.
There are other parts of the lung that can breathe independently, and unless your instrument can work as we said:
- that each function, the moving of the chest,
- the moving of the abdomen,
- the widening of the ribs,
- the moving of the diaphragm,
every one can go from the extreme limit of its function, as much to the left as to the right, as much strained as relaxed.
Any of those combinations are within your range, and all functions trained to the limit, then your body is ready, in whatever position, whatever situation you may be in: struggling, wrestling, swimming, diving, the breathing apparatus will adjust itself to provide you with the necessary air and the necessary elimination of CO2.
“Another very important thing: if you want to breathe better, don’t train the breathing in. Breathing in can be done in any wrong way, you won’t have any indication from your body that you are wrong.
Our system of breathing is triggered in the body: by the nervous system. Because, you see, it gets out of order too. … Breathing must be left to organize itself, just exactly as our speech. We learn to speak, we develop our intelligence, but we don’t dictate to anybody what to say on a given occasion.
…. The most important thing [is] breathing out, because this triggers and regulates the breathing in, in the way our body and nervous system are built.”
(Source: London 1974 transcript, Breathing lesson)