Heels, lungs... The Most Important is to Breath!

In the rhythm of your own body.
There are two dancers in every person: right and left. One dancer is right, the other one is left. Two dancers, two lungs. Right lung and left lung. There are two dancers in every person – the right and left lung. Lungs are dancing and the person gets oxygen. If you take a spade and hit a person at the area where lungs are, the dance will end. If lungs don't dance, oxygen stops coming in.

"Oxygen", Ivan Vyrypaev
"Try to breathe in through your left heel. As if air could come out not only from lungs. And now let's imagine that we breathe out through the whole body" – this is an exercise given by my teacher of acting technique. Then, when I was at first year, it seemed to me an interesting game dedicated to develop creativity. Sometime later, I found out that this game is a very important process to which we pay attention only once in a while.
This game is a very important process to which we pay attention only once in a while.
I started to dance Argentinean tango after ballroom and sport dances. I was learning fast, and very soon I was in an advanced group, and my teacher called me an A-student. But the further I was going, the more I understood that it was not so simple. To be more precise, it is not simple at all. I felt I was getting tired very soon. I was always holding myself; my posture was not a natural position of my body. My efforts of an A-student to do everything right were helping me out for a long time. But then they started playing against me. And then I realized a simple thing – I don't breathe. Literally.

Every time I was coming into embrace, my breathe stopped somewhere at the level of my breast. No, of course, I was breathing. But superficially, without breathing out fully. There was always an "air cushion" left in my lungs, it created an illusion of additional control over my body and that it would not let me fall down, as if I was an air balloon. But instead, I got something very different. For example, suppression of intercostal muscles, trapezius and god knows what else.
And suddenly – I exhaled
It happened at that very moment when I gave myself a permission to make mistakes and softened the excessive control. When I allowed my step not to strive for surgical accuracy. When I trusted the rhythm of my own body. Which - unbelievably! – was always a helper and not an enemy that cunningly distracted my muscles with an additional movement, in order to – pfff! – only to get some oxygen! Nope.
It happened at that very moment when I gave myself a permission to make mistakes and softened the excessive control.
As soon as I figured out the connection between "inhale-exhale", thoughts, emotions and movement, I started to study breathing techniques and embodiment approach. My breathing "got down", "came to my back", became more profound and gradually filled in most of the body. Of course, not literally. As before, the air was going through my lungs. But all this process started to involve the diaphragm more confidently. And it started to set one rhythm to the whole body, which naturally involved various muscles. Each one started to give a signal to the neighbors. There was no more need to use a lot of tension in order to control shoulders, back, hips and other parts, because a connection appeared in the body. It was no longer a set of fragments and became one whole. So the exhale could "come down" to the heel.
Even and deep breathing is a matter of trust to your own body.
And of perceiving it not as a mechanism or "performer of the brain's ideas", but as your own self. In the true sense of the word.

My dancing became lighter, more pleasant and more understandable. In this moment I realized how the natural body correlations are important and useful in this dance. The "new option" was also relevant in the matters of contact in the couple. It turned out that it is possible to "catch a wave" with the partner in a purely physiological way. It is a special pleasure – to feel yourself through your breathing, and feel the partner through theirs, and create something together. This is how life pulsates in our bodies. This is how we feel we are alive.
This is pulsation of life in us. This is how we feel we are alive.
Besides, it is impossible to learn how to breathe. It is also impossible to unlearn (like the common joke about a hedgehog that forgot how to breathe and died). Because inhale and exhale are very natural. But it is possible (and even needed!) to discover the resources for this very natural process for human beings during the whole life.

Only now I understand how much we have inside that we cannot use and even do not notice. We have to learn a lot – to breathe, to move, to sound, to stand, to walk, to dance… And it is great! There are so many wonderful discoveries ahead!
So, will you try to breathe out through your left heel?..
Author: Daria Ermolaeva. Translation: Valentina Mitrieva.
Opinions expressed in articles within this blog may not coincide with those of the editor.
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