Case in point: The Somatic Exercise Pattern, Somatics Goes Bananas.
Somatics Goes Bananas involves two different movement patterns done rhythmically, synchronized, and combined.
I leave it to you to determine whether I've gone bananas.
It goes like this:
a side-to-side, standing rocking rhythm
a repeating, open-and-close breathing rhythm
The Standing Rocking Rhythm goes like this
(feet + or - shoulder width, parallel):
| pause | left - right - left | pause | right-left-right | pause |
So, that's a triangular rhythm, every pause, every right, every left, in constant, steady time. Please.
| pause | left - right - left - right - left | pause
pause | right - left - right - left - right | pause pause |
| pause pause | left - right - left - right - left | pause
pause pause | right - left - right - left - right | pause pause pause |
The musicians among you may try to get the experience just by imagining the rhythms, which they may. You others, on the other hand, may just have to make a fool out of yourself by trying it.
That's the one movement
Rocking Side to Side
The other movement is a breathing movement. I don't mean, for a minute, to interrupt your breathing. No, wait a moment, I do -- or more properly, I mean to teach you to interrupt your own breathing with deliberate breathing rhythms. As a result, you'll change shape in unexpected ways.
Breathing is The Big Banana.
It's amazing to me how many people don't know how to hold their breath. The words, "Hold your breath as if you were underwater," have no meaning for them. I'd be afraid to let such a person get close to a bathtub.
But, there they are.
This exercise first acquaints those needful of acquainting with their coughing muscle, the epiglottis, which sounds like something that jiggles except when snapped shut. And there you are.
Once a person can cough at will and feel what moves when they let the cough happen -- that feeling -- we introduce the notion of closing and opening their epiglottis valve without air passing back and forth. Think fish mouth or fish gills. Opening and closing. No noise.
Once the person can do that, we add staged breathing.
You start with a lungful
and holding the lungful
practice opening and closing
in the same rhythm as the side-to-side standing, rocking movement.
| pause | open - close - open | pause |close - open - close | pause |
Again, a triangular rhythm -- every pause, every open, every close, in constant, steady time.
| pause | open - close - open - close - open | pause
pause | close - open - close - open - close | pause pause |
| pause pause | open - close - open - close - open | pause
pause pause | close - open - close - open - close | pause pause pause |
a pentagonal rhythm.
Finally, you allow a measured amount of exhalation and, with the air that's left, do the open-close rhythm of your choice. Then, you lose a little more air and do open-close, then lose more air, step by step, until empty, and then reverse, inhaling, doing the same rhythms.
So you do both for a while, alternating, one at a time. Nobody can tell when you're doing the breathing one, but when you do the standing one, people may think you're off your rocker (although, more accurately, they should say you're on your rocker) -- or perhaps that you have to go to the bathroom. Badly.
But, being the adventuresome chap (or lass) that you are, you don't let that stop you.
Suddenly a novel idea occurs to you:
What if I do both at the same time.
A crazed gleam shines in your eyes.
"Yes! I'm breathing anyway, when I rock,
so I might as well get a little more mileage out of it."
So now, you've got this crazed look in your eye
and you're rocking side-to-side in synchronized rhythm.
Your breathing is staged, at times sounding like Quasimodo,
and each time you pause, whether "open" or "closed", you feel the pause
and suddenly you twist and then straighten up in a sudden way
I ask you. Where has Somatics gone?
So I can understand why you would want to keep this at arms length.
Still, isn't it a little tempting?
Do it in private. That's the key.
This is not something we want to do in public.
If about 100 individuals got together on the playing field, one afternoon,
and lined themselves up in rank and file
and started up in unison.
Then, we would really have something
-- something that looks like an army of robots about to stampede.
No amount of chiding, cajoling, or outright capitalistic temptation can get me to divulge what What I expect to happen when you do this -- and by this I mean the rhythm combination of movements called, Somatics Goes Bananas. Just don't do it in public. Except in large groups.
I know that humanity is a spooky lot, easily spooked, and so I am confident that one or two of you may give it a try, and you, in turn, will frighten everybody else. Get a hundred together and we'll frighten the Mayor.