(This is an ongoing story. If you want to start at the beginning, click here.)
The first change I noticed during my first session was that my breathing shifted.
I used to go to a spinning class (a group exercise class that takes place on stationary bikes) and at the end of each class the instructor did a short cool-down that involved reconnecting with your breath. We were all on bikes, now peddling slowly, and he’d ask us to raise our arms out to the sides and up, the way a ballet dancer might ready herself for a pirouette. He told us to breathe in through our nose to a slow count of four while we raised our arms, and then slowly count four as we lowered them back down to our sides. Then, do the same thing but on a count of five. And then on a count of six. And finally, on a count of seven.
I could never do seven. In fact, I ran out of breath on “5” –– my lungs full to capacity. So I would just hold my breath for the extra one or two seconds and then slowly release.
No one actually cared about your breath count numbers. The instructor’s point was simply to have us slow down our breathing after a crazy-ass hour of peddling. I didn’t feel inadequate not being able to take in breath to a count a seven. Well, not very inadequate. Certainly not any more than usual.
AE had been touching me for maybe 10 minutes that first session when I felt my breath change.
I was lying on her table in my underwear and sports bra. It was warm – the beginning of summer – so I didn’t have any blanket over me and the ceiling fan hummed slowly overhead. She was standing next to my left hip and she’d been touching me lightly around my midsection, holding her fingers down until she felt something release.
My eyes were closed and I started to breathe more deeply (as you might when you become relaxed) and I began to notice that I could take in air for a long, long time before my lungs felt “full.” Such a long time that I felt the urge to measure it. I started to count, slowly, as I would if I were at the end of my spin class. Five, six, seven…I’m still inhaling…eight, nine…still inhaling…ten, eleven, twelve. Full.
I was sure that was a fluke, so I did it again.
I filled my lungs over and over again and they were never full before a slow count of ten.
This was the first little inkling I got of what AE was about to do to my body. She said it was about releasing fascia, a concept that I didn’t understand at all. But it felt real and profound and it was only the beginning of the changes that came about in that very first session.
So I lay back and enjoyed it.