Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Day 8: Babanzele Pygmy Chanting

Tuesday 10th January, 12.30pm class taught by Nicky

There are days, aren't there, when the universe just seems to be on your side?  For the second day in a row, I bagged the parking space right opposite the BYL studio door, but today, when I put my £3 in the parking machine out came my ticket and ... £2.40!  Wahey, with the auspices this good, this class could only work out brilliantly!

Well, it was a great class, actually.  I really like Nicky's pace, no hanging about between postures, and the energy just flowed.  My last few classes have all been taught by Nicky (as were my first ever couple of classes), and it is quite good to get used to the speed of one teacher.

But we need to talk about Kapalbhati Breathing - the final part of the class.  In the first set, I find snapping the belly in possible, but, when the tempo is doubled, I just can't keep up.  Having had three Caesarian sections, it's only been in the past couple of years I've felt I could engage my stomache muscles at all, but in the faster section, I can only properly pull in the top part of my stomache, near the diaphragm (having spent a significant portion of my life playing the trombone, I know a bit about the diaphragm) but the lower part of my stomache seems to need a bit longer to think about it.  Is this normal?  Will it improve?  Anybody else recognise this phenomenon??  Does anybody else here even have to think about pulling in different parts of their stomache, or do you just pull in at the centre and the whole lot moves at once???

So this one time, at band camp - no, actually, it was in one of Rachel's classes - the Kapalbhati breathing exercise sounded JUST like Babanzele Pygmy Chanting!  For those unfamiliar, the first 45 seconds of this will give you a pretty good idea.  It was just so amazing that I could not believe what I was hearing - everyone else seemed remarkably unmoved, I have to say!  Philistines!  Unfortunately, this has never again occurred in any class I've been to since, and, in truth, is unlikely to, because you need several unusual factors to come into play all at once in order to produce this effect:  at least three people exhaling very loudly on the off-beats (the usually-silent bit exactly halfway between each 'ha'), producing the funky interlocking effect, someone doing that funny whistle that you occasionally hear when someone (irregular) is making a small 'o' shape with their lips whilst exhaling, throw in a bit of asthmatic wheezy texture, and maybe a chest infection or two, and there you have it: Babanzele Pygmy Chanting.  Any one of those sounds is (very slightly) interesting (to me) to encounter in the breathing exercise, but to hear them all come together to create such beautiful musical polyphony, well, you can imagine my surprise and delight.  A highlight, and one I remember fondly in less-exciting moments of my life.

Laters. x 

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