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Rhythms and Oscillations


I taught my last webinar, Rhythm and the Breath, yesterday. As I was talking about oscillations, I internally reflected on my rhythms. We have rhythms that frame our days, months, moments, many of which we are unaware of. Some oscillations, from one thing to another, cover seasons, or epochs of our lives.


I taught my first workshop in 2014 with a fellow teacher. It wasn't on breathing. I enjoyed the process of creating an experience, of using that time to do something special with the people who attended. I've taught many workshops since, but in 2017 I taught my first workshop on the intersection of functional and yogic breathing. This has been, is still, a passion of mine. With all of the breathwork out there I feel deeply that it's important to educate people, yoga teachers in particular, on the science of breath. We can choose to do what we like with breathing, but I feel it should be choices made from a place of understanding.


I started teaching webinars online in 2018, first to other breathing professionals about yogic breathing, and then to yogis about functional breathing. There was a lot of confusion on both ends — there still is, I believe. Just before we landed in the mess of this pandemic, Jane Clapp and I got together and taught the first iteration of Traumatic Stress & the Breath. We went on to teach it 4? more times together. That was really wonderful. I've continued teaching webinars since then, but I feel the rhythm changing.


I was fortunate enough to be able to learn many things through the online space over the past few years. We all did a big pivot to teaching online — that's what was available. I'm grateful that Dr. Rosalba Courtney put her Integrative Breathing Therapy Practitioner course online and I could learn from her and be certified all the way from Australia. I'm currently in a yoga therapy program out of Amsterdam, with the lead teacher in Spain, and other teachers in Switzerland, Belgium, The Netherlands, and fellow students all over the world. What an opportunity! This has been a gift that covid-19 gave me.


But, oh my goodness, how many hours a day do I stare at my computer? I mean, I'm doing my usual computer work, plus courses I'm taking, plus courses I'm teaching, and the webinars I'm running. I'm feeling online fatigue.


And I think I'm not alone. I've notice the the webinar uptake is on the downturn. It feels natural, as we have moved out of isolation, yearning to be back in person with people, that we are spending less time in online spaces. The pendulum has swung, and that's good. I'm also looking forward to being in a space with people again as the renovations here are wrapping up and I'll be teaching yoga in person again.


When oscillations are in sync we can see the rhythms and the wave form's amplitude increases. And when oscillations are out of sync we see chaos. That's what it felt like this week leading up to the workshop — it felt out of sync. That's okay, the rhythms have shifted.


I'm grateful for the time I've taught webinars online. I'm glad that I can continue to teach in other ways online. And I'm okay with moving forward to new things.


For now, I'll prepare for the Pranayama Course that starts in January and breath retraining courses. And of course, getting back to the mat with people in the room.





Fifteen uncoupled simple pendulums of monotonically increasing lengths dance together to produce visual traveling waves, standing waves, beating, and (seemingly) random motion.

The length of the longest pendulum has been adjusted so that it executes 51 oscillations in 60 seconds, and the length of each successive shorter pendulum is carefully adjusted so that it executes one additional oscillation in this period. Thus, the 15th pendulum (shortest) undergoes 65 oscillations in 60 seconds.

Our apparatus was built from a design published by Richard Berg [Am J Phys 59(2), 186-187 (1991) https://doi.org/10.1119/1.16608] at the University of Maryland. The particular apparatus shown here was built by our own Nils Sorensen. For more details see http://sciencedemonstrations.fas.harv...

Video courtesy of Harvard Natural Sciences Lecture Demonstrations, © 2010 President and Fellows of Harvard College and can be found on YouTube under this account.



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