Breathing embodiment: a study of Middendorf breathwork

Howard, John Donald (2007) Breathing embodiment: a study of Middendorf breathwork. PhD thesis, Victoria University.

Abstract

This thesis is about Middendorf breathwork, a way of cultivating breath and body awareness developed by Ilse Middendorf (b.1910, Berlin), based on sensing subtle bodily movements that occur with breath as it is allowed to come and go on its own. Drawing on the author’s personal experience, together with interviews and formal workshops with peer participants, the thesis describes the practice of Middendorf breathwork, traces Middendorf’s forebears and contemporaries, situating her work in relation to other somatic bodies of work, and discusses the significance of Middendorf breathwork in relation to contemporary discourses around breath, embodiment, and experience. The author proposes that the practice of Middendorf breathwork invites a different experience of embodiment through an integration of the kinæsthetic realm with thought, emotion, and intuition through breath. This practice can connect the individual with the somatic ‘intelligence’ of their body and offer an experience of how this links them in to a greater whole. Such an experience, it is argued, is a valuable redress to experiences of bodily abstraction in an increasingly technoscientific world.

Item type Thesis (PhD thesis)
URI http://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/1522
Subjects Historical > RFCD Classification > 320000 Medical and Health Sciences
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Sport and Exercise Science
Keywords breathing exercises, Middendorf breathwork, mind and body
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