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Say Tongue
Dispersed Holdings
New York
12.3.16

Wherever you’re sitting, find yourself in a comfortable position–with your back supported, if possible, your feet on the ground.

(Pause)

Once you’ve settled, your whole body should feel supported.

(Pause)

What do you notice? Where do you feel most supported? Where does your body contact the floor, the chair? The back of the chair?

What do you notice in your sensation of your back, your chest, neck, jaw, and face?

(Pause)

When you’re ready, close your eyes and just feel what it’s like to sit with your eyes closed. Does closing your eyes give you any different sense of yourself?

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Keeping your eyes closed… or opening them… either way, scoot forward away from the wall or the back of the chair and locate some sense of your sits bones. You can rock a little bit from left to right if it helps to locate these two bony places of contact with the surface you’re sitting on.

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Now, if you can, allow your skeleton… the vertebrae of your spine… your shoulders, neck and head… to stack up one on top of the other. Feel supported, if you can, from your sits bones to the top of your head. No need to strain or force yourself to “sit up”… just notice the connection from your pelvis all the way up through your head.

(Pause)

And then, notice the effect this way of sitting has on your breathing. Breathe as fully or as deeply as you need to in order to sit in this way, towards the edge of the chair, legs uncrossed, both of your feet in contact with the ground if possible.

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You might place the palms of your hands on your thighs…. Whatever you do with your hands, make sure your arms are comfortable….

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Now bring your attention to your breath again.

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… to the space after your exhalation.

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There’s a small space after you exhale before you inhale. See if you can rest there (pause) (pause) after exhaling and before inhaling (pause). Spend a little time there in that space after your exhalation before your inhalation begins.

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Great.

Now take your tongue to the back of your right back molar, or the farthest back tooth on the right side of your mouth, where the tooth and gum meet and slowly run your tongue along the back of your top teeth.

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Take your time, moving tooth by tooth, gently touching and sensing each tooth with your tongue.

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What do you feel? What do you notice? Continuing towards the front of the mouth, in back of the right front tooth and left front tooth, slowly sensing the back of the teeth on the left side.

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Eventually, you’ll make your way around to the farthest top tooth on the left.

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When you get there, bring your tongue to the front surface of that last tooth, to the front of your top teeth…. And make your way, tooth by tooth, slowly, back to the right. Running your tongue along the front of your top teeth, between your teeth and your cheek or the flesh above your lip.

(Pause)

You can allow your mouth to open as you do this or you can keep your mouth gently closed, either way. Notice how much space there is for your tongue between your teeth, your gums, and the flesh of your face. Notice how happy or spacious your cheek and lip feel separating from your teeth, softening.

(Pause)

Once you make your way back around the front of your teeth, bring your tongue down to your bottom farthest tooth on the right, again, where the gum and tooth meet and continue with your tongue along the back of your bottom teeth,, taking your time, exploring each tooth… the sometimes curvy sometimes flat back surfaces of your bottom teeth.

(Pause)
Now, when you’ve come all the way around the back of your bottom teeth, bring your tongue to the front of your left back molar, or the farthest back tooth on the left side of your mouth, and run your tongue along the front of your bottom teeth, between your teeth and your cheek, the flesh below your lip.

(Pause)

You might open your mouth, or you might see what it feels like to keep your mouth closed, your lips gently touching.

(Pause)

Again taking your time to feel each tooth. Feel your teeth and cheek and lip separating. Sense all of the space between your teeth and gums and the flesh of your face.

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If it sounds potentially interesting, you might try the following: You might try imagining running your finger between your teeth and cheek, the way you have been running your tongue. You might find more space between your teeth and the flesh of your face this way. So, yeah, if you want, go ahead and rest your tongue and just imagine your index finger running between your bottom teeth and your cheek. Imagine slowly sweeping your finger along your teeth and gums on one side of your mouth…

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and then on the other side of your mouth….

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How does that feel?

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Okay, forget all that, and lean back again in your chair, your feet flat on the ground, eyes closed. What do you notice? Where do you feel most supported? Where does your body contact the floor, the back of the chair?

What do you notice in your sensation of your back, your chest, neck jaw, and face, your head?

Your breathing?

(Pause)

And return to your tongue. Bring your tongue to the front of the roof of your mouth and gently rest it against the back of your front top teeth.

(Pause)

Run your tongue back along the roof of your mouth from the front to the back, exploring the contours of the roof of your mouth. Is the ridge of the roof hard and bony? Is there a point at which it gets softer? Where does the soft palette begin?

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Now go ahead and run your tongue back in the other direction, forward along the roof of your mouth, eventually coming to the back of your top front teeth.

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And then bring your tongue down along your teeth so that it comes to rest at the back of your bottom teeth. And begin running your tongue back along the bottom of your mouth cavity.

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Exploring the bottom of your mouth, the skin, the bone, the muscle.

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Now, continuing to run your tongue along the bottom and top of your mouth, bend your arm at the elbow, and have your palm and relaxed, gently curled fingers facing your body.

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Bring the top of your hand and fingers towards your throat and run the tops of your fingers lightly upward from your neck, as if you were Italian. But instead of flicking someone off or emphasizing your point, just rest the tops of your fingers under your chin, in this triangle between your jaw bones.

(Pause)

And just feel this place as you continue exploring your mouth with your tongue.

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Feel, notice, when the movement of the tongue causes a little bulge in this place under your chin (pause). See if you can explore the roof of your mouth… the ridge of your mouth… the bottom of the mouth cavity… with your tongue… without causing any bulge or change under your chin.

(Pause)

Can you, how can you keep this little triangle quiet?

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How can you keep the gentle, sensitive movement of the tongue quiet inside your mouth? How can you relax your jaw and relax your tongue… and move your tongue?

Can you press more softly with your tongue–against the back of your teeth, along the ridge of your mouth, between your teeth and your cheeks–maintaining a sense of the space and softness of your mouth?

(Pause)

How can you let go of your tongue in order to use it?

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Now let go of everything. Sit back in your chair or against the wall.

What do you notice? Where do you feel most supported? Where does your body contact the floor, the chair?

What do you notice in your sensation of your chest, your neck and jaw, cheeks, face?

Your breathing?

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Body Mapping the Mouth Cavity Feldenkrais lesson adapted by Madelyn Kent and Helen Miller to prepare for reading. Read by David Richardson for a group of readers and listeners December 3, 2016.