Thursday, July 14, 2011

Systema Headquarters Newsletter - June - Birth Breathing by Dimitri Trufanov

I found this to be a very interesting article. For more information, please go to:

                                                       Birth Breathing

by Dimitri Trufanov
Dimitri Trufanov is a Chicago-based Systema instructor. His wife Olga recently gave
birth to their third son. The youngest boy was born at home and Olga agreed to
share this unique experience.

Why did you decide on home birth?
The choice was natural for us. The older kids were born at a local hospital. What
we didn’t like about it was too much interference from the staff at the moments
when inward focus was most needed. So, we wanted more control, a quieter
environment and feeling ... at home, you know. Also, I wanted to avoid any pain
medications, so we used homeopathic remedies and soothing music. Going through
labor in a deep bath of water helped as well. Of course, there were two
experienced midwives and an assistant present during labor and birth. Even
though we had everything ready to go to a hospital on a moment’s notice, we
never had to because everything went so well.

How did Systema help during the process?
Most importantly, breathing is taught during every Systema class. After only a few
classes I was able to connect breathing and movement. I started finding and
releasing tensions in the body, and psychological ones too. Overall energy
level soared. Amazing! Actually, with Systema breathing, during the last few
months of pregnancy I did not even feel heavy or tired!

What was most important in preparing yourself and the baby for the natural birth?
A couple of things. First, it’s trusting the wisdom of the body. We already have
everything we need and it flows naturally as long as we simply trust ourselves.
Second, it’s learning to be mindful, fully present in the moment. Being aware
of what’s going on and dealing with what you have, one moment at a time. How
can we do that? Many teachers said it and they are absolutely right: breathing.
It’s especially important because there is such a powerful connection between
mom and the baby.

Did you use any specific breathing techniques?
Well, any rigid techniques go out the window with the first contraction (by the way,
we decided to call them waves instead, which takes away some of the
seriousness and psychological tension). Instead, I focused on the principles that
work.  They are listed in Vladimir’s book Let Every Breath, chapter 3. Breath
training has proven to be most valuable for me. It’s so much deeper than
anything I can share.

Sure, but could you mention the key points that made the difference?
All right. First, birth breathing needs to be continuous (that is without holding
or stopping). If you forget to breathe, that’s when fear and pain can creep in.
Another idea is that breathing always leads the work. It takes some practice
and the result is, when the pain wave comes, your breathing is already adjusted.
I mean breathing in a way that is right for the moment, for the level of pain,
etc. So, here is another principle – sufficiency. As Vladimir said, we move
because we breathe, and movement can be external or internal. Giving birth is
mostly internal work… What else? Yes, letting go and making sounds helped a
lot, which is in line with ‘audible breathing’ used in Systema.

How does that compare with your previous training?
Previously, I took Lamaze classes and the instruction was mostly intellectual, perhaps even
too ‘numerical’. They provided some cookie-cutter breathing patterns but didn’t
really teach any principles. That was my impression.

You mentioned connecting with the baby. Did it feel different this time?
Absolutely, with fewer distractions I was able to focus inward and really pay better
attention to my breathing. On top of that, there were no synthetic pain killers
in the blood stream, so the baby was fully alert. He felt it was time to come
out and actively helped, too! I think that was the main difference. And of
course, being fully present to hug and cuddle with the newborn right away was
priceless. I felt totally happy, blessed and fulfilled. Overall, I’d say
Systema has made a huge positive impact. Thank you.

On July 30-31, 2011 Dimitri Trufanov’s Systema Chicago school is hosting a seminar, where proceeds will be donated to the injured people of Japan, hospital needs of the homeless people in Russia, and building a Russian school in Chicago.
The seminar will be lead by Kwan Lee, one of the most experienced, skilled and well-known Systema instructors.
Kwan will be covering Systema Hand-to-Hand Fundamentals including Evasion and Short Work, Advanced Striking, Confined Spaces, Release from Holds, Breathing Methods and Multiple Opponent Work.
For more details and to register please visit:

Charitable donations will also be made from the proceeds of two Systema seminars held in Japan.
July 30th - 31st, 2011 hosted by Systema Tokyo
August 6th, 2011 hosted by Systema Osaka
One of the top European instructors,  from Systema Netherlands will cover the following topics:
Know Yourself (psychological and spiritual aspects of Systema), Fear, Play, Breathing, Experience, Trust, Freedom, Strikes, Fear of contact and strikes, Health and Combat and Knife work.
For details and registration for this and many other Systema seminars please
check the Announcement Board:

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