Deputy Speaker wants to use ex­er­cise to re­lease trauma in the Na­tional Assem­bly

CityPress - - News - BIÉNNE HUISMAN bi­enne.huisman@city­press.co.za

I’m ly­ing curled in the foetal po­si­tion, only with arms and hands ex­tended like a pray­ing man­tis, on the floor of Lech­esa Tsenoli’s cor­ner of­fice at Par­lia­ment. It is lunchtime on Thurs­day. Tsenoli (59), deputy Speaker of the Na­tional Assem­bly, is stand­ing in mo­hair socks near my head, speak­ing slowly, telling me to breathe in, then out. Some­where be­hind me are his dis­carded leather shoes. Rain­drops are pelt­ing the win­dows and just down the cor­ri­dor in the Marks Build­ing, Economic Free­dom Fighters com­man­der in chief Julius Malema is about to ad­dress jour­nal­ists on his party’s mooted sus­pen­sion by Speaker Baleka Mbete. Right now all that feels very, very far away. Ly­ing with my right cheek pressed against the brown car­pet – eyes shut – I feel won­der­fully heavy. The urge to stay right there on the par­lia­men­tary floor is com­pelling. It feels good and safe.

“I sug­gest you roll over on to your stom­ach now,” says Tsenoli. Af­ter a few mo­ments, he tells me to get up on my knees and open my eyes. My smile cov­ers half my face. Even as mat­ters in Par­lia­ment reached boil­ing point dur­ing the past week, softly spo­ken Tsenoli sac­ri­ficed a lunch break to show City Press what his beloved TRE – Trauma Re­leas­ing Ex­er­cises – is about.

Af­ter two years of train­ing, Tsenoli is a qual­i­fied level 2 TRE prac­ti­tioner. He is pas­sion­ate about the tech­nique and does the ex­er­cises up to three times a week – of­ten also on his of­fice floor.

He hopes to in­clude them in Par­lia­ment’s broader well­ness pro­gramme. He also says it’s just the thing for the rest of us in South Africa.

“TRE deals with ac­cu­mu­lated trauma and tension, low­er­ing it over the long term. The im­pact can be fan­tas­tic and heal­ing,” he says.

Back when he was the deputy ru­ral devel­op­ment min­is­ter, Tsenoli taught the ex­er­cises to his depart­ment’s lead­er­ship, with out­stand­ing re­sults, he says.

TRE is just a part of Tsenoli’s broader vi­sion for a health­ier Par­lia­ment. “It is the Speaker and deputy Speaker’s jobs to look af­ter Mem­bers of Par­lia­ment and staff, to im­prove their health for op­ti­mal pro­duc­tiv­ity,” he says.

Since Tsenoli be­came the deputy Speaker in May, Par­lia­ment’s five restau­rants have been fit­ted with or­ganic veg­etable juice presses and their chefs briefed by health­food ex­perts Raw­li­cious. Pro­fes­sor Tim Noakes has also ad­dressed staff on his con­tro­ver­sial Bant­ing diet.

In Tsenoli’s own of­fice, tea and cof­fee ma­chines made way for a juicer. Ki­los of beet­root, car­rots, ap­ples, gin­ger and mint are juiced and sipped daily.

When we ar­rive, Tsenoli’s head of of­fice, Paul Davids, hands us glasses of beet­root juice. He’s lost 4kg since giv­ing up steak masala gats­bys for lunch.



Lech­esa Tsenoli sac­ri­ficed a lunch break to show City Press what his beloved TRE is about

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