The first thing I’d say about this is that when I began having lessons I didn’t feel anything during or after a lesson until my 17th lesson. Nonetheless I did OK in the end. 🙂 Luckily for my teacher I was intellectually convinced from things I’d read about the Technique that it was what I needed, and also motivated by the fact that I’d already tried a number of other things and hadn’t gotten the benefit I’d hoped for.
It might also be interesting and helpful to clarify if there some misconceptions, for example about posture, about relaxation, about back muscle strengthening etc., that could be getting in their way. Sometimes people don’t recognise experiences because what’s happening doesn’t match up to their expectations of what should happen.
But above all I’m a great believer in observation of breathing as the royal road to kinaesthetic refinement. Students might initially tell you they can’t feel their breathing, but almost everyone knows with a moment’s self observation whether they’re breathing in or out. It’s a small step from there to observing movement in the torso when breathing in or out. At the very least there’ll be abdominal movement which the student can feel by placing their own hand on that area and if necessary increasing the movement by choosing to make fuller, longer outbreaths, which of course will also automatically increase the consequent inbreath. I would move on from there to pointing out that basic anatomy tells us that the ribs should move in the back and sides with every breath, but in many adults that no longer happens because the back muscles, in trying too hard to maintain upright posture, grip the back of the rib cage. (Note: it’s not supposed to be a cage in the literal sense of something totally rigid. 🙂