Sunday, August 10, 2014

A Morning's Practice With the Alexander Technique

As I woke today, I noticed I was a bit scrunched up.  The urge and action to stretch while still in bed, was just about automatic.  As I stretched, I directed my thinking.  As I thought about length, I noticed something let go in the upper part of my neck and spine.  Alive I moved to sit on the the side of my bed.  Again I directed my thinking, first in the Alexandrian way and then in the directions pertaining to my life's aim's and aspirations.  Finding my breath I smiled.  A brief act to harmonize my body, thinking, and spirit.  Now truly alive I took my first step into the new day.

My morning practice awaits me, but this clear and certain awakening act of direction defines the day with clarity and certainty of my intentions.  This brief awakening, invites all of me and the world to move through this day with good directed use.  I will forget. I will need to begin again.  I will forget again.  With each remembering, a new pattern of habit emerges.  One based on principles and intentions.

Moments of opportunity await my awakening.  Waiting for my coffee to heat, can I return to myself and direct my use long and wide.  Moving from the dining room to the kitchen to retrieve my toast, I realize I am in motion without awareness.  I pause, breath, and direct my use.  Now I butter my toast with ease and awareness.  Moving back to the table encouraging my use along principles rather than habit.  As I type these lines I notice I am scrunching, so I pause again.  My wife awakes but before I leave to greet her, I will release myself from my stool with direction.  Slowly these early morning actions take on new life and form a foundation for how I will use myself today.

While driving to Sligo Creek for our Qi Gong class, I remember that even sitting in a car driving, I can direct my use.  Paused at a red light, I direct my thoughts of forward & up, long & wide.  Am I gripping the wheel or directing the motion of the car?  Several times during the class, where the movements we are working with are concerned with freeing our spines; it is easy to remember to direct my use between and during the movements.   Our teacher Master Li, reminds us to take care of our use as we sit at computers and other activities.  Again during this act of typing I pause to direct.  Gently, but persistently,  cultivating the relationship of my head, neck, and spine for freedom in motion and the long term health of myself.

Our nervous systems pass through our spines.  Unneeded stress on the spine will not only hamper our effectiveness in our motion, but also impact how our organs function.  We are beings designed to move, but most of us never receive proper education in how to move.  We imitate others who have poor use, use unnecessary force,  and corrupt our systems into harmful habits.  If fortunate we stumble upon the Alexander Technique and begin to reeducate ourselves.  If persistent and disciplined in out application we learn to be mindful of our thinking about moving, which cultivates effortlessness in our motion.  This awareness spreads throughout our day, throughout our lives.  Are you paying attention?  Pausing and inhibiting habitual activities?  Are you waking up?

Photo by Daniel Zedda.

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