Alexander Technique, trying


An interesting word, have a thought about really trying to do something, anything you like, it could be a thought about you trying your favourite sport or a thought about something like trying to open a door or trying to take the lid off a jar, there’s an awful lot of trying if the lid is really tight.

I’ve only asked you to think about it, did any of your muscles tighten in preparation in just thinking about trying what eve you tried; I certainly felt my neck muscles tighten at just the thought.

This topic came about at the Bristol Alexander School this week, where I’m into my second of three years of teacher training.  In normal parlance we say try or trying may times a day when we want to do something. During our discussion at the Bristol Alexander School , we came to the conclusion that when we say trying there’s a tendency to over do what we are aiming to do.

In the case of movement we will overuse our muscles by tightening them, this is probably the complete opposite that we really want to do. Why did I tighten my neck at just a thought, I’m sure it’s not needed. It’s a habit that I’ve developed over my lifetime but how can I not tight tighten my neck at just a thought? That’s a skill I’m developing, but first I need to notice what is happening to myself, if I notice it then I can do something about it. This skill is one of the many skills I’m developing during my Alexander Technique Teacher Training.

How about giving yourself a challenge;
  • Notice when you say try or trying and notice which muscles tighten
  • Can you substitute trying for another word?  Does that word have a different muscular response?
  • Notice if your quality of thought changes when you don’t try?
Notice if you;
  • really try at playing your sport?
  • have aching muscles?
  • have variable performances ?
  • struggle during the high pressure important moments.

Then perhaps you are tightening muscles, find an Alexander Teacher, they will show you how to help yourself.

p.s. for those at Bristol Alexander School, this blog was written a few months ago but never posted, so for us at school it is a little of sync with our lesson plans.

4 thoughts on “Trying

  1. Would be curious to read what other substitution words you might be using instead of the word “try.” Always interested in transforming the use of language and noting what happens when certain “orders” are given.
    I was surprised at the reactions of people how my substitutions were regarded by those who were not familiar with A.T. experiences. What words work for me may not work for others…

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