Alexander Discovery, Alexander Technique, Asthma, body mapping, body-mapping, breathing, direction, Inhibition, mindfulness

Your boney hollow


One of my previous blogs I wrote about how your lungs function with the aid of your diaphragm and ribs Simply change the volume in your chest cavity. Please read again and perhaps try the breathing experiment.

What I didn’t mention was where you are in space and time when trying the experiment. Hopefully you are sat on a chair, it’s safer on a chair as you may get a little dizzy when experimenting with breathing.

Take a moment to notice how you are sitting, I would recommend that your feet are fully on the ground, if the chair is to high you could use some books or something flat and solid for your feet to rest on. Are you resting your back against the back of the chair, if you are could you just rock forward a little so you pelvis is taking the weight of your upper torso.

If anything I suggest is painful or awkward then please do something else that supports and helps you. 

Now I want you to imaging where your head neck joint is. Nobody is watching so be honest with yourself and point with a finger where you think your head neck joint. Hopefully you where honest with yourself, I want you to learn from not knowing something or your educated guess.

Now I’ll tell you where your head neck joint is;

Put a finger on one of your shoulders and run this finger a long the top of your shoulder to your neck.

Hopefully you will be touching your neck somewhere in the middle, this is roughly where the load bearing part of your neck is. Now run your finger up your neck to under your ear, you have a boney hollow just there. Now repeat with your other hand, on your shoulder, along the front of your shoulder to your neck and then up to the boney hollow under your ear. Between fingers is your head neck joint.

Next time you are using a mirror repeat and have a look.

With your fingers under your ears in the boney hollow, nod and tilt your head to get the experience that your head actually moves and balances from this point.

Can you notice how much freedom you have in your head neck joint?

You may be thinking, why do I need to know this to breathe better?

To improve your use and functioning in anything you do, including breathing, it helps if you are aware of where you are in space and you have an understanding where your joints are and their movement. Some consider that the head neck joint is the most important joint in your body, I do. From this joint and the vertebrae in this area, all nerves, arteries and veins pass to and from your brain to service and support your body in your use. If this are is compressed or constrained in some way then your use and functioning may be impaired.

Now have a thought of distance between your head and the top of your spine, where your fingers are/were. Extend this thought down to the bony part of your pelvis that is resting on the chair. Enjoy this thought, now perhaps repeat the activity in Simply change the volume in your chest cavity with your thoughts of being connected from the top of your head to your pelvis.

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Alexander Discovery, Alexander Technique, anxiety, direction, End-gaining, happiness, Inhibition, mindfulness, present, self-doubt, trying, wellbeing

The trug of success


I’ve been set a challenge, that is to write a blog everyday, the time limit hasn’t been set, so everyday could last a day or infinity.

So lets see how the challenge goes, by the way if I miss a day or so I’ll just start the challenge again, I do have until infinity to achieve my challenge.

Setting unrealistic goals is very easy to do, I’ve done it, I’m going to lose a stone (14 pounds, 21 kg) in a month, on the outset it seems achievable but as the end of the month draws closer the challenge gets steeper and steeper, then I have two options, morn at my failure or hope the challenge is forgotten by others and myself. In reality my memory will linger with the other bucketful of failures, empowering my sense of failure at anything I set a challenge on, others may remember and remind me of my bucket of failures further empowering my sense of failure.

Perhaps trying too hard is my failure, setting unrealistic challenges is my success.

The other part of failure is self criticism , being judgmental about myself.

This time the way I’ll be coping with this challenge is that I know that there are days that I’m nowhere near a computer or have a very busy day so writing my blog will be impractical, so I’ll be non judgmental for those days, also there will be days where my focus will be elsewhere, so again, I won’t beat myself up about not writing.

You may think that this is setting myself to fail, it is not, this is establishing a realistic goal, something that I can meet without my judgmental self criticism jumping in. I know I can miss my daily challenge, let’s face though I accepted the challenge from someone, it is me who sets the terms of the challenge.

I may write everyday, I may not, these are my decisions. There will be a sense of failure when I don’t write and this is a good opportunity to reflect on yesterday’s blog, I thought it was just chocolate.

I don’t know who’s reading this blog, setting myself a challenge I feel obliged to fulfil my challenge for you, this has been a common trait of a people pleaser, putting others first. It feels selfish if I do it any other way. However putting others first is not a healthy approach as others will just take until I have nothing more to give. They don’t know what the anguish I’m going through to satisfy their needs and wants. They don’t know me, as I suspect you don’t know me.  From my view I don’t even know if I’m providing what you really want.

So supplying someones needs is futile, but being authentic and offering what I have you then have the opportunity to receive or not.

Looking after myself is paramount then I can offer to others or not, I now have the choice.

By caring for myself I can add to the trug of success instead of adding to the bucket of failures.

So will I be successful at my blog a day challenge, a clear resounding YES, will I write very day, a clear resounding NO; as I’ve set my rules for the challenge, clear realistic rules.

Everyday I’ll be adding to my trug of success, blog or not.

Do you want to know more then you can always join my mailing list.

On your next challenge how about setting some realistic goals with the permission to break them, then you can have a trug of success instead of a bucket of failures.Please let me know how you are getting on.

Alexander Discovery, Alexander Technique, Inhibition, intention, mindfulness, stopping, trying, wellbeing

I thought it was just chocolate


We’ve had a week of ups and downs and sometimes nothing, it’s been horrible, we have only just survived.

Luckily after several pleading phone calls to strangers it’s all sorted out.

What shocked me was I thought I could live without or live with it when it was in short supply.

I could understand if this was;

  • water
  • food
  • shelter from the weather
  • heating
  • transport
  • electricity

but

broadband!!!!

I struggled because of broadband, I couldn’t do things that I took for granted. I wasn’t just me it was my phone, my music;

  • they wouldn’t play my music
  • they wouldn’t connect to each other, I thought my wifi would look after that, obviously not, its broadband they need.

It was an annoying week but I got used to it, I started reading books made out of paper – whatever next!

Actually I read quite a lot of books print on paper, perhaps not as many as I could if the internet wasn’t so available.

The Internet has been with us for the past decade or so and is now so embedded in our lives it’s difficult to understand how we live without it. Just three or four days without it was initially difficult and annoying but I soon got used to it. I enjoyed not being pulled to my screen to check up on the world, I got a sense of freedom from the chains of the internet.

This did get me thinking about how we cope with change, firstly I was very annoyed and angry then I calmed down and developed a coping strategy. My coping strategy was to stop checking the latency, download and upload of my internet connection and get on with other things. I shed the need to check up on the world every few minutes and let it be.

My behaviour, I suspect, was normal but what I was doing was observing myself going thorough these emotions, where I felt it physically; my anger in my stomach and sensing lightheadedness because I wasn’t in control of my internet, my head pulling down with despair. I must say that these where quite subtile sensations but they were there all the same. When I changed my view and started doing other things these sensations diminished though there was a longing to use the internet again.

How about giving it a try, stop doing something that you habitual use or do for a couple of days, it could be not using the internet for a couple of days, or my other habits; chocolate and coffee.

You will have your own habit you could experiment with.

So to remind you, it is not about stopping whatever you choose to stop, it is noticing the thoughts and what happens in you physically when you can’t have what you want. It is best to note what you are feeling as and when they appear and also what you did when you noticed.

Please be safe and if gets too much, stop the experiment. I’d love to hear about your experience.

If you want to know more you could always join my mailing list.

Alexander Technique

Being aware of your local environment


In my last blog Food glorious food I mentioned being aware of your local environment.

So what is your local environment?

If this is about eating and you have followed my instructions, you will be sitting at a table with your food in front of you. Your local environment will be the wonderful food you are about to eat, the table your plate is resting on, your plate and cutlery, the room you are in, the building you are in, you can expand to your town and beyond.

I want you to be interested in all these things, that’s really interested, and then include them all at the same time as you expand interest in your environment. Keep going examining all these things and places over and over again, as your thoughts move out of the room you will have to use your imagination on those thoughts.

Your thoughts should include your senses, what senses are invoked by your thoughts, the wonderful odours from your food, the sense of touch as you sit on your chair, the sense of being in the room, the visual stimulus that the room brings, do you notice any sounds in the room or elsewhere, is there a sensation of hot or cold, how does this feel?

Please be really interested in your local environment, now it is time to eat, pick up your cutlery, now you have the opportunity to use your sense of touch to notice the texture, temperature of your cutlery and how it balances in your hands, be curious. How about a quick flight around these thoughts around those things and places again, it must be time to eat. Enjoy your meal, take your time and enjoy every mouthful perhaps whilst taking in you local environment.

You may think that your food will be cold by the time you have increased your awareness of your local environment, perhaps firstly experiment with a cold meal, with practice your awareness is almost immediate, just a couple of moments.

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Alexander Technique

Goodbye Polly


Today is not a happy day, it started fine, then I got a call from my wife.

I knew the prognosis when the phone rang but I really didn’t want to believe it.

Our dog, Polly, has been fighting cancer for a few months, she had ups and downs, even with a leg being amputated and chemo drugs she was always happy, this morning she was different, this morning was a down with laboured breathing.

I went to work and hoped, Polly went to the vets, the X-rays showed the cancer in her lungs.

We said goodbye to her this afternoon.

Alexander Discovery, Alexander Technique, anxiety, breathing, freedom, happiness, mindfulness, procrastination, self-doubt, trying, wellbeing

tɛkˈniːk/ noun


Why is the Alexander Technique a technique?

from Google the definition is:

technique
tɛkˈniːk/
noun
  1. a way of carrying out a particular task, especially the execution or performance of an artistic work or a scientific procedure.
    “new surgical techniques mean a shorter hospital stay”
I have difficulty in accepting the work “technique” for Alexander’s discovery, technique to me describes a linear process that is well defined and has recognised steps to achieve the goal, a procedure.
The path to Alexander’s discovery is anything but a linear process, there are ups and downs, blind passages, and dead ends to discover, I’ve been down quite a few. The singularity to Alexander Technique to me states that there is only one way, perhaps there is, once you have discovered the ups and downs, blind passages and dead ends aren’t needed in your ultimate discovery.
Just understanding the technique from ground zero, understanding it straight away will give you the ease and poise that Alexander’s discovery brings but you will miss the richness of understanding what life brings over the years before your discovery of his discovery.
From a personal viewpoint coming to his discovery later on in life has given me the opportunity to experience life’s ups and downs, I understand more what people have gone through; their avoidance methods, their procrastination, their depression, their sadness, their physical pain because I’ve been there and I’m still there sometimes, that’s if I want to.
Alexander’s discovery has given me the opportunity to make better choices in my daily life, I may want to procrastinate on something and not on something else.
My procrastination now is not the typical aviodance, but now a decision to put it off and complete later. This is a step change in my life and now things get done.
I’ve achieved this by being content where I am in time and space, understanding where my head is in relation to my neck, my neck is relation to my back, all this with a light thought of my head gently moving on the top of my spine.
This all sounds a bit weird but believe me it works, knowing this give me the time to decide what to do from a safe position, anxiety and worry can’t get me so I can make rational decisions that I know are authentic as in those moments I’m being authentic. In these moments I’m applying Alexander’s Technique, but my journey to getting there I used his discovery.
Alexander Discovery, anxiety, body mapping, body-mapping, eating

Food glorious food


Today I was thinking about writing about tricks and techniques but over breakfast I thought how about writing about eating.

So today I’m going to write about eating, I guess we always at least three times a day what are you aware of what you’re waiting; I know I’m not always aware, if I’m ravenous my food just disappears of the plate and if I do this too often I will need to get a larger longer belt and possibly a new wardrobe to fit my new larger sizes.

Perhaps the more aware of what I’m eating when I’m eating could help, personally I will enjoy my food more and I would get full for quicker with less food.

So a win win situation.

Yesterday I wrote about tricks and techniques so there are tricks and techniques in eating food, firstly sit at a table turn the TV and move your Mobile devices away from the table even better put them in another room. Now before you pick up your knife and fork or maybe your spoon, take time to look at your food enjoy the anticipation of what you are going to eat. Now decide where are you going to start eating your meal. Cut up a bite size, stop and cut it in half now pop that in your mouth take a few moments to enjoy the taste, the temperature and sensation of the food.

Place your cutlery on your plate.

Now chew your food a little longer than you normally do all the time and enjoying the taste, the temperature and the sensation of the food.

Once that mouthful of food has gone, repeat but always remember to put your cutlery back on the plate when you are eating.

This all sounds like the normal stuff for helping you to manage your food intake, they are, these are the tricks to get you to notice what you are up to when you are eating, getting you to notice that there many ways to eat food, I do most of them, but sometimes eating needs to be reset, and these tricks help me to reset my eating habits. These tricks aren’t much about Alexander’s discovery but if you use these tricks with Alexander’s discovery, the tricks work so much better.

Alexander’s discovery is being aware of your head neck back relationship, observing your own freedom and elegance without trying to interfere with your beautiful elegance.

To understand Alexander’s discovery there’s a whole host of tricks and techniques to understand and then let go of. Like yesterdays blog, just like learning to ride a bike, you may have learnt with stabilisers but once learnt you would never use them again.

If you are wondering what these tricks and techniques are, here are some of them;

  • Being aware of your local environment
  • Being aware of yourself in the local environment
    • Being aware of these two at the same time
  • Filling your own space with yourself
  • Being where you are, not drifting off into the future or past
  • Knowing you are safe in this very moment
  • Allowing things to be what they are
  • Not trying to be someone who you are not

A teacher can help with all of these and they have their own tricks and techniques to help you to learn.

  • Transferring their calming presence through touch
  • Inviting you to own your own space though touch and an invitation to move freely
    • Verbal instructions for the above
  • Observation of your habits and behavours and asking non-judgmental questions for you to notice how you move.
  • Inviting you to discover your own freedom and elegance as you learn about your head neck back relationship.

These are just a few of the tricks and techniques, if you want to know more you can always join my mailing list.

Enjoy your eating.

Alexander Discovery, freedom, happiness, mindfulness, trying, wellbeing

Tricks and Techniques


A few weeks ago I wrote a blog about how simple Alexander’s discovery is, well it is but if you are like me it is hard to understand its simplicity. It is in all of us if you are willing to find it and let it blossom.

Simply stop getting in the way of yourself and you will find yourself, that’s more difficult than you think hence why you need the likes of me to help you on your journey, show you the tricks and techniques that have helped me over the past few years in my training to teach his discovery.

So why is it so difficult and why has it taken me so long to grasp it all. If it’s so simple, why so long.

Not allowing myself to change is the simple answer, not allowing my habits to change that were stopping my elegance to shine.

It’s the elegance of freedom that is available in all of us but knowing this is a completely different thing to being this. My difficulty was transitioning my understanding to actually allowing myself to be my elegance.

The trick is knowing where you are in any single moment of time and being comfortable in not knowing what is going to happen with your intension to achieve something.

This is scary!

But when I have this trick working, I have a clarity, a very clear clarity, of what is happening as I move towards my intension and time seems to slow down and I can enjoy the clarity and elegance of the activity in undertaking.

These tricks and techniques are available to everyone, you just need to slow down your busy lives and become aware of what you are doing, noticing your reaction to things and people and challenge yourself to think that there could be another way, an easier way, an elegant way to approach these things and people.

Once you start noticing yourself and your reactions then you may be ready to learn these tricks and techniques.

These tricks and techniques are like the one’s you used many years ago when you learnt to ride a bike. Stabilisers, first two then one, then the one raised up. A hand supporting you under your saddle, then all of a sudden no stabilisers or helping hand and you are off on your own, slowly your skills improve with practice and plenty of hours.

How did that happen?

You learnt to trust in your own abilities in riding a bike. The tricks and techniques are only aids to get where you want to go; ride a bike, sing, swim, type or being content and pain free. The learning process needs to fit with the student and not the teacher, the teacher needs plenty of tricks in their back pocket that could help their students. I’ve collected a few over my years of training. But remember these tricks and techniques are only an aid to move you on to the next step, some will be lost on the way, some you will keep, and some may come back to help you later.

If you live in or near the Forest of Dean you may want to learn Alexander’s discovery face to face or you can alway subscribe to my mailing list

 

 

Alexander Discovery, body mapping, body-mapping, happiness, wellbeing

Do you know where your head is?


I was once upon a time stuck and wrote loads of blogs about being blocked, a few weeks ago I stopped being blocked and discovered that I didn’t want to write anymore.

I’ve been pondering how to start writing again, writing something that’s not about being blocked. It’s been difficult to work out what to write about and still don’t have much of a clue at the moment.

I know it can’t be made up and it must be authentic.

You may have noticed from my Facebook page that I was in London last weekend to learn more about group workshops about Alexander’s discovery. My conclusion to the workshop is to keep it simple, don’t go into detail as the audience and myself won’t understand what needs to happen. I’ll confuse everyone.

The first topic is to know where your head is, that’s simple and you all know that, I did say wow at one point as did everyone else. The wow was the height from just below your eyes and the top of your head, the distance is greater than everyone thought. Have a look in a mirror or even better get a friend to place one of their hands on top of your head and the other just below your eyes. They stand still and you walk backwards making sure they don’t move. Now take a look at the distance between their hands, wow.

So why is so important to demonstrate at a workshop?

This is the approximate top and bottom of your brain. You have little or no proprioception for your skull ( there is little or no understanding where your skull is in relation to the rest to your body) but we try to understand where the top of the skull is by using our eyes, obviously the top of the skull is above the eyes but we generally underestimate the distance, hence the wow.

This is important to understand to help you to reduce your faulty sensory awareness that you, everyone including myself have. Some have greater faulty sensory awareness than others, Alexander’s discovery will help improve your awareness.

Alexander’s discovery is that your head neck back relationship physically effects everything you do, your moods and psychological wellbeing. So knowing about where your head is and where you head sits on your neck are the first essential building blocks for good health and wellbeing.

IMG_0728

So do you know where your head is? There’s more to learn in my mailing list.