Alexander Technique

Coming out!


I’ve have a couple of aborted blogs written but not published over this Christmas, I have difficulty with Christmas, bad thoughts and missing people that were close to me. I don’t want to write about that, A very dear friend of mine suggested I write about something else. Something that not everyone knows.

If your a regular reader you already know what this is about, if you don’t, you may wonder what all the coming out is about!

About fifteen years ago a woman put her right hand on my left shoulder, there was a shudder down my body and was left tingling, you may read this was a bad experience, it was anything but, I wanted more.

I wanted more

Little did I know where her touch would lead, I was intrigued by the

  • power,
  • kindness,
  • openness,
  • positivity,
  • offer of freedom,
  • a moment of being pain free,

that a single touch could bring in just a moment. She touched me through my shirt and jacket in a public place for maybe a couple of seconds at most.

I wanted to explore more, I did, We met most Friday afternoons for about an hour. I can’t remember in detail what we did, nor did I understand why she did it to me, I do remember the outcome though, I was happier, freer, more alive and I wanted more of the same. So when she said; “same time next week”; the answer was ‘YES’.

When you come and see me, you may well be confused in what I do but feel great afterwards.

YES

I had no expectations on any changes that were taking place physically or mentally, I just enjoyed the experience, I enjoyed the therapy, I didn’t understand that I was to learn something. I was learning, not in a conventional way. I was changing, my reliance on asthma inhalers was changing, there were times I completely forgot about them, then I remembered and got into a panic. I was getting taller, I was losing my slump, I was less of a rabbit in headlights. In fact I was changing for the better in many aspects of the way I lived.

Even after several months I still didn’t understand what she did, I tried to understand and rationalise it all but it didn’t make sense.

I still wanted more!

She was teaching me to think in a completely opposite way to the way I normally think without being too obvious. This all came to an end when I changed jobs. I thought that was it, but after a year without her touch I needed it more and more, I found someone else with a similar touch nearer to home, my learning continued. Later I started my training to teach what I’ve been learning.

I’ve studied for five years at different training school to discover her touch, only to discover her touch is a small but very important aspect of the training. All the while I’ve kept all what I’ve written above secret from my siblings and father, this has been deliberate to avoid there criticism; their underhand remarks, this secrecy was to protect me but now it is holding me back, so here I am,

I am an Alexander Technique Teacher.

This may seem very strange but I choose not to tell them to avoid ridicule, ‘what’s all this quackery’ etcetera. I just didn’t want the grief! I wanted to protect myself until I’m ready.

I’m ready now!

Learning to be an Alexander Technique Teacher, the first part of the training is to learn about yourself, noticing habits that I didn’t even know I had, simple things like waving my hands when talking, mumbling when reading aloud, worrying what other are thinking, astmhatic breathing. I decided I couldn’t manage to learn about myself with the additional load of family comments and criticism, I kept it from them. Most of our learnt behaviours evolve from within our families, they are so engrained that I and you won’t notice the behaviours happen or we may cringe after the fact.

My coming out is to declare that I’m an Alexander Technique Teacher, it is a wonderful career, even if it is little known. I offer you the opportunity to rediscover your lost freedom and aliveness that you were born with, that your learnt behaviours have taken away from you. These learnt behaviours keep you from fulfilling your dreams, keeping you in your box with pain, anxiety, stress, doubt. You can unlearn these behaviours like I have done and are still doing so. Wouldn’t you like your freedom back, if so, please contact me and we can start on your journey together.

Have a joyous 2019, I know I will!

Alexander Technique

How to maintain your painful habits!


When I meet new people one of the many questions that are asked are;

  • Where do you live?
  • Questions about my family and relationships
  • Why are am I here
  • Of course the weather

then the terrifying question arrives, what do you do!

I do have two roles, I’m a business analyst, most guess what this is without asking too many questions – they probably don’t know but their guess will do and I’m happy with that.

We can move on.

My other role is an Alexander Technique Teacher, well I will be soon. People either know or think they know, they are the ones that tighten their back to become erect and tall or they mention that it is something about sitting and standing.

The others want more information.

I really don’t know which ones are worse to explain what the Alexander Technique is; those with preconceived ideas or those without a clue.

I’ve shuffled around many ideas on what to say at this point, my current words are about rediscovering your lost freedom and ease, changing your habits that give you pain to habits that allow you freedom and ease; regressing back to being an 6 year old.

You may think that is impossible,

I’ll tell you it is not,

it is only a choice like the choice you have to maintain your painful habits.

Changing habits is a little difficult as you have to go against your norm, your norm has helped you throughout your life, if you are not careful every time you choose to make a change your norm will be resistant and win over your well intentioned choice. If you are like me your norm will win every time. What needs to be done is approach change indirectly then your habit can claim it for itself. Your habits are like your manager at work that keeps stealing your ideas. If you know that they do this then you can steer them to what you want. Habits are the same.

You need to show your habit the benefit of the change so that your habit can steal your idea.

Do you ever get out of breathe when you do a particular activity, mine was walking up hill. I’d see a hill and get ready for the incline; hunker down and lean into the hill – this is absolutely stupid, it is making the incline even more onerous.

Being an engineer I have an understanding about levers and weights, leaning forward I need more energy to move myself than if I was upright therefore getting ready for a hill by leaning forward is a waste of effort and pretty stupid.

The other thing I noticed I was doing was making sure I lifted my knees higher than normal and putting more energy than I needed into moving my legs. Unless it is a very steep incline the height you normally lift your feet is enough to go up a hill.

I’ve almost forgot, not only did a get ready by leaning into the hill, I’d hold my breathe for some strange reason. I’d be breathless in a few steps.

Obviously something needs to change, being breathless did have it’s benefits I’d have to stop walking. I find working on breathing can be a difficult experiment as I get drawn into breathing, my view breathing should just happen so I avoid working on my breathing.

Going back to basics always works for me. whether it is a hill, or any other activity.

Get to know your environment, notice what you are touching, your feet on the ground,  your skin touching your clothes, the sense of the wind passing your skin, the heat of the sun. Be there with your environment. Allow yourself to receive whatever you can see, don’t go searching and focusing on anything. Keep refreshing these thoughts, these thought indirectly quieten down my breathing and magically I become more upright without any effort – remember in the beginning of this blog people tightened their back to become erect, there is no need for this, it happens naturally when you allow it to happen. Now I can carry on with my walk up hill. whenever the need to hunker down to get up the hill appears I can either stop for a moment to get to know my environment and refresh the thought on every step.  At some point awhile back my walking up hill habit changed from hunkering down to noticing the environment, walking up hill is now a breeze.

Perhaps you could experiment or find an Alexander Technique Teacher to help you to rediscover your 6 year old self again.

Being 6 again is fantastic.

Happy experimenting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alexander Technique

Bliss!


argentine-tango-brussels-couple-358127It has been a while since I last wrote, unfortunately for you blogging hasn’t been my priority.

I’ve been enjoying life.

Seeing friends, travelling around and today enjoying the sun! They say this sunny days will last for several days.

Over the years I’ve been challenging myself with various topics, a few years a ago it was the belief I can’t sing. I’ve believed this because people I know and trust have told me so; they were wrong. I might not be the best singer in the world and lack confidence to perform solo, I can sing happily in a choir and I really enjoy singing there.

It’s surprising how many beliefs begin in childhood; one of my experiences was learning to dance in preparation for a school visit to Germany; put your left leg here and your right leg there, you’ll have probably experienced this for yourself. Very formulaic and BORING for a child forced to learn. I decided  as it was boring so I made a mess of it so I could prove I couldn’t dance. Bingo, I was deselected and didn’t do the performance. Deselection answered several of my fears and I could carry on with my boyish Peter Pan life, enjoying life, I am a Gemini after all!

Unfortunately we seem to be in a culture where dance is very important, many of us like to sit on the sidelines from the safety of our armchair watching more dancing than we think on TV, or dreading those events when we are expected to dance. I’ve found that beer really helps, when I lived in Scotland I really enjoyed Scottish Country Dancing, it was the beer that suppressed my fears of being watched and judged. If I was good it was luck, if I was bad it was the beer, it was never me!

A few weeks ago I decided to challenge my belief that I can’t dance without beer. I went for dance lessons not knowing what to expect. There was no now put your left foot here and right leg there.

Wow, I was in heaven.

It was ‘do a slight sway and when your weight is on one foot move your other foot’, apologies Bärbel you said a lot more than that.

All of a sudden it all made sense, attention to myself and then an intension to move however this time I have a partner to share our attention together and then share my intention to move. When our attention and intension jells magic happens.

So this is dancing!

I know I’m in my very early days and I have a lot to learn, yes there will be “put your left foot here” however I believe it won’t be like that. There will be no putting feet anywhere, we will have a shared attention of ourselves and I’ll share my intension to move and my partner will follow in anyway she chooses.

I can’t wait to learn more and get back on the dance floor. What Tango has taught me is that being in the moment and my partner is also in the moment, my body disappears as we meld together and move as one, it’s quite surreal, when the music ends there’s a sadness, loss and an embarrassment of the intimacy of the dance.

There is definitely a very strong cross over with the way I’ve learnt Alexander Technique and Tango; being in the moment, in balance with time and space, pausing for the right moment to take my partner and myself into movement. Neither of us not knowing what is going to happen next. Bliss!

Go try the Tango or the Alexander Technique or even better both.

 

Alexander Discovery, Alexander Technique, anxiety, Asthma, Asthma, direction, flu cold

My replacement salbutamol


That old friend, asthma came visiting this week. I met someone over the weekend, they said their cold was over and that it had laid them up for 3 days; thanks for the warning. What they had hit me on Monday, today is Thursday and I now feel like I can function now, their 3 days was spot on. Now my wife is enjoying the pleasure or not!

In the past, with a chest infection like I had and it’s still lingering, I would have used some salbutamol to ease my way. Instead I used some thoughts, very particular thoughts. Thoughts of freedom and aliveness with the possibility to move at any moment. This may read as crazy but these thoughts really worked. I did have rasping breath, I was dizzy when I changed from lying to standing, my temperature was hot and then cold however my breathing was free and alive.

I didn’t move my breathing to the top of my lungs like I would have done in the past.

So why is this? If you are like me, my asthmatic response is to really try to breathe with a belief that breathing is best done from the top of my lungs, this is a really bad way to breathe but in those moments it seems so true, it’s the only way.

It’s not!

I’ve had years believing this is the best way in moments of stress or anxiety,

It isn’t!

I know how to breathe without trying to breathe, I do it every night when I’m asleep, perhaps it could happen when I’m awake?

What I did, was to cut off my stimulus to a reaction at the pass. It was highly likely that asthma would visit again if got a chest infection, it did, but I didn’t react in my normal way, this time, I gave asthma space, aliveness with the opportunity of move at any moment.

This takes practice, a few years for me.

Don’t be without your inhaler when you need it.

The freedom and aliveness is not just for the asthma, it is for me firstly then anything want to use freedom and aliveness for. This week it has been for myself to help me breathe with freedom and aliveness. I must say, this is the first time for a heavy cold, it worked, it worked extremely well.

The freedom is trusting that my body will look after itself if I allow the freedom then my body can be alive to do whatever it needs to do. My asthmatic reaction is to tighten my chest and force my breathe, this time I chose my body to be free. This sounds trite but it really does work for me.

If you want know more then please join my mailing list.

P.S. I was going to put an image of an inhaler but my dogs look a lot better. Harry is the old boy, sadly gone a few years ago, Flint is now the old boy.

P.P.S My wife now knows what man flu is like. It’s real and hurts!