Alexander Discovery, Alexander Technique, direction, freedom

Strange and Wonderful


I looked in the mirror yesterday and laughed, it was a spontaneous laugh, I didn’t start the laugh it was my image in the mirror. Normally my image is demur and doesn’t like being looked at, maybe for a few seconds, then looks away.

Something changed this weekend, I may get to it later or not. Let’s see!

Well, it’s sooner than later, I had some wonderful words write that have disappeared for a while, they my come back or not.

This weekend I was continuing my training to be an Alexander Technique Teacher, it’s taken longer than most but not as long as other I know. I love the work and rediscoveries that I have made about myself. There has been tears and snot, lots of it. Especially this last Sunday, even before we started at ten. I have a dear friend, she’s an Alexander Technique Teacher in Scotland, we message each other regularly, she’s sometimes my safety valve, she sometimes pushes my boundaries. Last week she wrote some thoughts for horses, “In our Hands“. On Sunday morning I read it again probably for the fifth or so time, I was in the restaurant where I was staying, I had to leave the restaurant to get to the safety of my room and sobbed and sobbed: I discovered for me it wasn’t about horses, it was about me!

The second part was particularly poignant for me.

“2. Can you sit in balance on a chair, easily for a prolonged period of time without discomfort? If not, learn to do so before you sit on a horse. You are only bringing your inbalances to your riding and teaching your horse tension otherwise. You will create imbalances. Find your own poise first and then you will find the poise of your horse. It’s magical when it happens and totally worth the work on your self.”

Kirsten Harris

The learning I’ve been doing for these years is summed up in the last sentence ” It’s magical when it happens and totally worth the work on your self.”

Sunday was the third day of the weekend training, I’d discovered things that I wanted to explore, I usually have things to explore but normally I can’t seem to express them verbally, they normally disappear deep inside me, this weekend I let them all out, there was no resistance, well maybe a little with some things, Kajsa helped me with her kind and skilful words and touch. I was suddenly in the here and now without effort, I didn’t try to get there, I was just there and I wasn’t going anywhere else! I’ve experienced this a few times before but then it was fleeting, not the persistence I discovered on Sunday and that is still with me now.

My image is content with me as I am with my image; a strange and wonderful space and time to be in. I’m getting used to it and loving it!

Peter at South Bank has been training me for a few years to help me rediscover myself, this rediscovery brings naturally freedom and aliveness in everything I do. It is utterly fantastic, even when I’m angry, confused, happy or sad.
You have got to here in my blog and may be fasinated by my discovery, if you don’t know anything about the Alexander Technique, go find a teacher. Rediscovering you freedom and aliveness is easy with the help of a teacher, it will be fleeting. The skill is freedom and aliveness with persistence; knowing that if something or someone knocks you off balance, your freedom and ease can return in an instant. This takes practice, loads of practice, as Kirsten wrote “It’s magical when it happens and totally worth the work on your self.”
Love to you all that have helped me this far on my journey, there have been many.

Alexander Technique

2018


The end of the year is very near, it’s just a couple of hours away; I’ve been thinking and reflecting on the past year. It’s been a busy year and it has flown by.

The end of the year is very near, it’s just a couple of hours away; I’ve been thinking and reflecting on the past year. It’s been a busy year and it has flown by.

I’ve written 39 blogs, there are a few blogs that may be worth reading again. The first comes to mind is when I visited the vets and I talked to a vet nurse about the Alexander Technique and demonstrated with her and the dogs in the kennels. This is better than smoking dope.

Another blog I liked was when I was in Bordeaux on a Alexander residential course. I discovered the essence of what the Alexander technique is; It’s all about love. I’ve just read it a gain, I was inspired through the work we did there.

In October I was feeling particularly anxious and could sleep so I wrote a blog exactly how I felt at 1AM. I find writing very cathartic, this blog helped me sleep that night.

And finally, yesterday I really enjoyed my coming out, this took a lot of courage and encouragement from a friend for me to write and then to post.

I hope you have enjoyed my blogs over this year and the previous years. I’ve enjoyed writing them and as I wrote above they are very cathartic for me, I’ve also come to learn that many have similar life issues and I’m not alone. I do encourage you to speak, write about the things that are holding you or find someone to help you, obviously I’m biased but find an Alexander Technique teacher to help you to rediscover your ease.

Let us all have a fantastic 2019. Please keep reading, you can always join my mailing list then you’ll get my blogs via email then you won’t miss any.

What was your favourite blog?

Alexander Discovery, Alexander Technique

How can I rid myself from pain?


  • DO YOU ever have the thought of ah, I’ve arrived, then stop and switch everything off?

What I mean is switching your awareness off! Sometimes this is a very good thing and sometimes not so good. If it’s automatic then you don’t have the option to decide if it is good or not so good.

  • DO YOU seem to get pain somewhere when you do a particular activity?

Being in auto may be the reason why you have pain, you will have a habitual movement plan that you use that triggers pain, wouldn’t it be great to renew your movement plan!

There are many ways to suppress or relieve pain but somehow does your pain keeps coming back?

  • How can you get sustained relief from pain?

These questions can be answered by raising your awareness of yourself, you can get part way on your own however to get the full embodiment of yourself you will need help. You need a mirror of some sort, a real mirror, watch yourself on video or get someone with the skills I have to observe what you do in activity and then work together to develop a new movement plan that is pain free, this may seem impossible to achieve, I know it is not as I’ve witnessed it many times.

Pain may be coming back because of how you do things, you may work in auto without noticing very much; I’m sure you have wondered how

  • Your tea was made,
  • You missed a road junction on a road you travel regularly on,
  • If you cleaned your teeth this morning?

We are odd creatures; things get so habitual we don’t know we have done them.

This is equally true to how we do things,

  • Straining our eyes to look at something,
  • Looking busy by pulling a face.
  • Straining yourself to lift something then discovering it was really light, then possibly jarring your back because it was too easy.

Much of our pain comes from an activity that we did and you probably did the activity not in a very conscious way.

Pain is your body shouting really loudly to STOP doing it that way!

There is a way to stop most pain and that is to learn how to do things consciously. Meditation and other modalities will help; you can even learn consciousness on your own.  It’s relatively easy to have a high level of consciousness when being still or working through a directed activity; the real test of consciousness is when we undertake your familiar activities whilst maintaining a high level of consciousness. This embodied use of yourself will reduce the risk of pain and possible injury.

Alexander Technique teachers are trained to be your mirror to help you see when you loose your embodiment; then offer ways to regain it. More so, we teacher you to realize that embodiment is available to you and everyone; it is only a conscious choice that many never realize they have this choice. I’ve found that many are very resistant to discovering there own embodied consciousness; I guess they are comfortable with their pain and beliefs; their pain is who they are but is it really?

Little do they know life is a whole lot better without the restrictions of pain and doubt?

  • Doubt stops investigation and experimentation,
  • Doubt keeps you where your are,
  • Doubt keeps you safe or so you think,
  • Doubt will stop you rediscovering the freedom and ease you had when you were a child.
  • Doubt has loaded you with pain by continually holding you back mentally and physically.

By improving your embodied consciousness doubt has less control over what you think and do; life becomes joyous and fun, the things you thought were troublesome melt away to nothingness. Please believe me this has happened to me and through applying the Alexander Technique.

If you live or work around Gloucestershire or the Forest of Dean please seek me out so I can teach you what I’ve learnt.

Life will be as it is but a whole lot better.

Alexander Technique

Life can be a breeze; the choice is yours.


One of the activities I really hate but secretly love is running, it is one of those activities that I used to hold my breathe as I prepared to run hence I didn’t get far before I was out of breath!

A pretty obvious outcome but I couldn’t understand why I was always out off breath; it has only been in the recent years that I worked out that I do hold my breath, in fact I hold my breath to start most activities.

You may think this is a strange thing to do, I do now, and many of us have particular foibles when we start an activity. For strenuous activities including running I held my breath.

In fact, I held my breath to start any activity! I wonder what you do?

Now lets turn this around.

From my perspective, getting ready to do something is your ego getting ready by calling up its favourite but not so useful habits; my habit of breathe holding. If I quieten my ego then I’m ready to run and I don’t need to hold my breath, things just happen.

Being ready is a completely different sensation to getting ready.

Being ready I feel light and buoyant, all my joints have the freedom to move, my thinking is livelier and brighter.

Getting ready I feel heavy and locked, my joints are tight and reluctant to move, my thinking is wondering what is going to happen, as I write and experiment with my thoughts, my breath is becoming laboured, butterflies are appearing in my stomach.

Being ready and getting ready are both thoughts generated from my mind and I can choose which thought, I much prefer ‘being ready’ to ‘getting ready’ it is a much happier place however I still have a lingering habit of not choosing and going straight for ‘getting ready’.

The trick is to notice, pause for a moment and then choose. How to choose takes skill and plenty of practice; this is what I teach. We all have the capacity to be ready, with lightness, buoyancy with freedom to move; we just don’t choose it.

Most of our life we have been cajoled, bullied, taught, encouraged to get ready for things by holding, hunkering down, freezing, grimacing so we can demonstrate to others that we are getting ready; I was like that with running.

Last week I decided to take up running again, I joined a 0 to 5 km club, it was into the 6thweek of training, my first for several years. I choose to ‘be ready’, no ‘getting ready’, no holding my breath; it was a breeze. I really enjoyed the run, the circuit we ran was about 3.5 km, dispersed with periods of running and walking. The moments when I noticed I was starting to try harder because of a hill or I was drifting away from the pack, I refreshed on thoughts of being ready and my lightness and buoyancy returned; the gradient became easier and I floated closer to the pack.

We all have this power to choose but many think that life must be hard and difficult if it is to be at all successful, in fact the opposite is true!

Life can be a breeze; the choice is yours.

Alexander Technique, anxiety

1am


It’s 1am in the morning,

a time I like to be asleep,

I like my 8 hours of sleep a night,

tonight it isn’t going to happen,

I suddenly woke up,

so time for a cup of tea on my own,

even my dogs didn’t stir,

they like their sleep

so do I!

worrying about things wakes me up,

why tonight?

I know why, you don’t need to know.

You need to know this is what anxiety is like

waking up suddenly for no apparent reason

waking up suddenly for a reason I can’t tell you

waking up worried

when the best thing is to sleep

so I’m refreshed to face the worry,

not blurry in the morning

Oh the joys of life when your anxious.

I have tools to help me

But

Sometimes it is best to let anxiety run

The best tool is to talk to someone,

to let it all out

But

At 1am all is peaceful

Except

For me!!!!

Another way is to write about it

So here I am

And

You are here reading my story

Suddenly my stomach pain has subsided

You did that

Thank you.

I’m breathing again

I’m calming down

Time for more tea

My anxiety is calming

So

I can find my balance with gravity

I can find my balance with time

I can let go and be here

so

I can be at one with myself and not thinking ahead of time

That’s what I think anxiety is

Thinking ahead of time.

Thinking ahead of time is a fiction

It’s a waste of time

Being awake at 1am is a waste of sleep

Except for the lovely cup of tea.

Alexander Discovery, Alexander Technique, anxiety, attention, breathing

Life becomes a whole lot better. 


We all love getting ready for something,

  • getting ready for friends coming round
  • getting ready for dinner
  • getting ready to catch a ball
  • getting ready to run
  • getting ready to stand
  • getting ready to sit

You probably know even more.

Some activities of getting ready do need some preparation, like making dinner, preparing for friends how will visit. However some things we get ready for there is no point is getting ready as we are ready already. These activities are generally when we move from one activity to another.

  • from sitting to standing
  • from walking to running
  • from observing to catching a ball

We all tend prepare for the change in activity by getting ready, the getting ready is a tightening of muscles in preparation for something we are already prepared for. We overthink things so we think we need to do something to get ready. Maybe grimacing your face to lift a heavy weight, if you think about it, we don’t tend to lift things with our facial muscles so why all this extra effort?

It is not just our facial muscles that we tense to get ready, it may be holding your breathe,   tightening your shoulders, we all have our favourite tightening for our own way of getting ready.

What’s yours?

The difficult bit is noticing your own getting ready patterns, that’s where I come in, my years of Alexander Technique training and practice, I notice these things in people and can offer you a different plan for getting ready where you don’t grimace to lift heavy weights or don’t hold your breathe when you decide the run or don’t tightened your arm just before you catch a ball.

I’ll introduce you to rediscovering your freedom and aliveness you once had, then life becomes a whole lot better.

If you want to know more, drop me a line or two.

 

 

Alexander Discovery, Alexander Technique

A helping hand


I’ve been writing blogs about my Alexander Technique discoveries for a few years, my discovery is how the Alexander Technique has helped me with firstly asthma, which I can say has completely disappeared; if there are any signs I use the Alexander Technique to quieten down and allow any signs of asthma to vaporise.

Secondly to manage anxiety, the Alexander technique is a wonderful tool to help with anxiety, I’ve had plenty of triggers recently to fire up anxiety however I now have the tools to help me quieten down anxiety and get on with my life.

I’ve very rarely had the typical problems that many people discover the Alexander Technique for, namely;

  • lower back pain,
  • neck pain,
  • shoulder pain,
  • carpel tunnel syndrome
  • in fact almost any type of physical pain.

To make things clear the Alexander Technique doesn’t fix anything, it is training that teaches you how to think differently. 

A friend of mine eventually came to me recently as the wanted to reduce the number of pain killers; they have had lower back pain for longer than I can remember. They’d  taken up previous offers of my help sort of reluctantly so recently I’d decided that I’d wait to be asked for help. Their request eventually came, I helped them and their pain mitigated for a while.

The Alexander Technique has many facets that can be investigated and experimented with. The base of all these facets is constructive conscious control of yourself. This needs practice, like learning to dance, sing, read, write, etc. When I helped my friend, they with my help switched on their constructive conscious control and their pain mitigated however has soon as I stopped working with them their pain slowly reappeared. As I wrote above, this is training and sometimes it takes awhile to cope on your own with new thoughts and ideas, just like speaking a foreign language.

It takes practice and sometimes lots of it especially if something is deeply embedded in your habits. The Alexander Technique is training where you learn how to return to how nature intended, being in balance with gravity and time. Where you are not leaning forward, backward and to the side fighting gravity, you are in balance with gravity. You are not guessing about the future or blaming the past, you are here balanced with time.

Achieving this balance doesn’t happen over night, it will take a while to slowly make small changes that will manifest in huge positive changes to your life. It has for me so I don’t see why can’t for you.

Please let me know if you want to know more.

 

Alexander Technique

This is better then smoking dope


The other day I went to pick up one of our dogs from the vets, I went with the vet nurse to the treatment room, she explained what I need to do post operation, during our conversation she asked what do I do. I told her that I’m an Alexander Technique teacher, she said the usual, “What’s that?”. My description that morning was, I teach people to be in balance, that’s with gravity and also with time and space.

She replied: “oh!”

We walked to the get my dog from the kennels. I asked here if she wanted to experience what I teach? Yes please.

I explained it’s firstly about noticing things and just observing. (if you want, please play along with what I told her)

The first thing to notice is yourself, notice your feet touching the ground as you walk, then notice your body from the top of your head to the soles of your feet.

We arrived at the kennels, she let my dog from the crate, lots of fussing and then we tried to get his body sock on to protect his stitches.

He wasn’t having any of it.

I suggested that we can calm him easily by simply noticing ourselves like I just mentioned, if that doesn’t work then notice the space around you. It worked and he immediately went quiet, she was amazed! We put his body sock on.

There was only one other dog in the kennels, he was panting and very stressed. Our thinking wasn’t working on him. I said lets see if we can calm him down. Again notice yourself and the space around you and include the dog in your space. The panting slowed but he still wanted to pant.  She commented that the energy in the room had changed it was now calm.

I challenged her to experiment again, same routine with another extra. Notice yourself, the space around you and this time you have the freedom to leave the room whenever you want to. The panting stopped! He still had his head up. She commented the energy in the room has changed again, it was still very calm but now more crisp and energetic.

One last experiment, repeat your thoughts without words, over and over again. The dog rested his head on his front paws. We both sat on the floor of the kennels with my dog lying on his back, the other dog quiet in his crate.

She said she wanted to stay here all day, she’s never been so chilled and energised at the same time.

She said this is better then smoking dope!

You can have this experience if you want.

I have the experience most of the time and can show you how.

This is being present in the here and now, it is available to all.

Veterinary nurses love it, well the one I was with.

Dogs love it, definitely my dogs.

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YOU can love it to

It is your life but a whole lot better.

Alexander Technique

Enjoy and see the beauty


On the London tube this morning, going home after a wonderful weekend learning to develop my psychophysical awareness.

What I noticed was no one in the tube carriage was there!

There was a whole collection of eyes.

  • Eyes in their phones
  • Eyes in their tablets
  • Eyes behind eyelids
  • Eyes staring aimlessly into space
  • Eyes with no energy

Which eyes do you have?

I can only guess what my fellow passengers where thinking about but I think I can safely say they weren’t enjoying the moment as I was. Why waste any moment even on the tube.

These moments are yours and yours alone, enjoy and see the beauty; there really is beauty in every moment. All you have to do is let beauty come to you, this is something I learnt this weekend.

.

Alexander Technique

Catching the ball


In many of my lessons I work with catching bean bags (they don’t roll under the furniture as balls tend to do).

Catching bean bags is a great stimulus for some, not so for others. A greater stimulus is not catching a bean bag and letting it fall by your feet.

We have had so much conditioning that letting something fall is a bad, even when there is permission to let it fall.

This conditioning has restricted your choices to only one;

CATCH THE BALL AT ALL COSTS. 

This single choice is not restricted to catching balls but to many other activities in your life. Simple things like not walking under ladders, using your dominant hand for many activities, what you do when you awake up in the morning, what you do in the evening, how you respond to people, sometimes in very different ways to different people. These are all yours and my habits; an easy way to move through life!

Sometimes the easy way to move through life isn’t always the best option for now, though it may have been in the past.

My thoughts about catching ball are that you were either great at catching or go into panic with the fear of dropping the ball; I was in the later group. The fear of missing the ball and wrecking the game for others in my team was my overriding thought, so like others I tried really hard to catch, however the more I tried the worse I got; how could that be!

Life moves on, team games with catching balls stay at school, I go to work, however trying too hard moved with me through work and leisure.

  • Trying too hard to please
  • Trying too hard to be successful
  • Trying too hard to be good

I’d been successfully conditioned at school, school was successful as I became an ace student at trying too hard and continued for most of my life.

However trying to hard has it’s limitations, there is

  • only one choice,
  • only one route
  • only one option

That is to work hard trying to achieve your goals.

I’ve since learnt that I don’t have to catch the ball, I can make another decision, one of many options! The strange thing is when there are options are I free up, as do whomever I’m working with. When they or I choose to catch the ball we pick the ball out of the air instead of trying to catch. There is a lightness and freedom in their movement, they become happy and joyful. I regularly hear comments about their pain disappearing.

You may be wondering what is happening, pain in many people is manifested by their habits, their habits sending messages to muscles to tighten and keep tightening, muscles tire and eventually send messages to stop in the form of a pain message. We get stuck in habitual behaviour, we don’t know how to get out of it hence we keep recreating and empowering a vicious cycle, it gets worse and worse, and if you are in pain then the pain may get worse.

Rediscovering that you have other options breaks the vicious cycle and for a few moment pain disappears, this is what happened when we played catch. Unfortunately our habits are well embedded and we quickly return to our vicious cycle of pain. That’s where my training helps, I’m trained to notice through observation and to instruct you that you have other options to lead your life, these options will lead you to rediscover your freedom and aliveness you used to have whilst making mature choices in the way you want to live you life.

If you want to know more, please contact me.