Alexander Technique

It’s all about love


I’ve been away in France on a residential training course learning more about the Alexander Technique; you know the modality that gets you to sit and stand through a session, it’s something to do with posture, but other modalities seem to do it better.

There’s probably some truth in that.

Nobody really tells you what the Alexander Technique is for, it seems to be for everything?

Surely there must be a modality for each pain and illness?

This week I discovered what the Alexander Technique is really about, you won’t find the answer directly in any of Alexander’s books, please prove me wrong. Not many teachers will say it directly but will display it.

The Alexander Technique is all about love, not the love that

  • expects something,
  • demands something
  • Controls someone.

This isn’t love, that’s something else.

It’s the love that totally and perfectly comprehends with total and perfect acceptance.

With this love, movement takes no obvious energy, there is

  • No effort
  • No pain

Love in perception,

Perception is action,

Action is perception.

Therefore,

Action is love and love is action.

It has taken me a long time to discover what I’ve been training for. My discovery is love, not to take love but to manifest and offer love to myself and to anyone who want to receive my love. If I accept love it is accepted with comprehension and acceptance.

The art of the Alexander Technique teacher is to guide others, if they so wish, to discover that they can have effortless activities in whatever they do.

Alexander Technique, Anger, breathing

Not trying too hard is overkill


This week, after I’d read Gary Ramsey’s book Bliss, One Hero’s Journey, my interest in what in balance means has changed. My thought’s had been about being in balance physically and with time.

Physically I mean being upright with little or no excessive holding up, allowing my postural muscles do their job without my superficial muscles working too much. If I tire when standing I’m using superficial muscles instead of my postural muscles, postural muscles have a very long endurance, superficial muscles don’t.

For time, in balance means to me is bringing in the here and now, not drifting off tot he past or working about the future.

However Gary introduced me to more dimensions of balance that I hadn’t really thought about, understanding these dimensions helped Gary stay alive even with cancer. That seems a very bold statement, read his book and you’ll understand.

The crux of balance is that I don’t need to try too hard to be in balance,

if fact, not trying to hard is overkill,

I just need to be to be in balance.

Do you ever have thoughts;

  • that I must try harder
  • that’s too difficult
  • I must fight that
  • it’s not worth the effort

These thoughts will push you of balance with yourself, you will lose the opportunity to be your authentic self as you energy and engagement is elsewhere.

It is equally with things you love

  • dreaming of the location you love
  • tending to the ones you love at the expense of yourself

These thoughts will again push you of balance.

All these thought are fine however the issue is if you get stuck with one of these thoughts you will lose your balance and you will have to compensate in some form. The compensation comes in many forms, tightening muscles to compensate, eventually resulting in muscle strain and pain.

A chemical imbalance due to being stuck in one of the fight, flight or freeze modes due to a stuck fear response, may lead to a serious illness

Perpetual eagerness to be busy, equally being a persistent sloth and reluctant to work, both these will eventually take their toll. Our bodies will do what it needs to, to establish to be in balance, until eventual burnout.

Find your balance but remember that not trying too much is overkill!

Alexander Technique, Asthma

I panic, I get breathless


I used to be really bad at breathing, just one thought that worried me and I was on my inhaler. Tight chest, panicking and couldn’t go anywhere, life was shit, if it wasn’t for my loving wife and support from friends I guess it would have even been worse, I definitely wouldn’t have been writing this now.

I’ve discovered that I wasn’t alone with these thoughts and the utter dependency on asthma inhalers. What really annoyed me then and still does is the reliance our doctors have on drugs to cure all. I didn’t need drugs to cure me as there is nothing to cure, I was panicking because that is what I’d learnt was the best thing in these situations. I panic, get breathless, get noticed then I get love and support. Unfortunately getting drugs is no replacement for getting love and support.

Perhaps a better medical workflow would be I get breathless, see the doctor and they proscribe drugs for the immediate problem and also help to identify the root cause.

I see the issue is that doctors are expertly trained however the training steers to a pharmaceutical solution to most issues the patients bring, I may be completely wrong in my understanding but it is very rare that when I see the doctor I need to call by the dispensary to pick something up. Perhaps many like myself as patients also expect to call by the dispensary to pick something up.

Unfortunately I’ve never had the support to identify the root cause, my meeting with various asthma nurses never went well, I didn’t believe what they said as they were employed independently from the surgery, I may have been cynical but they alway wanted to try another drug. I don’t see the asthma nurse anymore nor take asthma medication.

Someone noticed, I don’t know what they noticed, that I behaved in a certain way that suppressed my breathing when I became anxious. This was my habitual response to the stimulus, if you remember, if I suppressed my breathing I received love and support. As a very young child it was a win-win situation. However in the adult world the love and support isn’t always there, instead it is a lose-lose situation, once started it is very easy to spiral down to very dangerous place, the asthma drugs do slow or stop the spiral for a short time. Drug don’t address the root cause.

The art is to notice when the response to the stimulus starts or just before then you then have a very good chance of not starting the spiral, in fact with practice the habitual response changes to something else instead of I panic, I get breathless, my panic increases, I get more breathless… .

This skill takes a time to grasp, I’ve grasped it but not without having the support and love of others, I did seek professional help, they helped me to notice my response to the stimulus and that I could choose to do something else.

Please let me know if you want to know more.

Alexander Technique, attention

Waiting for the moment that doesn’t exist


Easter is here again, what are you doing?

I’m spring cleaning, well my garage, aka the junk store. I’ve collected some junk, kept just in case it’s needed someday. I’ve decided that day has passed. I’ve got parts for cars that have long gone, left over material from my various build projects and some just plain ordinary junk.

My head keeps saying “keep it just in case” and my heart says “get rid, IT IS junk”. This is really hard as my head keeps winning the argument over my heart even though I know my heart is right. I’ve tricked my head a little by offering some things free locally, but my head is hoping no-one will take up the offer I can keep them for that day I’ll need them.

These thoughts happen constantly in me and I guess in you as well. The constant battle of the head over the heart. I must say after a lifetime of my head winning, I’m starting to see my heart getting its way. The more I let my heart make the choice the better the choice is however heart choices are scary, they require courage and commitment as the head will try to butt in and return you to a place of safety, somewhere you have been before, somewhere amongst your junk. You can stay there amongst your junk, I have for years been waiting for the right day to use it; I’ll let you into a secret, that day doesn’t exist.

The truth is that this blog is part of my procrastination in avoiding my garage, making a coffee, disappearing into Facebook also make up my wonderful game of procrastination.

I find there is a different energy between a head thought and a heart thought,

Give it a go if you like!

Keep it simple, Think in your head about something needs to be done,  perhaps sorting out something that has you have put off for ages. Keep thinking what needs to be done, I find it slightly depressing and hard work to think that way but somehow comforting; I’m used to that way of thinking.

Now let’s think with our hearts, thinking with our hearts I found more open and giving also we can see the end, a junk free garage. It may be just me, my heart opens, I feel lighter and I’m smiling at the thought and the challenge. It feels a lot easier.

I hope that worked for you, I want to get on with my garage now, I’ll stay a little longer to finish this blog off, honest I’m thinking with my heart.

The way we think is one of the many choices we have in each moment of the day. We only ever have this moment and it only lasts for a moment and then gone forever. Please reread that sentence again. This is all we have however your head thinks otherwise, as your head loves to remember and use what is remembered and transpose it on to the future. The future doesn’t exist neither does the past, only this moment exists and only lasts for a moment.

I didn’t think I would get that deep though my heart thought differently.

Garage here I come!

 

Alexander Technique

Something not quite right!


It’s one of those days plenty to do then it snowed. Living some way from a main road and  up a steep hill, snow and ice stops travel except for the hardy. So what to do when it snows, the natural thing is to hunker down and do very little. I hate doing very little so I potter, being busy doing very little. Start a job, it’s too hard because … . Start another, it’s too hard because … . Then the day is over, oh good, time to stop being busy and relax. I hate relaxing I like doing. So for the first time in weeks I’m here writing a blog that isn’t going anywhere.

It may not be going anywhere at the moment, that may change, I like to write without knowing the end, the middle of the sentence or the next sentence. I just follow my fingers and the words appear.

The big thing that has changed in me over the past few weeks is that my fretting and worrying has almost gone to zero, things will be things and I understand I have little control over them, It’s actually a relief that I don’t need to worry about things outside of my control, I can now get on about being here without fretting about the future, You should try it sometime.

There are many phrases about just being yourself, you may have heard “You are good enough”. This phrase in particular has been with me for a few years as someone said it to me to placate me, help me, guide me, however it was the wrong person for me who said it, I didn’t believe or trust their deep down authenticity. This observation has been with me for a few years, I spoke about it today to someone and the jigsaw started to fit.

Our work in the Alexander Technique world is a very fickle thing. We are connecting to people in a unique way which is vastly different way to other practices. It is not just the teacher reading the pupil, the pupil can also read the teacher through our connections of sight, hearing and touch. If the pupil can read something not quite right about the teacher, the relationship can breakdown and the learning may fail to progress. I believe this happened to me a few years ago.

This situation can be devastating for the student as I found out myself; I started to blame myself for my lack of progress. Equally the teacher couldn’t fathom out what the problem was. I believe it is the responsibility of the teacher to notice, fathom out and come up with an alternative way to teach. This didn’t happen in my experience though the teacher may had thought they used alternative methods. I was left banging my head against the metaphorical wall for quite some time. In fact it probably wasn’t the teaching methods that were holding me back, it was my a lack of trust in the teacher. This lack of trust wasn’t obvious, we talked and were sociable, it was a recurring deep down feeling that kept saying; “Be wary, step carefully, they are hiding something”. Of course I may have been creating these thoughts through transposition from someone I met in the past who had similar looks or behaviours to them however I doubt it as others have told me they had the same issues with this person.

This experience has taught me well, when we connect through our senses we give more that we think, if we are trying to hard our hands shake, if we hold back some thoughts we put doubt in our touch which may manifest as lack of trust in the one who is listening. On reflection I sense they may have not been in the here and now and allowed their ego to be with them when they taught me; I then started copying their way of working when I worked with other students as I thought this was the norm. Learning the Alexander Technique is learning empirically; learning through experience, my experience at that time was skewed, luckily I found someone else to teach me.

To truly learn from a teacher, the teacher must be utterly in the here and now whilst instructing the student to be in the here and now. From that position things change, from my experience; pain disappears, I’m more movable, I have sense of lightness with great clarity, my worries and troubles vaporise,  all this with freedom and aliveness. What a wonderful time and place to live in. It’s available to all, why choose anything else. The skeptics may have excuses not to be in the moment, those excuses are not valid. You can live in the moment and do normal things, working, going on holiday, watching TV etc.

We all have choices and I choose to be in here and now where everything I do has a vibrancy in the activity, even boring mundane stuff is fun.

Once you have learnt these skills you have power to choose the intensity of your own here and now, from gently simmering to full power, once learnt it is difficult to turn off and ignore or even turn the power down, why should you, isn’t being authentic, with your own freedom and aliveness what everyone really wants?

Life is good and you can have it as well.

PS.  You may be wondering about the teacher I mentioned, I was angry with them for sometime but not now.  I now realise it is their journey and when they are ready they will be able to let go of those emotional thoughts.

 

 

Alexander Discovery

Something happened out of the blue!


Somethings happen out of the blue.

It did for my this week.

As you may be aware, I’ve been training to become an Alexander Technique Teacher for more years than normal. It’s taken me long for various reasons, my hypothesis is that learning Alexanders discoveries takes longer the older you are, the more trauma you have met in your live this also adds time to discover his discoveries. There is another part of my hypothesis is that you also need to be trained by the teacher that understands you and has the patience to support you, I didn’t have this in my first part of my training so I moved training schools now hI have that support.

We meet monthly over an intensive weekend, though it is long days it isn’t tiring it is extremely stimulating and a fantastic place to learn. The training school doesn’t have a fixed time for the completion of your training, you are ready when your ready!

‘Being ready when you are ready’ initially I thought was a very strange concept to run a training establishment, it was difficult to take in when I started, I was in a rush to be certified and get teaching. Please find a teacher, I can’t justify in writing what Alexanders discoveries is about, the only way is to experience it.

Months went by I still was rushing to get teaching – people need to experience what I’m learning but they won’t give me a certificate. Slowly I came to the realisation Alexander Technique teachers don’t teach. A strange thing to realise after all the time and money I’ve spent.

I’ll explain.

It’s impossible to teach Alexander’s discoveries unless you let go of judgement to allow yourself to rediscover your freedom, easy and joy. This is what the training is all about, it is not about getting a teaching certificate, it about being your authentic self. From the outside I can see how this all seems upside down and topsy turvy, I had those thoughts once. A month or so I discovered that I didn’t care about certificates I was content to go to the school once month, infinitum. I love the contented, energetic, quite, challenging, easy, simple, joyous space the school is. I learn more and more about myself every time I visit. My last visit I left my usual hour early, I’ve a train journey to get me home that takes a few hours. The visiting teacher didn’t know I was leaving early, they wanted to sponsor me for my teaching certificate, but couldn’t as I’d left. When I was told I was initially annoyed, that passed very quickly to being overjoyed as someone who I’d never met until three days ago was willing to sponsor and support me on the next part of my journey. This was completely out if the blue, I’ve always thought I was not good enough, someone saying I’m good enough has turned my thinking on my head. Thank you.

This news has given me an awful lot of confidence in myself and a renewed contentment that I know who I am and for the next part of my journey of discovery.

Again please find an Alexander Technique teacher and discover what I’ve been going on about.

 

 

Alexander Technique

Go on, give it a go!


So how do you find contentment? It’s one of those very easy things to do be ever so hard to achieve, I think I’ve got a plan but have I?

It’s just one of those things.

If you think you have it, it just disappears in a puff of smoke. If it is so elusive why do people want it so much? Is it because of its scarcity, elusive or is it because you hear good things about contentment.

You can discover through various channels, yoga, meditation, reflexology, energy work, martial arts, mindfulness and for me it was via the Alexander Technique. As I’ve written before these channels or methods are just one of many ways to get you to notice what you are doing and then to invite a change, hopefully for the better.

What I like about the Alexander Technique is that it is sort of mindfulness in activity but it is a lot more than that. The Alexander Technique is choosing to be conscious in what you choose to do. You have options to choose, sometimes it is best to let your reactions take over, say, avoiding a speed car or something falling near you and you need to avoid it. However most of the time you could be more conscious in what you do, it is your choice. However being more conscious in what you do does lead you to being more content, I’ve noticed less things phase me, my anger and equally my joyfulness have lost their energies, of course if I choose to.

Many people think they know what the Alexander Technique is, isn’t about posture, something about a straight back? It is but it isn’t, it’s about thinking and allow yourself to be as it should be, then again it’s not about the thinking, or what I think you think thinking is.

The thinking I’m suggesting is akin to non-thinking but is more than non-thinking. If you are confused, join the club, I was confused for years.

My confusion was that I thought I had to do something to do this ‘more than non-thinking’ stuff, the secret is there is nothing to do as it is built into ourselves already.

If we take a moment or several moments for me, you may notice more things in your vicinity, noises may get louder, I notice that normally silent clocks get loader, my sight gets cleared and my peripheral vision increases, my sense of touch increases, these sensations only that if I stop fretting and worrying about things. All this can be achieved by using mindful techniques, what is different with the Alexander Technique is we practice this whilst in everyday activities. So you may find when you have an Alexander Technique lesson that the activities my seem a little contrived, for example moving from sitting to standing, if you think about it, how many times a day do you sit on a chair and how many times are you really conscious of sitting and standing or any other routine activity?

Experimenting with the routine everyday activities gives you plenty of homework to experiment with. How about experimenting now? When you next decide to move from sitting to standing start to notice things,

  • What are you thinking, if there is any judgement let it go and move to standing?
  • What limbs do you use, let any judgement go and move to standing?
  • What muscles do you need to use?
  • What happened with your breathe, did you hold your breath or gasp before you started the activity?
  • What happened when you reached your full height, was there any judgement?

You may have your own questions you want to ask yourself, please avoid being judgmental as judgement will mask your discoveries and also you’ll lose your presence.

What you may find is that you start the experiment and all of a sudden you are standing with no recollection of the questions or even moving from sitting to standing. What ever you notice is great, next time you experiment you will notice something else, keep experimenting and noticing the change. Of course you could seek out an Alexander Technique teacher or even me, you will get quicker results and a noticeable change in how you move in your daily activities and also in your contentment with life.

Go on, give it a go!

Alexander Technique

Depression hides the years 


Sometimes it is hard to be a man, there is a lot of expectation from others.

  • Your reliable
  • The stalwart of …
  • The bread winner
  • Stoic
  • Trustworthy

All these things and more eventually get men down, they just want to be themselves but don’t know how to be themselves.

From a very early age they have learnt to be men;

  • they don’t cry
  • they are tough
  • nothing hurts them
  • they club together doing manly things

This is what separates men from women!

However all this trying to be something they are not eventually gets to much and something snaps. Then,

  • Divorce
  • Family separation
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Physical Illness because of the above
  • Alienation from the manly clubs

All of a sudden the things that us men have been trying to achieve are now valueless, we are valueless, we are middle-aged with all our dreams broken. In the UK this is the point many men commit suicide; their dreams are shattered and there is nothing to live for.

I’ve survived and I’ve been through all this, it’s not nice but luckily I can’t remember much as depression hides the years.

One of the things that has helped my, especially in the last few years is that I am good enough as I am. A hard thing to grasp when self hatred is everywhere, please believe me, you are good enough. So you are good enough, so you don’t need a try.

I’ve discovered trying is such a no no, We are brought up to try at everything.

  • Trying to be reliable
  • Trying to be a stalwart
  • Trying to be the bread winner
  • Trying to be stoic
  • Trying to be trustworthy.

We can be all these things and more without trying. Life is easier without trying and life is fun, people treat you differently when you don’t try, they can see your authentic self without sifting though all the layers of trying. They smile at you, they are comfortable near your space, life is just happier.

Breaking the myths about men would be great, so men

  • can cry
  • are tough but also tender
  • things do hurt them
  • can club together doing manly and other things
  • can be their authentic selves

Changing the habit of trying is extremely difficult as we are deeply conditioned to try. It takes time but is achievable, I did it so it’s not impossible. Start at the small things, notice something that you do that annoys you, something that won’t change the world but you will be pleased as its one less thing that annoys you.

Notice when it happens and don’t do anything about it, just notice and observe. Notice and observe a few times, you should get better at noticing it and you may notice the urge before you do it. When you notice the urge perhaps sometimes do something different or don’t follow urge by doing it, you have given yourself choices , make the most appropriate one each time, you may want it scratch the itch or not. You now have options.

With practice you should be able to notice more and make more choices in what you want to do. As I wrote this takes time and you may discover that you are the one in control of your own life, you can make your life happy or sad, vengeful or forgiving, You have the choice.

This is my journey, if you want to know my, then please join my mailing list to find out more.

It is not just men who have these problems, women do as well.

Alexander Technique, body mapping, body-mapping

Ahh, I never knew you had any pain!


The other day I was explaining what the Alexander Technique is about, it’s sometimes a challenge as I want to explain it for them to understand, this time I stuck to what I think it is about; A method to rediscover your inner freedom and aliveness then I explained further about by noticing your  balance with gravity and also noticing your balance with others.

He was in a typical sitting position, a bent back and sitting on his coccyx (the tail bone).

I asked him if he was thinking about how he was sitting, the answer was “Why”.

Time to get him thinking!

“Do you know you have sit bones” I asked

“What” was the reply

“Put your hand between the seat of the chair and bum and rock around, you should feel two boney bits, one on each side”

“Ahh”

“These are your sit bones, take your hands out and just rock on these bones.”

“Ahh”

We drank some more beer and later he said, ” You know what, the pain in my back that I have had for years has disappeared”

I replied “Ahh, I never knew you had any pain!”

I’d got him to notice how he moves even if it was only sitting. By noticing, he had rediscovered some of freedom and aliveness and was more in balance with gravity, his outcome was less or no back pain.

We drank more beer, he maintained his balance, well I was drinking beer, he was drinking coffee as he was driving later.

Just simple thoughts and ideas can help you rediscover your freedom and aliveness. Why not try it for yourself?

I’ve got loads more ideas.

Alexander Technique

Balanced Consciousness


It’s getting closer to Christmas, this year I’m looking forward to it, I normally want to ignore it, shy away from it. It’s just too commercialised, I still believe it is too commercialised but this year I’m looking forward to it.

The past years I’ve been waiting for resolutions to happen, I’ve been waiting for someone else to make these resolutions happen; things have changed over this year, I’ve changed. I’ve discovered that my resolutions are up to me, if I want them to happen it is solely up to me to discover ways to achieve my resolutions, this stuff has been lingering in my life for far to long.

I’m empowered and I have the authority to make these things happen: pussyfooting around just delays the things and they may never happen, I want these things to happen so I better get on with these things. I know what they are and I guess you have things you want to resolve and aren’t to eager to disclose.

What has changed this year is that I have my authority to do what I want and when, of course things that are within the law.

What has happened is that I have a constant sense of calm and if calm wanders a little I have the tools for my calm to return. I’ve had years of self doubt, not being good enough, being quiet, being in the middle so I don’t get noticed, you get the idea.

I’ve only achieved this by undertaking some very serious and difficult training in learning how to do nothing and to be me.  That is what I understand the Alexander Technique to be; learning how to remove the layers of worry and doubt that I’ve collected offer the years, I’ve been around for plenty of years so I’ve got a lot of worries.

What I mean by ‘to do nothing’ isn’t quite true, I still need to drive, walk, eat, work, sleep, etc, now I do all those things with less effort as I’m more conscious in what i’m doing.

Noticing annoying habits, the big one for me at the moment is getting ready for something, going into that holding position and locking my muscles at the moment they should be free to engage in an activity. Do you ever notice getting ready to catch a ball, your hands involuntary go forward and freeze waiting to receive the ball. I see this and preempting and it probably will increase the likelihood of you not catching the ball or even more seriously hurting yourself, perhaps pulling a muscle.

The simple act of catching a ball can be represented as how you respond to life, if you are tense and worried when responding to a particular situation like one of my resolutions I want to resolve things may not go to well. However if you are calm and conscious then making the decision will come from a point of freedom which will allow  freedom to respond more appropriately to the situation.

For this freedom to happen you need to be in balance, not just with gravity but also balanced consciousness. Being conscious for your surroundings, what is happening within you whilst responding to the situation and steering the situation for your satisfactory conclusion. Perhaps the definition of the Alexander Technique is a method to discover freedom and balance.

I’ve written a lot of words here but words will never beat the experience of what I’m trying to write about, it is amazing that why I keep going on about it; go seek me out or an Alexander Technique Teacher in your locality.