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 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.

Alexander Technique, anxiety

The fools errand


Strange old week, was it the alignment of the planets with a lunar eclipse?

Or was it just a coincidence that I was stressed with work and other things were happening with my neighbours. This week has been turmoil for me, to top it off my doctor wants me to see a specialist at hospital.

Today I’ve been calm but earlier in the week not so. It’s taken a few people to say a few curt words from friends and colleagues for me to be to realise that I’m bringing the stress on myself. Keeping things bottled up and thinking the worst. I’m also regretting not going to the Alexander Technique Congress in Chicago this week, perhaps that was a good thing in hindsight.

The past few years I’ve been quite good at keeping myself grounded and centred, being in the here and now or near to it so that I can very quickly return back there. This week has been different, I’ve been anywhere but being grounded and centred. Worrying about the what if’s, I’m rubbish at my job, I’m a fraud, etcetera, etcetera.

Returning to the here and now has been difficult as my old habit of worrying had come to the fore and didn’t want to leave me. It felt awful, I was pulling down and was told that I looked tired. I was a tired in fact I was exhausted, though part of me was enjoying the depression and anxiety.

Falling into this trap has been an eye opener, worrying what others may be thinking is a fools errand, When I spoke to them – eventually – my worries evaporated and interestingly they had similar worries. Perhaps I was right to be concerned but should have broached the subject earlier to save my days of worry.

What I’ve learnt is sometimes it is not enough to be in the here and now on my lonesome, sharing ideas and troubles with others also helps, we then can get a common understanding and learn to work together openly.

 

 

 

 

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

With freedom and ease, pain evaporates


What is the Alexander Technique?

When I first started with my first teacher, I wasn’t sure, after a break and then started with another teacher, I wasn’t sure, when I started with my teacher training, I wasn’t sure.

This was about six years in total that I wasn’t sure, I think thats long time not to be sure about something that I have stuck with and started to learn to teacher it!

What is the Alexander Technique?

  • most people think it is about fixing bad backs, or fixing shoulder pain or any other pain they have heard in conversation
  • those how have had lessons, again its about pain relief with the added bonus of the sense of lightness and lightness the teacher can give you.
  • for some teachers I’ve met it is about doing body work whilst being in balance.
  • for other teachers it is about teaching others to notice their habitual behaviours, inhibiting them and choosing something else or not.

The Alexander Technique isn’t for the faint hearted, it is challenging, very challenging. The objective of the teaching is to teach how to notice habits, those obvious habits and also those hidden and embedded habits within you and then choose what to do with them.

Of course with any training you can stop and start again when you are ready. Even one lesson will be enlightening. The more training you can afford and do, the greater the insight into how you live and react to your environment.

Many habits cannot be met head on as they will kick off and stand their ground, they need to be approached stealthily. That’s where the skills of the teacher come in, noticing and not approaching and sometimes not mentioning the habit. Engaging the client in an activity that circumvents the habit so to demonstrate the habit isn’t needed. This is the sense of lightness and freedom that is noticed that I mentioned above. This sense is fabulous but it doesn’t last very long after the session if you are reliant on the teacher. The art is to listen and learn what is being taught and then experiment as much as you can between lessons to bring about your own freedom and lightness.

The Alexander Technique is:

  • Discovering that there is a choice between a stimulus and your reaction that doesn’t have to rely on habits
  • Making the best choice for that moment brings freedom and aliveness to your live
  • You can use body work to discover your reaction to a stimulus and make a choice.
  • Making the best choice for a given stimulus generally releases muscle tension, with freedom and ease, pain evaporates.

Go find an Alexander Technique Teacher to get back your freedom and aliveness you once had.

Please read what others think about my work.

 

 

Alexander Discovery, Alexander Technique

Am I Bovvered?


Am I bovvered? (Am I bothered?)

I think it’s three weeks into this lovely sunny weather, I’d normally pay a lot of money for flights, hotels and restaurants for the experience instead I’m at home enjoying the sun and heat, with Wimbledon in full swing, the Football World Cup seems to be in Englands favour and the British Grand Prix is on today if I can be bovvered to watch it.

We all have choices whether we are bovvered or not, I wasn’t bovvered with the football but with a constant media overload I actually watched part of England’s quarter final with Sweden yesterday; I didn’t intend to I got caught up in the hysteria of the day but I did.  They played like a team, their composure was a joy to watch. Was I bovvered?

Is not being bothered a sort of being interested but not letting on to others and yourself. Surely by knowing about something I’m influenced by it wether I want to or not.

Is not being bothered a negative connection to whatever?

Do negative connections like to stick? I think they do, therefore if I’m not bovvered I will become more and more influenced by the whatever. Something that I say I’m not interested will start to control my life, this seems to be a lose-lose situation. Perhaps I could turn the statement to “I am bovvered!” then I can decide how to treat the whatever.

The whatever my never change because my responses to it will.

Have a play with something on your “Am I bovvered” list, keep it safe. Change the words to “I am bovvered” and see what happens. You may notice it change from a lose-lose to the win-win.  My I’m bovvered for sport this week is;

  • For the Grand prix today that will happen without me watching it, I’ll wait for the highlights later,
  • I’ll watch the Federer tennis games when I can because he is a joy to watch
  • For the World Cup semi final on Wednesday, I’ll make a decision to watch the England game on Wednesday.

Watching sport on TV are on the easy “Am I Bovvered’ list

Now to start some harder ones.

What’s on your easy list?

 

 

 

 

 

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 Technique

Reach for the sky


I sometimes, it used to be almost all the time, get those nagging voices in my head that doubt what I am doing or about to do.

  • Do you?

I find they stop me from doing things I want to do; they just stop me in my tracks.

  • Do you get stuck as well?

What works best for me is to notice where I am, notice my feet, notice my head, notice space then these voices disappear and I can get on with things.

If you want to know more I’ve written a booklet how I quieten down my inner voices, It’s yours for free, just click on this link and it is yours.

Let’s quieten our inner voices together and reach for the sky!

 

 

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!