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 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

It’s what people tell you!


How much control do we have over our life?

We live by our habits, if our habits say something we obey, that’s right or is it that our habits are fooling us.

I think our habits are fooling us, we listen to others, family, friends, acquaintances, the media. When we hear whatever, we process it and save it for a response for another day.

  • We get good news – let’s have a drink to celebrate
  • We get bad news – let’s have a drink to commiserate
  • A friend does something that someone you dislike does – you don’t like your friend anymore
  • The media divides people up in to groups – you only like particular groups and distrust the others

There are many more habits that quickly cut in when you meet a particular stimulus. Suddenly you realise you can’t understand why you dislike someone and didn’t previously. What happened, you probably don’t know but your subconscious habits do.

You may have been worrying or fretting about something, either reminiscing the past and worrying about the future, then all of a sudden a subconscious thought, triggered by you worrying or fretting, jumps in and decides because your friends behaviour to someone you dislike you shouldn’t like your friend. Doubtful thoughts about your friend manifest and quickly turn into a belief, then separation and your friend disappears.

This may happen to you, you may wonder why someone hasn’t contacted you for a long time, you’ve may have behaved like someone you don’t know. Of course there are many other reasons friends drift apart, some stay whatever the circumstances,

What I’ve discovered is that I can let these sub-conscious thoughts in (I want to say ‘when I let me guard down’) when I’m distracted with thinking too much about and going there in my thoughts. Instead of staying in balance with the here and now, allows these thoughts about the future come to me.

  • Being in balance I have choices in what I do,
  • Being in balance my old habits don’t seem to be able to get to me

If you were in balance and your friend did whatever it was, your would let it pass after all it was your friend that did it not someone else.

Being in balance is more than you think it is, however once your understand what it is, you will discover it is something you where born with, you have been hiding it with all your habits you have developed over time.

Go find an Alexander Technique teacher to rediscover your balance.

 

 

 

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 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 Discovery, Alexander Technique, anxiety, attention

The quite loudness of being alive


Double blog day, it’s raining so I’ve retreated from the garage  I’ve been thinking from my heart quite a lot recently, instead of the thoughts of “woe is me” when I’m using my head to think, I’m thinking “what a great opportunity”, strangely these great opportunities are appearing from nowhere without any effort from me.

A few weeks ago I was told my contract won’t be renewed due to funding, I believed them and incidentally got a great leaving present earlier this week. I spoke to someone and in the conversation I flippantly said; “Give us a job”. He replied he was waiting for me to ask. At the interview with his manager, to sum it up very quickly he said, ‘When can you start?” It was all very surreal. Now I have a couple weeks off over Easter to clear the junk out of home and of course my garage. There may be some gardening if the weather is kind.

Not being in my head and being in my heart has changed the way I approach people and things, I have very little judgement, when I notice any judgement I ask myself if I really need it and do they or it deserve my judgement. My understanding of judgement is that it is a difference that we have noticed, a difference from our beliefs to what we sense outside of ourselves. We notice something different and want it to change it to our way (I’m being deliberately vague as we have many facets of what is different), we want others to change to be like us. Being judgemental is one point on the spectrum of division; generally not helpful in its mild form but death to millions on the extreme.

Perhaps judgemental thoughts come from the thoughts of not being good enough, feeling inadequate, etc. These thoughts come from your head not your heart, head thoughts keep you in a safe place with all your comfortable junk, When your comfortable there is no reason to change, you’re comfortable after all! Then, if there is something different out there you are eligible from your position of comfort to complain, be judgemental, get them to change so you can be comfortable again with all your junk. This will work for a while until there is enough inertia in others to ignore you. They will work around you, you will get annoyed, vengeful. It is bad if it is only a person but when it is a country it is a problem. I digress.

Thinking in you head is easy and comfortable, for head thinkers thinking from your heart is plain scary; there’s a need to meet your emotions, it is just impossible. Thinking from your heart is pleasantly vulnerable, thoughts come and go, I have more inertia to get things done, there is no thoughts of not being good enough, there is no judgement on others, they are what they want to be. There’s a quite loudness about being alive, I know I can’t hold on to any moment, I enjoy the moment, it is the best moment in my life and is this one and this one, it is the only moment I’m alive in; and this one.

From my experience, emotions are only around in the transition of thought from head to heart. Emotions are a realisation that the heart leads our thoughts. Comments please as this assumption wrote itself.

It is still raining, time to reflect on emotions, I’ll be really interested in your thoughts. Do practice thinking from your heart, don’t be judgmental when you slip back thinking from your head. Enjoy the quite loudness of being alive.

 

 

 

 

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!