Hello my friends,
How are you today? Are you making plans for the holiday?
Coming up on the Fourth of July weekend, I am thinking about freedom a lot.
I am going through changes in a good way; selling my home of 27+ years is huge, but downsizing is turning out to be wonderful. When one friend heard the news, he only said one word: “Freedom!”
Freedom is a theme in the body, too. I think of that in dance; of the balance between freedom and control.
Sometimes I can’t help seeing the things that block people’s movement.
When people dance and their heads are out of alignment, sometimes I want to say right out loud, “Let the cork out of the bottle!”
How can you pour a glass of wine if the cork’s still stuck in the bottle?
How do you put ketchup on the plate for your French fries this Fourth, if the top is still on?
It’s a lot more work if you only release the cork slightly, then upend the bottle and pound it on the bottom while ketchup comes out drip by drip.
Work too hard and it pops out too suddenly and – I think we’ve all had this experience – a great, huge gob of ketchup flies out and goes everywhere.
Too much or too little, neither is good.
The same principle holds true with neck tension and the position of your head. There’s a delicate balance and the approach you take to finding that freedom has a definite effect on the results.
This is what F.M. Alexander discovered; that the relationship between the head and the neck, and your head and neck in relation to your torso, is the primary influence on your entire system of movement. He called it the Primary Control.
As an Alexander Teacher, I look at this balance.
What is needed is freedom.
Freedom, and also, a special kind of control, for real balance. If you explore this with me, you will come to a point of inner knowing of that moment when it happens; when your head and neck are poised delicately and freely with each other, in harmony with the body. Often, as you tune in, there’s a subtle feeling, of nothingness.
Letting the muscles of the neck release so the head can float up.
The head floating upward takes pressure off the spine. Your neck is relieved of the weight of the head, and neck tension melts.
Take the pressure off a spring and it bounces back.
The spine has springiness to it, and when pressure from above is released, it opens into length. Upward….as well as down.
There can be a sense of the bones hanging and your back releasing into length. As pressure eases, your shoulders release as well, and as they rest and spread out sideways, your arms and legs can release out from your body, swinging freely.
All this to prepare the body for dancing: it starts with releasing the neck and letting the head come into balance. This is what I teach my students; Applied Alexander®, applying the principles of the Alexander Technique to dance.
Happiness is a free neck.
This Fourth of July, may you be free and happy!
P.S. If you are enjoying my explorations, please click here so you never miss a post!