Hello my friends!
Thanks so much for stopping by today. Pull up a chair and grab a cup of coffee. I’ll spill the beans on what’s been going on in the 4-week series. Come find out…
The four-week series is coming to a conclusion soon. Here’s a golden truth about the body, special for you.
The most important thing that we learned is to pay attention and take care of the balance of our heads on a lengthening neck.
And then to take that and DO something – anything at all – and it turns out to be a bit like rubbing your head and patting your stomach. If you pay attention to one activity, the other suffers, till the coordination feels more normal. It’s working against your automatic response, to pat your stomach while rubbing your head, but it can be done.
We actually tried it, and the funny thing is, people’s head and necks also went out of balance just in moving the arms.
We tried again, this time focusing on the delicate balance of the head and neck while moving the hands and arms.
That’s the main thing; Alexander’s discovery about the importance of the balance of your head on top of your neck, and your head and neck in relation to the rest of your body. Not only did Mr. Alexander figure out that the way you use you head and neck is the primary controlling feature for the entire coordination and control of your body, he also created a way to restore this natural balance and function, and a method for people to learn to control their own head and neck in movement.
He termed this balance of the head and neck, the “Primary Control.”
Primary – because it is the main controlling feature in movement.
How do you know this is so?
You test it. You can test with any kind of activity at all. In class, we used walking as a testing ground for what happens when your head and neck are out of balance. We tested for what happens when our habits get in the way of good posture.
What patterns did we watch out for?
We looked out for poking the head forward of the body, or dropping it down, or crunching up the back of the neck and letting the head fall back. We watched not to let those habits of movement take over as we walked, back and forth.
Watching each other then back to paying attention to ourselves.
I helped students, and pointed out to them what to notice.
That’s key of course; knowing where to look. It shortcuts the learning curve ten times – a hundred times – faster. And next, is the how-to; how do you control this without tensing up? Locking up your neck is not the answer. This is what I was teaching, in class…
I showed them on each other and themselves – where to look, how to find and correct the habit that is putting them wrong. Where is the head and neck, and what else is going on? How is that connected? And how can we undo it to feel better, move more easily, and have better posture? I taught them a basic process to use to undo these habits, and more.
One student’s head was falling forward, collapsing. She is an older woman and her upper back is rounded, hunching over. Her hips are stiff. She is uncomfortable just standing still.
For another it is a sideways pull and also, tilt, all to the right. It is also her right shoulder and the right side of her low back that hurt.
For the third, it is pushing his head forward, hard, under pressure, while holding all his body tight and locked and tense. He noticed that his breathing was shallow. He could not turn his head separately from turning his whole body. His upper back and shoulder hurt. He is 27 years old and cannot remember moving easily.
We experimented, using the same idea on everyone. We played with the most important point: Alexander discovered that how you carry your head and neck, influences your whole self, body-mind-being. How you walk, how you look, how you feel.
And the same idea works everywhere.
It means that if you learn this universal principle of movement and coordination, you can use it everywhere.
Using a standing computer set-up.
Sitting to work at the computer.
Ironing! This was a question that arose for one woman. How do you iron without hurting your neck and shoulders?
Simple things in life that are not supposed to hurt – and they do not have to.
Did you know that improving this coordination could help you load the dishwasher without feeling pain in your hips and back?
In dance: How do you let your body swing under your head without adding tension, without getting hurt?
We will play with it again today, in Class Four.
We’ll reinforce this process, and then take it into some functional movements for everyday life. Like squatting! Your head and neck need to be balanced in everything including being able to squat easily.
How tight are your hips?
What if you could squat down without thinking about it, and play with your grandchildren?
Dancers, what if you could use your legs freely without disturbing your posture?
The fastest movements happen through release; you know how to wind up, it is learning to let go that will give you the edge.
Learning to be free and more importantly, to control the freedom.
True freedom, to get your body to move the way you want, to control your own body in the moment in the Now, in movement. Not through tension, that is not control, that’s just rigidity. No, we need to be able to be in charge AND move freely. Being locked up with muscular tension is not the answer. Neither is collapse. There’s a balance. We need to be able to coordinate and harmonize our bodies, our Selves, both in stillness and in movement.
P.S. Come to class! Next week we will be adding one special bonus class to the series. Or at least, sign up here for these blog posts and keep in touch!/a>