Learning about my fall!

I found myself on the ground yesterday as I was leaving a friend’s house, my foot stuck on the brick walk and I toppled over; my nose headed for a decorative smooth rock, my consciousness kicked in at that point (I am sure prior to that I was “not present”!!), and I put my left foot out to rebalance from the right foot that stuck to the brick, although not soon enough, and as I hit the smooth grey rock with my nose, the resistance on the ground of my left foot righted me like one of those weighted bottom toys. Therefore, my whole body weight didn’t hit the rock; oh yes, I had lots of blood, and the abrasions and bruising are showing up, but nothing like it would have been had I succumbed to gravity, thank goodness for the “opposition” of my left foot!!

I experienced “opposition” as a fine example: what has a down also has an up (if you can find it) and be conscious of the tensgrity architecture that we are. I think of our body as springy, and that is what I felt happened!  Very grateful that I had a informative fall, our body through movement is such a teacher!

Our actions affect the whole

Our actions affect the whole

Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday with family and friends.

 

Being towed, respond or react – a choice…

My car had to be towed last week, and as I was sitting there waiting for them to arrive, I  noticed how my stress of anticipated “perceived” events or situations created a bodily reaction. It seemed almost fearful as my belly tightened, I held my breath and started running around very unfocused or unaware.

RunningStartle

I felt I had to prepare in some way for the this new situation.

I started thinking about other situations where I anticipate an event and the thought of “what will be” creates an anxiety in my body and it says you must prepare. I don’t want to ignore it and suppress my emotional “reaction” which would just lodge in my tissue to come out at a later time. So what if I acknowledged the reaction and changed with “responding”. In the Alexander Technique principles we call that “pausing to give yourself time” to become conscious, aware, present in where you are and what choices you have.

Doesn’t this evoke a calmness, clarity and inner peacefulness that says I have time to make a choice that is healthy and productive? Changing anxiety to inner calm.

Sometimes our unwarranted perceptions and assumptions teach us about ourselves, we grow in that awareness of realizing our truth..

As I let my breath become conscious, I was calm as they arrived, we had a great conversation together as I rode with the driver with my car securely towed back home!

Changing my thinking in how I responded instead of reacting with fear created a very healthy and pain free experience.

Running – Why are my knees screaming?

Have you ever noticed when you are running and the terrain changes, or there is a loud noise, or a car drives by too close, that your whole body goes into what we call the “startle pattern or reflex”.  Try it now, think of being scared when someone jumps out at you!  Wow, you tightened your neck and your head pulled back toward your spine,  your arms and shoulders lifted towards your ears, you held your breathe, so your diaphragm stopped moving, and your hips, knees and ankles all locked up into an extreme tension pattern. So the bones that make up your joints were pulled into each other, which eventually will start a whisper of pain, and if not changed, will end up in screams or surgery, or the worse, no longer being able to run.

Startlepics

Head pulled back, belly jutting, legs locked

RunningStartle

Jaw and neck tense, and therefore arms and wrist

This “startle pattern” typically shows up any time you are surprised and/or stressed by worry, anticipation, fear and anger to name a few.  I am amazed to see people in cars on the freeway, actually driving in the “startle pattern”, it doesn’t seem like it would be that big a deal but if you are living in it most of your day, you joints will wear out, your breathing will be compromised, your jaw will be overly tight. Your entire body is effected in this pattern of extreme tension.

Now, when you feel yourself going into or are in this pattern of tension and holding, just think to yourself, “this is too much, I can relax my neck, shoulders, hips, knees (if they are locked, same thing – excess tension on knees and low back), and ankles and let my breath out.”  Experiment with this new way of thinking and see what happens!

Runningpic

Jaw tight, arms and shoulders tense

Getting to “Yes” and Ending My Back Pain

I have heard many people who suffer chronic back pain feel that they are being proactive in their care by taking pain meds and stretching here and there; however the pain returns? This gives temporary relief, and who knows what the meds are doing to your organs.

What if you could learn a daily set of principles that you could practice on your own that would give you “long term” relief from the pain?

i invite you to get to a committed “YES” and invest in your own health, this is success!

Sign up on my contact page, and the first practice is a free audio you can use now (The Conscious Resting Pose).

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is CranioSacral Therapy? Is it for me?

 

My first session of CranioSacral Therapy was years ago, and as I left the session, I realized something I had not experienced before; not only was my physical discomfort gone and my stiffness lessened, I found a sense of really deep peace, my worries did not appear, my sense of inadequacy was gone, it was as if all was perfect just as it was.  I knew that I wanted more of this experience.

peace dove

As a practitioner of CranioSacral therapy, I sense in my clients a deep unwinding of fascial (tissue) tension that in most cases is unconscious, and the body directs me to these areas of stuck patterns that can very quickly disappear.  The interesting part is that not only is the physical body relieved, the emotional holdings integrate and disappear.  We know so much more about how the emotions affect the physical, this therapy is very profound in that example.  Years of talk therapy to alleviate complex emotional patterns of pain can sometimes vanish and the physical problems leave as well!  The interconnectedness of subliminal holding patterns are brought forward and released.

I am constantly amazed at how this gentle listening to the body with the intent of nurturing uncovers what is possible within the tissue of my client.  An experience of grace, joy and peace appears. My work is a gift to me.

Learning from the headrest in my car!

I had a great discovery this morning as I was taking my daily run.  I know that our head moves forward and up as we walk and run, my Alexander training has instilled that in my kinesthetic awareness.  However, I know this learning about my body through movement and discovering ease, flexibility and balance is a “practice” and just when we think we “have it”, we realize that the process is just evolving.  I think the awareness of my body as being in layers, and as I come to notice and be deeply connected to that layer, I learn something profound in how it relates to the whole and my movement; it then becomes my own. This morning when I let my head fall forward in this sort of relaxed way my pace picked up I became so much lighter my joints were open, my breath was easier…what a revelation!

Runner

So now I have uncovered another layer to help me be more balanced in all that I do.  I could say it was unconscious and now is conscious and available to me.  These layers of deep tension and tightness come forward into your awareness over time, because they are unconscious habits, they hide below our consciousness until we decide to embark on the curiosity of discovering and changing. For me, there was an emotional piece, that somewhere in my psyche I thought if my head came forward that much (which was a miniscule amount), that I would fall forward, so I unknowingly tightened my neck muscles to keep from falling…what an absurd thought!

As FM Alexander would say we don’t really know where we are in space we don’t know what our body is doing, this really gave me that awareness in a very deep way.

I am beginning to think that the headrest in my new car may have given me a new awareness of the position of my head on my spine.  So change is good in that it brought me to a new way of relating my head to my spine, and that what I thought I knew was taking me to another layer of consciousness; and it showed up in my running.  I love this work, and being in my body with enhanced awareness of how I move in relation to the whole body is profound!

 

Grandmother’s insight of granddaughter’s bowing

Comment from a workshop participant in Montana:

“Also, (wish I would have thought of this in class), last spring when I was in Tucson I went to my granddaughter’s  violin lesson. (she’s just beginning).  She was “sawing” away at the song.  Her teacher said “Operate the bow from your whole arm, not just from your elbow.”  What a difference in sound.  Sound went from flat to full.

Free your bow arm

Free your bow arm

I took violin as a child and must have learned that because when playing her violin it was natural for me to bow with my whole arm.  I noticed her father, also, when helping her with her lesson bowed from the elbow.  When I pointed that out he immediately picked up on doing it differently – it was harder for my granddaughter to “get” the difference.  I would suppose a violinist who used the bow from the elbow would eventually develop an injury.  In other words “tennis elbow”??

When we ask our body to perform an action w/o the full repertoire of joints and muscles and tendons intended to perform that action then we create wear and tear and eventually injury, I would guess.  Very interesting.

Thank you for the class.  It was enlightening.  It’s very comforting being around you.”

C.Collins, Montana (2013)

 

 

Popping your Knuckles and other Unconscious Habits

While traveling last month and taking various forms of public transportation which required me to share a seat with other travelers, I became curious about unconscious habits. Do we all have unconscious habits that occur when we are otherwise focused; for instance, while reading or watching a movie?  And because we are so drawn into the entertainment through our eyes, and our hands being free; that we do some unconscious movement with our hand.  

Trainforblog

I experienced on these trips the following unconscious habits as nail biting, knuckle cracking or popping and nose picking, all being done very unconsciously as the person was reading and/or watching something on their ipad or iPhone. It was very distracting to me, that in one instance I asked to be moved to another seat.

So I thought, what habits do I have? We really can’t see ourselves, and the habit isn’t in our awareness. So I decided to watch a movie on my ipad so I could really become aware of what I do, it was so hard since I was so drawn into the story. I had to divide my attention between two things, and probably more if I heard a noise or my phone rang.
WOW, could I do it?

maninmirrorblog

 

This is what FM Alexander explored 103 years ago, when he lost his voice when performing. When he watched in the mirror that he tightened his neck, shoulders and ribs, he knew that tension made his voice scratchy and hoarse. However he wasn’t aware at all of the bracing and tightening he was doing “unconsciously”. He realized that we do have a choice on how we use our attention. What is our body doing, what are we thinking, what is around us, and then to practice being attentive to your self and your surroundings. This new way of being allows you to change the unconscious habits that may be affecting your voice, breathing, joint pain.

My habit? I am still exploring, and I know there is one, I am finding that what I think I am doing isn’t necessarily what I AM DOING! Better pull out a mirror, and try Mr. Alexander’s way of seeing himself and find out what i can’t sense in myself.  To be continued….

 

 

 

20-20-20 Practice to Avoid Aging

Aster DaisiesI was just remembering a little practice that is so helpful when I am sitting in front of a computer or driving for an extended time. My eyes dry out and I start squinting and rubbing them, creating redness and perhaps wrinkles.

The 20-20-20 practice is to look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes. It is amazing (BTW, if driving, wait until you stop!). I feel like if you can look out in nature it’s even more rewarding, the expansiveness creates an expanse in my framework, my joints open, my breath becomes slow and meditative.

Try it and let me know what you think. And please pass this interesting little tidbit on to others you may think could benefit.

AND…

For other ways to keep from aging and bring some calmness in your life…try our Fall Group Class:  “Finding Unexpected Ease in How We Do Anything”  Thursdays, 10-12 pm – Starting September 11. For more information:  http://karenloving.com/group-classes-moving-medicine/