I just returned from NYC, studying with some of my colleagues and as I walked around the city I noticed the diversity in bodies and movement. There is this beautiful commingling of emotions, postures, clothing and identification of persona. I have to wonder what the stories are for all these lovely folks who all seem to be going somewhere, most with a sense of urgency in their body to “get there”.
The posture and tensing that I see is so evident because of wanting to “get there”, I feel myself emerging into the same energy, and I have to remind myself to soften, calm, to bring my awareness to my body, my feet on the ground, the space above my head. Something changes in my sensual awareness; I start to see, hear, and smell with a different more enhanced experience. Before I started to notice myself in the space I was in and the space around me; I felt pulled or separate from my sensations, all because I was wanted to get ahead of myself to “get there”. I am only driven by the self-induced “urgency” to be somewhere other than where I am; and, I am not in the process of enjoying this incredible city and the people who are here in the space with me. Does the awareness of my body expand my attention to really see and be a part of this fabulous city? Do I have more ease in my head, neck and shoulders, less tightening in my back and knees and more oxygen is coming in because I am breathing!
Try it yourself, next time you are in the grocery store, instead of being pulled by the “urgency” to get to the butter, cheese, lettuce. Be with yourself in the present of just walking, taking in the smells, the sights and the sounds that surround you, your feet on the floor, the space above your head. Does something change, do your muscles ease and calm along with your thoughts? How long can you be “present”…before the “urgency” creeps back in and your shoulders ride up to your ears…it is challenging! Have fun!
Calming the nervous system
This is a question that continues to surface as our medical community changes from what it once was. It used to be that we turned all our power over to the doctor and did very little to educate ourselves about our bodies, or thought much about how we felt, how we moved, walked, sat, etc.; however, we are changing, we want to be involved and responsible for our health. After all, we are the one inside our bodies; we can change our approach and be proactive in our healing.
When clients come to me with back pain, sometimes chronic, they have no idea that they can change a few things that greatly improve their movement and the pain subsides or goes away. Seeing their life change because of this new way of thinking is so moving and satisfying. Basically they heal from their own “power” or direction!
How can this happen? As one of my clients put it:
“I am susceptible to chronic pain and it can flare up from either physical or emotional tension; when I change my thinking and learn to “let go” of the tension” and be conscious and responsible for my actions; things improve. The Alexander Technique is aiming at non-doing, and the physical component that can tighten muscles also compresses the spine…we learn to elongate the spine...I call it
EDUCATION THROUGH SELF-CARE!
It is “my job” not the doctors or the pharmacologist
to take care of my health.
The Alexander Technique gives more “bang for the buck”! ”
Learning about our bodies
R. Winn, Culpeper, VA
When you talk to a musician you ask, “what is your instrument”, and if they say “I am a singer”, then their body is their instrument. But wait, we use our voice everyday, and does the tension we hold in our neck and shoulders affect how our voice comes out, whether raspy or hoarse, strained etc?
Before I started my path into how the body and thoughts are connected, I imagined anything that was important to my well being was in my head (brains you know!); I mean that is where are my senses are (no pun intended): eyes to see, ears to hear, tongue to taste, and voice to talk…however, I notice that when I lock my knees or tighten my arms and shoulders; it is very hard to breathe and therefore to speak (you know we speak and sing on our exhale). So how does that happen, well our voice box or larynx (pronounced Lar-rinks) is in our throat, and connected to many muscles and connective tissue that is connected to our jaw, our tongue, our neck and shoulder muscles, and if you looked at my last blog on tensegrity, you now understand that no muscle moves in isolation, locking our knees way below affects our voice; we are a matrix of bone and connective tissue working together.
Try this experiment: Say “ah” and as you are letting the air out to form the sound “ah”, lock your knees and what happens to the tone of the “ah”, unlock them and what does it sound like; pull your shoulders up to your ears, does that affect the “ah” sound. Fun to play around with!
Working with Castleton Opera Singers