Eating ice cream – can it be good for the whole of you, not just the taste and sensory delight of the moment? I’m talking about nutritious movements and how we can make choices whilst we eat. This is a little essay about the art of eating and moving.
I was in the local park yesterday with my son enjoying some down time after visiting the Fun Fair. We had ice creams and I was watching him, myself and many others enjoying this simple treat.
What I saw is that trying to get the maximum lickage (newly coined word by me to mean the most ice cream per lick) can lead to lots of movements around our head, spine and jaw.
I enjoy the smoothness, then crunchiness of the textures on my tongue, the flavours, the coldness. I enjoy the hot sun on my back, the memory of a fun ride on the Ski Slope at the Fun Fair. I enjoy the look of my son with a new haircut and this shared moment with him.
What I notice in myself is that I have choices about whether I pull my head down to the ice cream or bring the ice cream up to my mouth in my desire to get a good lick. I see others moving their head around to take a big bite. I notice the desire and ambition for a large lick and how this really stretches a jaw wide, bringing the tongue out of the mouth to get a huge lick and bend the spine to the side like a concertina. All these movements are part of our natural repertoire of movement, and they are also at one extreme end of the range of movement we have.
On a daily basis I think about the quality of how I move, particularly around the mundane movements of everyday life like eating and drinking.
One of my life’s ambitions is to live well each and every day, and to have a spring in my step, a twinkle in my eye, to keep learning now and when I’m white haired and long in the tooth.
In order to get there in good shape, I realise I need to take care of each step I take along the way. The more I make good choices here and now, the more I build up the mind-muscles for self-care. The more these small daily choices build up good foundations for me in 30 years time.
This Wednesday I am offering a class in my Teaching Room in S11 which includes tea and biscuits. Yes, its nice to share refreshments with people and enjoy community, and its also a way of including the discoveries of FM Alexander and put it into use in everyday life, one bite at a time, one sip at a time.
Places are limited to 6 and its half full already. Let me know if you’d like to book your place. Try one class.
When I’m eating I want to move in ways which agree with my natural design of structure, coordination, thoughts and movement. In the case of eating ice-cream this might look like taking smaller licks, moving the ice cream cone with my fingers, hand and arm more than moving my heavy head around. Do you know how much your head weighs?
The average human head weighs 10 to 11 pounds. That is about 8 percent of the weight of a human body. The average adult human brain only weighs about 3 pounds, so most of the weight in the head consists of the skull and other fluids.
Knowing this may just be enough to encourage you to think about taking it easy next time you eat ice cream (or treat of your choice) so that the heavy head movements are quieter and more economical. This will reduce pain in your neck, tension in the shoulder area and tightness in your jaw. I find that simple movements can look more elegant, our head and spine are simply poised, and we can still get plenty of pleasure per lickage, without the bill to pay at the end of the day from over-using the muscles around our head, neck/spine or jaw.
Lucy Ascham is a mother and Alexander Technique teacher who loves to spend simple time in nature with her son in Sheffield.