“I am free to be balance-ing”
‘People do not decide their futures, they decide their habits and their habits decide their futures’, said FM Alexander.
Information and knowledge are useful. Putting these into action is even more useful. Committing to doing this action one, three, or ten times a day – then you’ll really start to notice the benefits.
As many of you know, one of Alexander’s major discoveries about us mammals is that the relationship between the head and spine govern the coordination of the rest of us. Yes – all of us! Physical, mental, emotional, spiritual – we don’t separate – its all one thing – our Self.
Balance-ing on a log on my daily walk
“I am free to be balance-ing”
During a recent online lesson I was talking with a client about pain in the back, neck and shoulder regions.
To me, our body speaks in a pain-pleasure language. So when I’m in pain, it is a message saying to me that I am not working according to my natural design.
I’m talking about niggling back pain, or on-going pains in the neck muscles and sharp pains along the tops of the shoulder area. Some of these are due to excess tension, and unhelpful beliefs in how our body-mind work.
These kind of pains can be a sign of being out of balance. Where we may be using our structure and limbs with too much effort, using the wrong sort of muscles for the job.
- We have deep postural muscles close to the bones of our spine which help us be upright and to co-ordinate our selves.
- We have moving muscles more on the skin side of our body which assist in us moving our limbs and for locomotion.
When we confuse the roles of these types of muscles, we can end up not being able to sit on a stool for any length of time as our postural muscles are not used to stabilising us and keeping us balancing. We have lost tone and fine-tuning.
Or we can try and lift things, or move things with our postural muscles, and recruit too many neighbouring muscles when we only need a more local connection to do the task.
During a lesson I devise ‘games’ and awareness exercises which help us first with a coordination plan, then with a movement plan. These help us choose where to prioritise our attention so we can retrain our brain, and then reorganise our muscles.
Are you able to sit upright for hours on a stool or does your back tire after a few moments and long for some external support, like the back of a chair? Retraining of our muscles groups isn[‘t something we ‘do’ during a lesson – no weight lifting here. Instead we learn to stop over ‘doing’ the unhelpful ways and re-task our brain-muscles to work from the structure to the movement.
If you are looking to BE balanced, or BE still, or BE in the right position – I cannot help you.
My two decades of working with Alexander’s discoveries show me that when we are upright, we are in a constant state of flow and teeny tiny movements.
We move through the point of balance as we go too far left, and oscillate as we notice this over-steering and redirect ourselves right towards balance – once again passing through the balance point. Unless we hold ourselves stiff, we cannot be exactly ‘balance-d’.
Let yourself be free to un-grip any ideas (especially unconscious ones!) of being fixed, right or held. Allow yourself to permit the micro-movements of breath to move through you. Allow yourself, if you will, to refrain from trying to do the ‘right’ thing.
Learning to trust your body’s natural wisdom is part of this process.
Take the brakes off your head-neck joint with a gentle wish, and let yourself be balance-ing.
Habits can be changed, and first we start with changing our thinking. First through education and understanding, then through a guided practice to a better overall systemic thinking, then practising the principles, not the movements.