“I am free to move with ease”
Say this thought to yourself little and often throughout the day. Write it, draw it, meditate on it. Stick a Post It on a mirror. Set yourself a reminder on your phone if you’d like to.
Practicing this thought throughout the day will help you notice this sequence and support you to navigate daily life in many ways.
As many of you know, one of Alexander’s major discoveries about us mammals is that the relationship of 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.
Today’s thought is about directing whatever movement we are doing – with ease. This doesn’t mean we need to try and force ourselves to go floppy or relaxed. Its about aiming for moving just enough muscle tone for the activity we are doing. Our joints pains and back aches and neck stiffness can come from one part of our body being over-used and another part being under-used. So if we aim to use it all – us all – with ease, it should allow our body’s natural wisdom to get back in the driving seat and move us around with ease.
Now that we are advised to stay more indoors or having our walk outside just once a day – its a precious chance to get your mind working ahead of your body – to steer it in the direction you want.
Today I went for my walk in the local park and took the path less travelled. I took an old plastic carrier bag and picked up litter as I went. There are so many advantages to doing this – bending, squatting, lunging, stretching, getting closer to the ground, and further away from the ground. And all the while saying to myself “I am free to move with ease”. I was delighted to notice that I rarely held my breath to pick something up.
Try this at home – or in your garden – or balcony or bedroom. Bend to put something on the floor, or pick up one thing off the floor – and notice your breathing. Simply notice, and bring your attention to the flow of air, moving all by itself.
Unless it doesn’t. Did you hold your breath at any moment?
Your breath can be a guide to your tension patterns and can be a useful gauge as to whether you are (inadvertently) interfering with your coordination. If you are holding your breath, you fix your ribs, cutting off the life-supplying air, and stiffening your spine. As you may know, your ribs are connected to the spine at the back of you – in the chest / thoracic region of your spine.
I’m not one for going to the gym, I usually love to swim and last autumn started wild swimming for a spell. I’m not currently doing that. I found it too cold over winter, for one thing! However – there is a variety of movement that can be done from home.
I am grateful that we have a trampoline in our back garden. It’s well used when its dry, and my son is teaching me some skills and I am getting a bit more confident about dropping onto my bottom and bouncing up again to my feet. I’m gradually building up stamina. I am also noticing my age. After eating a snack he was straight back into bouncing, and I needed to sit down, to let the snack settle in my stomach!
Today we dig some weeding and digging in a patch of garden. We found some big juicy worms and an amazing green caterpillar. (I could tell you about the glass, rubbish and dandelion weeds, but am choosing not to give them much air-time.) So the digging, and bending and pulling weeds is all part of the useful variety of movements my body needs and thrives on.
I can manage about 10 minutes of anything, thinking as I go, and stopping to rest when I need to. I am certainly not Wonder Woman. I am also content to leave a job partly done. This is something I have had to train myself to do – instead of forcing myself to carry on to the bitter end, or letting the clock dictate how long I do something for – I keep half an eye (or an other kinaesthetic sense) on myself. Always monitoring how I am doing and releasing excess tension and looking for ease. I notice when I start to tire, or before my muscles get overworked, and stop sooner rather than later.
This makes life move a little bit more smooth and pleasurable. If I wasn’t moving smoothly in my joints, I’d be moving roughly, jaggedly, lumpy, unaligned, asymmetrical, bumpy. Sure – we can get away with this sometimes, but not for long if that is our ‘normal’. This is how we can hurt ourselves, by mis-using ourselves.
This everyday practice of thinking before and thinking whilst we are moving – starts to reverse the trend – back towards smooth, even, balanced and aligned movement.
Which do you want to practice today?
“I am free to move with ease”
It is simply an invitation…
Thank you to those who have written to let me know you are enjoying these and how they are benefitting you. Even a little bit of thinking can set you up a bit better for the rest of the day. Even a little bit of stopping, noticing, and redirecting your energy in a more useful way is an improvement. Don’t aim for perfection, just attend to yourself with kindness.
Please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org if there are any topics you would like me to cover.
Have fun with this. Take yourself out of automatic, and get thinking consciously and constructively.