“I wish to cast myself free”
‘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 thinking-in-activity 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.
Orca whale in captivity, showing curved over dorsal fin due to restricted movement (courtesy of Pixabay)
“I wish to cast myself free”
Here is a picture of an orca whale in captivity. It’s range of movement is restricted by the size and shape of the pool it swims in. As a result of this limited and repetitive use, its dorsal fin has become bent and mis-shaped with a curl to one side.
Yesterday I watched the film Free Willy in which a young boy befriends and then frees the Orca from the marine life centre in which is was held. The curled dorsal fin is evident.
Alexander discovered that the way we use ourselves affects the way we function.
Also, the way we mis-use ourselves affects the ways we mis-function.
My role is to help people like yourselves, understand in which ways your movements deviate from the natural ways for human mammals to move, and steer backwards with thoughts, movements, our choice of environment and emotional responses to a more natural way. When we change our use, we can heal many of the ways our body mis-functions.
Today I wish to talk about our wobbly bits. Boobs, breasts, willies – the lot. How our clothing can effectively put us in a cast, and how we can set ourselves free from this cast.
Many of these are put in a cast with tight, fashionable clothing which actually restrict the movement of these cells and connective tissues and muscles which can contribute to them being uncomfortably, unhappy and unhealthy.
If you have ever broken a bone and been put into a cast, you will know some of what I’m going to say. The cast is there in the short term to protect the broken bones, and give the body time to do its own repairs without adding further injury.
A cast will also stop there being any healthy movement in this region – in the joints with other bones, the muscles tend to shorten, wither and get much much thinner. After a few weeks the cast feels looser, and when it finally comes off, it often shows a much much smaller and thinner limb. The way which we have been restricted from moving then affects the way this limb is able to function – for necessary healing, and for unhelpful atrophying.
Part of the rehabilitation is about retraining this limb to work again. Simply using it in a range of healthy everyday movements will help.
Many people don’t realise how the cast and sling, or crutches will have stopped them reaching for things, holding things, carrying things and moving in a free range of movements.
When I’m working with people who have had broken bones – be it recently or many moons ago, I am helping them see where the unconscious restrictive patterns are, and gradually increasing the range of movements in the joints, connective tissue, cells and the limiting beliefs they have in their mind still.
Often there is a certain one-sidedness which results in the recovery period after a break. Obviously we favour one side and it gets much stronger as it gets over-used to protect the broken limb and does twice the work, or more if you are on crutches.
Part of the recovery is to ask that side to take back its rightful size and shape and workload. If it has got used to doing double, it needs some retraining to come back to being a team player. Many people still walk around ‘as if’ they still have a broken leg, years after it has healed. A trained eye can see this. Our body can still show this, long after we think we’ve returned to normal.
I have never broken a bone, so don’t have first hand experience of what this is like.
Back to the orca and its flopped-over dorsal fin and what this has to do with us.
Many of us put ourselves in a cast, into some kind of restriction for fashion, for a uniform, for sport, for repetitive work, for sitting at a desk, sitting at a computer, sitting wearing a belt, wearing pants which are too tight, bras which are too tight, clothes which don’t fit us well etc etc
Guys if your balls cannot swing freely, then you are putting them in a cast. This can change their temperature, which can affect your sperm-count.
I’m not proposing we all ditch our clothes and underwear in one go and go completely free and naked. I am suggesting we start to notice the restrictions we do have some choice over, and take steps towards freeing ourselves from these.
Perhaps during Lockdown, you have had occasion for more snacking and overall less movement than normal. Perhaps some clothes are feeling a little smaller than they did (I reckon my trousers have shrunk!)
If you normally wear a bra at night, move to a softer one, or none at all.
If you normally wear tight pants which leave elastic marks on your body – choose ones with wider elastic, softer elastic or invest in some the right size for your body shape as it is right now.
If you normally have a belt on your trousers, can you loosen it safely or wear trousers which don’t need a belt at all?
If your clothes normally restrict your arm movements and cause you touse your arms in a limited way, consider changing these clothes and start to increase the daily movements where you need to reach, stretch up for a box high up, bend into a squat to pick something up, Try putting your jacket on with The Other Arm first.
Typical casts which restrict our free range of body movements include:
- Computer screens, focal length gets fixed
- Ever-present light, no need to adapt, fixed iris
- Spanx – body sculpting underwear
- Immobile clothing
- Seats – office chairs, favourite armchair, sofa
- Sucking in your tummy
- Baby prams, car seats, harnesses, bouncers
- Repetitive use patterns
- Temperature-controlled environments
- Pureed food / smoothies
- Flat and level ground, concrete, office floors
- List from Katy Bowman.com
Can you think of something else which puts your body into a cast? And can you think of a way towards freeing yourself up from one thing on this list today?
I put my hair up into a band sometimes, and notice that when I take the band out at the end of the day, my hair has remembered the direction they were pulled in. My head literally hurts when I free myself!! Sometimes I can give my head a ruffle, a quick massage and my hair follicles can be reminded of other directions which my hair can fall. Sometimes my scalp is too pulled and I need to do this gently and slowly. I imagine the same is true of many of our body parts when we stop restricting them. They initially complain as they find they are multi-directional and the muscles and connective tissue get woken up into a variety of possibilities.
I’d love to hear what you notice about your clothes and how you can move towards a bit more freedom and get back into the natural shape you are designed to be.
Thank you to everyone who sends me emails and messages about these daily emails and how they are inspiring and informing you. Please keep them coming.