Lightly repeating this thought each time you drink today will help you prioritise looking after your spine during this activity. When we add a new tendency to an existing habit or activity, it is known as ‘habit-stacking’ and a really effective way of introducing changes.
As some of you know, one of FM Alexander’s major discoveries about us human-mammals, is that the relationship of the head and spine governs the coordination of the rest of us. Yes – all of us! Physical, mental, emotional, spiritual – we don’t separate – we are all one united being – our Self.
Alexander wrote a book called The Use of the Self. In it he explains that how we use ourselves, affects the way we function.
Knowing and understanding and using ourselves well is so important for our health
What better time to learn how to improve your health now we are in Lockdown. If we aren’t choiceful, we will on automatic pilot. That’s fine if everything is going well. If we are worried or stressed, lets see what we can do to change this, so we not only benefit in this moment we start to change our habits to serve us better.
If we use ourselves well in one activity, then this starts to affect the way we do everything else better too.
When we mis-use ourselves then we don’t function so well
In order to be in the best health we can be, we want to use our your spine well as this coordinates the rest of us. Starting today, you get the chance to prioritise taking care of your spine, whilst doing a simple movement, drinking!
If we scrunch and shorten our spine, the muscles which are designed to support easily and with stamina instead get fatigued, our internal organs get squished and we reduce our ability to breathe and move well. This has an adverse effect on every system in our body. To get the best out of ourselves, we can start to take care of our spine, which supports the structures, organs and fluids within us.
Changing our movement patterns starts with changing your thoughts
Please try this at home:
- Have a drink of water in front of you
- Think about how you are supported right now, by the floor under your feet, the chair under your bum.
- Notice – simply notice – how tall you are, the shape of the curves of your spine, and how your ribs move as you are breathed.
- Take a look at the glass in front of you.
- Don’t pick it up immediately.
- Send a gentle and encouraging thought to your head and spine to restore them to your full height. Notice if you Do this, or if you can just Allow the thought to help you unfurl.
- Attend to the fullness of your spine – and as you do so, lift the glass up to your lips.
- Don’t drink immediately – Stop and take in and notice the whole of yourself again.
- Notice your support, the space around you, how breathable you are. Notice your height and how your head rests atop your spine.
- Think – “I’d like my head to lead my spine to be its full easy length”
- Bring the glass to your lips and pour some liquid in. Swallow then Stop.
- Stay as you are. Don’t move the glass away or down immediately. I want you to notice and know your default pattern. I want you to be watchful of what happens to the length of your spine as you bring the glass down. Does your head lower with it? Do you lean to one side? Do you stop breathing? Do you move forwards?
- Which parts are actually necessary for the action of drinking?
- If any holding or squishing is not needed, can you consciously change that for the next sip of water? Refrain from doing these extras.
- Pay most attention to your head and spine. Invite your spine to stay tall and long, even as you drink, even as you replace the glass down.
How did you get on with this? I’d love to know if you are enjoying these daily thoughts and explorations. Please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org
Have fun with this. Take yourself out of automatic pilot, and get back in charge of yourself, one thought at a time.
“Just for today, when I drink, I take care of my spine.”