Blog of the Week: Good Posture Means Connecting, Not Correcting

Originally posted by Dan Cayer on April 23, 2015 at dancayerfluidmovement.com/blog.

Good Posture Means Connecting, Not CorrectingI’m not against correcting our posture or body on principle. I wish all it took to rid ourselves of chronic pain and tension was figuring the right angle or position, and tapping our body into place. It’s such a seductive offer; that we need only arrange our body and then get on with the rest of our day.

I object to correcting our posture on practical grounds; it doesn’t work. From my perspective as an Alexander Technique teacher and a person dealing with chronic pain for several years, ‘correcting’ posture tends to tie us further into a tense knot, decreasing our ability to actually enjoy our body. In this article, I’ll offer a short but powerful exercise for connecting with a natural posture.

What Correcting Usually Means

The instinctual response to pain is to fix it or push it away. As discomfort crowds our consciousness, our brain reaches for a solution: “good” posture! Or, at least our idea of it. Usually, this means we push our shoulders back and stick our chest up. On a more subtle level, we may tighten our jaw and squeeze our throat against the discomfort and fear that’s bubbling up in relation to feeling pain. When posture carries the promise of not feeling pain or uncomfortable emotions, it’s easy to try too hard and stiffen ourselves.

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Blog of the Week: Shine…

Originally posted at thebodywonderful.blogspot.co.uk by Annie Turner on April 10, 2015

You come in pain.
There’s a rigidity in your body –
A holding –
A guarding –
A suppressed panic –
Your body seems to say, “What if…?”

What if what?
“What if I’m wrong?
What if nothing will change –
And I feel like this for ever –
Or worse, it worsens…?”

“I’ve been told….”
“I’ve got to….”
“I must…”

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Blog of the Week – Stop the Busy-ness and Be More Productive Part 1: Multi-tasking versus Single-tasking

Stop the Busy-ness and Be More Productive - Multi-tasking versus Single-taskingOriginally posted March 22, 2015 by Imogen Ragone.

Most people these days are busy – VERY busy. For women in business we’re not only dealing with the many and various jobs necessary to do our work; more often than not home and family, children and parents are competing for our attention too.

The most prevalent response to this busy-ness is multitasking, which is the perfect subject for the first in a series of posts I have lined up on busy-ness and productivity.

We’ve become a multitasking society. The constant calls for our attention, not least of which come from our devices beeping and alerting us to every email, text, and message notification that comes our way, exacerbate this and further distract us from the task (or tasks!) at hand.

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Image courtesy of marcolm at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Blog of the Week: Allowing Time to Make Space for Change

Originally posted by Victoria Stanham on March 19, 2015 at vstanhamalexandertechnique.blogspot.com.

Constructive RestBeginnings are tough for me. I’m all about order, but beginnings tend to be for me all about chaos.

Most of the chaos stems from the fact that I haven’t fully closed the previous actions. I’m dragging the dregs of yesterday into today and tomorrow, and getting them all jumbled up with the new stuff that wants to emerge.

What to do about it?

If I followed my own advice, I would quit doing stuff about it. I would find a bit of space on the floor to lie down on my back, with my head supported on a few books and my knees up. If I did this every day, morning and evening, I’d be making space for change to happen.

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Blog of the Week: Are you writhing with wrist pain?

Originally posted on March 10, 2015 by Mastaneh Nazarian

250px-Nerves_of_the_left_upper_extremityThe littlest bones of the human body are inside the ear.

But there are a set of small bones that make up a section of our body also referred to as the ‘wrist’.

Carpel Tunnel Syndrome is one of the conditions affecting the wrist area and causes much pain and discomfort.

In the blog I will attempt to clarify some the kinaesthetic language that underlies the explanation of CTS.  This may prove useful towards clarifying our mental image of how the wrist functions as part of the rest of our structure.  By gaining more clarity, we can then take useful measures to avoid or move towards recovering from CTS and other common conditions of the wrist area.

Firstly, if you are experiencing tingling sensations in your hand or wrist that may be shooting up the rest of your arm, please seek medical advise.  As there are many contributing factors aside from overuse.  That being said, most musicians who suffer from CTS have found that by investigating their movement habits, they have been able to overcome CTS.

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Blog of the Week: Sometimes Not Breathing Is Believing

Originally published on March 3, 2015 by Andrew McCann at www.alexanderand.com/blog.

Technically, this pigeon is playing the English horn. [Artist unknown]

When I was training as an Alexander Technique teacher, Vivien Mackie—the well-known Alexander teacher and cellist—came to Urbana to visit the Murray’s training course. While in town, she gave a master class to undergraduate musicians at one of the local universities. I had never seen an Alexander teacher teach a master class, so I decided to sit in and watch.

One of the students was an oboist. The oboe can be richly beautiful. But this young man would puff himself up like a pouter pigeon before he began playing, and the sound that emerged from his instrument was harsh and laser-like—I imagined it peeling the varnish off the floor of the stage.

Vivien Mackie let him play for a bit and then had him stop. “I want you to try something, just as an experiment,” she said. (I’m paraphrasing.) “Just try once to begin playing without taking a breath.”

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Blog of the Week: Would You Be Rushing If You Were Royalty?

Originally posted February 18, 2015 by Jennifer Roig-Francoli

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Would you be rushing around if…?

Here’s an imagination exercise for you, which you might want to think about in conjunction with the podcast ideas on centering that I wrote about in my last blogpost. (Podcast link: Living with Ease at the Center of Everything – Jennifer interviewed by Robert Rickover.)

If you were the “good king or queen” in a fairy tale, would you be rushing around from here to there to get things done and to fulfill everyone else’s expectations, or would you give yourself the time required to be centered and do things regally, with full consciousness, paying adequate attention to detail, and delegating things that you were not required to do?

What if you were the king or queen about to go onstage in front of your adoring subjects? Would you rush out there, making yourself small with hurry, or would you allow yourself to expand to take up all the space you need, letting yourself be calm and centered – at the center of the universe – letting the world do its rushing around you while you remain unaffected?

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Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Blog of the Week: The Alexander Technique Connection

Originally posted by Mark Josefsberg on January 22, 2015 at markjosefsberg.com.

ID-100260945I was recently reading two books, and coincidentally they both referenced asthmatic attacks—with differing approaches for relief. The first book was “Explaining the Alexander Technique—The writings of F. Mathias Alexander—In conversation with Walter Carrington and Sean Carey. The second book was “Bird by Bird” by Anne Lamott.

In the Alexander Technique book Walter Carrington states: “Alexander was particularly brilliant at getting someone to stop the reflex spasm by encouraging the neck muscles to release so that the head went forward and up. I saw him do this on a number of occasions when people were in the midst of an attack. It really was rather spectacular.”

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Image Courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net -”Health Of Spirit Mind And Body Means Mindfulness” by Stuart Miles

Blog of the Week: Posture for Beginners: An (Un)learning Process

Originally posted by Victoria Stanham on December 4, 2014 at vstanhamalexandertechnique.blogspot.com.

Most sports and art forms have an “ideal posture” to practice them. Books and articles on them will describe this ideal posture, and sometimes offer muscular exercises that will help you achieve it.

However, if visually identifying what we need to change and doing muscles exercises to correct deviations from perfect form were enough, we’d all have good posture and no one would have back pain from bad postural habits.

This visual and muscular take on posture presents 3 problems.

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Blog of the Week: You Don’t Have to Say, “Sit Up Straight!”

Originally posted by Andrew McCann on November 20, 2014 at www.alexanderand.com/blog.

On Wednesdays, Kyra teaches the cello to an adorable five year-old, “E.” In her lesson yesterday, E was sitting slumped on her little green stool, hanging backward off her cello. Instead of telling her to “sit up straight,” Kyra asked E to touch her cello bridge with her left hand.

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When E reached for her bridge, her back lengthened and she sat up. Funnily enough, she didn’t really notice the change. She just sat poised and alert for the rest of her lesson.

It was a small moment, but a great example of helping a child find poise at their instrument without nagging about posture.

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