PICKING UP AN OBJECT
Start by releasing any extra tension in your neck, back, arms, and legs. Let your spine lengthen from your tailbone all the way to the top between your ears. Let your head balance easily on the top of your spine. Let your torso widen. And while keeping that length through your entire spine, lighten up to allow for spaciousness through your hips, knees, and ankles. Now let yourself bend at your joints. Move down in space to go to the object, but think up the whole while, so you’re not getting sucked down into yourself or the object. When you grasp the object, see how little work you can do in your biceps, forearms, wrists or fingers. To come back up, renew all of these directions again, and let your head move up in space while the rest of you goes along for the ride. Instead of “straightening” your legs to stand, allow your joints to unfold as you come up. As you do this allow the weight of the object to pass through your neck, back, and legs through to the ground, so instead of your biceps or back tightening to hold on, the ground helps you by bearing the weight.
** As you may have noticed, all of the applications in the last five days involve first releasing extra tension in the neck and back, so that the head can balance freely on top of the spine, and then thinking of lengthening and widening or overall expansion. These are the basic steps all Alexander Technique students and teachers do before and during any activity. It’s a way of addressing our overall coordination so that we can do any activity we want with the utmost poise, freedom, and efficiency.
It may seem like a lot at first, but just like anything else, the more you practice, the easier this process will become. Especially when you’re just beginning, it’s essential that you first have an Alexander Technique teacher guide you through these kinesthetic experiences to give you accurate feedback on how you’re doing. Then you can play and discover on your own too!