Tension

Alexander Technique? Ain't Nobody Got Time for That! by Ariel Carson

Several students have asked me variations of the same question in the past several weeks, so I wanted to take a moment to address it here.

The question:  I feel great when I slow down and become more aware in my Alexander Technique lessons, but I don't know how to maintain that awareness when I have to move quickly in the rest of my life. Is the point of Alexander Technique to be aware 100% of the time?

Answer in short:  Hell no! Ain't nobody got time for that!

There’s no way for us mere mortals to be mindful and aware of our mind-body-selves 100% of the time. We’re just not built for that.  But how about for 10 minutes a day, or 5 minutes? How about for even just a split second check-in to stop and ask yourself, "Can I do less?" or "Can I release my neck into length and my back into expansion?"

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Mindfulness and the Alexander Technique by Ariel Carson

An article entitled "No Time to Think" by Kate Murphy published in the New York Times Sunday Review on July 27th, 2014 states:

"In 11 experiments involving more than 700 people, the majority of participants reported that they found it unpleasant to be alone in a room with their thoughts for just 6 to 15 minutes."

It speculates that the constant busyness many of us seem to experience, and sometimes even glorify this day and age, may just be a tactic for avoiding self-reflection. Busyness distracts us from acknowledging the reality of our thoughts, emotions, and sensations -- particular those we consider "negative". 

As an Alexander Technique teacher and resident of the City that Never Sleeps, this does not come as a surprise to me. Many of my students and fellow city dwellers spend their every day powering forward with no time for pause, working nonstop to get ahead in their careers, going to the gym, bouncing from one social engagement to the next, running errands, and keeping up with social media 24/7. But this pace is not sustainable. Whatever feelings and sensations we shut out get pushed down in our psyches, only to bubble up in unexpected ways at unexpected times. Without time for self-reflection, we're just hurtling through our lives on auto-pilot, limiting our capacity for growth and change.

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Failure and the Alexander Technique by Ariel Carson

My Love Affair With the F Word

I wanted to write about why failure is an essential element in any Alexander Technique practice, but everything I wrote seemed overly complicated and wordy. I was having a difficult time trying to squeeze out a decent draft from what I had, until I remembered to practice the very thing I was preaching.

The way I was writing wasn’t working, so instead of charging forward without changing anything, I stopped. I let go of the familiar tension that had built up over the process of banging out the first draft, released my neck and back, and allowed myself to grow into more of my full expansiveness. I let my breathing open up, and I acknowledged the support of the ground. I wiped the slate clean and started over.

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