"Imagine how your home is safe, accessible, beautiful, practical, functional, easy and comfortable - well that's how we should be in our bodies too" -Glenna Batson
I read a really interesting article about mindfulness in the New York Times last month that I've been dying to share. Often times my Alexander Technique students tell me that after a lesson they have more focus or concentration. They even describe the benefit of having more confidence and attention in activities and thoughts that have been plaguing them. This article resonates with me because it describes one of the many benefits of the Alexander Technique; Mindfulness.
This week try scaling your websites up to 150% while surfing the internet. It could help to reduce the strain from leaning forward to see what's on the screen.
Command + ( to increase)
Command - (to decrease)
Command 0 (reverse to 100%)
Our body's posture often reflects what we feel emotionally and internally. If you've had a bad day, you'll express it consciously or unconsciously through your body. The same is true from body to emotion. If you have a collapsed posture, you'll feel it in your thoughts and emotions. Your posture could be contributing to your high anxiety, lack of concentration, or low energy. This two-way street is the definition of mind-body connection. If you're interested in taking care of your whole self (mind and body), start by examining how your posture is connected to your thoughts and emotions.
Young musician on 3rd St. Promenade
It's a joy to watch young children move because they do it so easily and gracefully. We were all toddlers at one point and we all had great posture. Yes, you! So when did our posture change? Why did it change? Do you think differently now about your posture than when you were a kid? How do you go about re-gaining your birthright of ease and poise?
I spend a lot of time in my car. Living in Southern California I drive my fair share and I also sit and wait while in horrendous traffic. Yesterday while driving two plus hours from San Diego to Los Angeles, I decided to do a driving and Alexander Technique experiment to see if I could relieve some of the stiffness, stress, and tension that was starting to build up in me while driving. So if you also experience a little tension while behind the wheel on a long commute or just while sitting in bumper to bumper traffic, perhaps you can try this experiment with me.
1. Check in with yourself. I started checking in with myself by making some mental notes of what I was feeling in my body at that moment. Without changing, "adjusting", or correcting myself, I asked questions like "is my back contacting the car seat", "how hard is my grip of the steering wheel", "do I feel an equal amount of weight distribution on both butt cheeks", "am I straining forward with my head to see"?
2. Pinpoint one observation. An example from my experiment yesterday was that I noticed my hand grip was a little intense and decided to explore this observation further.
3. Give yourself an option to DO LESS. In my tight hand grip example, I asked myself what was another option that I could try in the moment. I decided to see if loosening my grip on the steering wheel was an option. Well lo and behold that as soon as I loosen my hand grip on the steering wheel, my whole arm felt more relaxed and I also felt a large rush of air so that I was breathing better. The loose grip, released arms, and easier breathing all made me more comfortable and relaxed on the rest of my long drive! On a side note, the last two benefits in the arms and breath came indirectly from the loosening of my hand grip. More on how the Alexander Technique brings about Indirect Benefits later.
Give these 3 steps a try and explore what it is that you do while you are driving. I'm interested in hearing about what you learn.