It is the return to balance that is important, not finding balance and attempting to freeze it in place, thus producing the very tensions and holding patterns in the body which you wish to relieve. The struggle to hold oneself in place is called ‘good posture.’ We will not be pursuing that goal. Just keep coming back to your ease and freedom. Be willing for something new to emerge; a recovery of balance and an integrated Self, able to engage in singing, speaking, standing, sitting, walking, running, you name it.
Come back. Over and over again. And then again. I was given an opportunity to practice The Return as I drove home after viewing the Cincinnati Museum’s DaVinci Exhibition. The drive is a 2 hour one, a flat farmfield route on Interstate 71; semis thick as thieves and road repair projects rampant.
Driving south, the coffee had kicked in, and anticipation gave me a buoyancy and lightness. Not so much heading back. The exhibition had been a disappointment. I wanted to be amazed at the constructions of DaVinci’s inventions, but with a few exceptions, I wasn’t. Staff was nominally friendly and several of my fellow guests were loud and intrusive.
As a result, on the drive north, I found myself in full-blown Downward Pull (tension in the neck, bringing head down and out of alignment with the spine). Noticing a habit is the most important step to benefiting from an Alexander Technique practice. And then, having noticed, do nothing. That’s right. Under no circumstances are you to attempt a ‘fix.’ Observe. Non-do. Often that’s enough to get out of your own way, and the body in its infinite wisdom will thank you and move into length and width.
Should you wish a bit more encouragement for your Self than doing nothing, you can kindly provide a prompt. Something like, ‘I allow my head to move up.’ Ohio University Opera Workshop students were given this one for their first week’s exploration of the Technique. For the AT novice, this can be a challenge. In giving oneself a prompt, the impulse is to accompany that prompt with effort. No need. Let the mind and the body cooperate with your intention. They will, and happily.
Many Happy Returns of the Day to You—–