When teaching the Alexander Technique, I often malign the visual sense, accusing it of being way over-developed to the exclusion of other senses, and often to the omission of the kinesthetic sense. But what about using this well-trained sense to assist in returning us to our fully-embodied selves?
A definition is in order. Kinesthesia is our neglected sixth sense, giving us information about our body; its position, size, and movement. Basic kinesthetic distinctions include: tense, free, balanced, unbalanced. It is these qualities which we learn to discern in the practice of the Technique.
A word about the cream and sugar set. I found these sweeties at the West Liberty Labor Day Festival. Wilma and I were trudging back to the parking lot on a sizzling sun-drenched afternoon, having strolled the festival grounds for hours. I was hot. I was tired. I was tense and unbalanced. Along the final stretch of booths, a table of $2 items, on which sat the cream and sugar beauties. The saturated yellow color made me happy. I perked ‘up,’ so to speak. I moved up into length and width, a refreshing boon at the end of the festival day, as restorative as a glass of ice water. Free and balanced.
Yehuda Cooperman, an Alexander Technique teacher living and working in Israel, offered these gems on ‘yellow’ at a Cincinnati AT teacher workshop:
- Paint the yellow between you and your student. Before you direct, you must paint, and the painting is by two painters; teacher and student.
- Step by step….so she (the student) sees she is supported by yellow.
- I have to give myself to those forces, to discover from my pupils, the yellow.
What on earth was he saying with this on-going reference to ‘yellow’? Perhaps he was alluding to the ineffable, the life force that animates. As a Reiki practitioner, I often visualize color moving through my hands, but the colors change, depending on the person in the session and the moment. Yehuda had a powerful association with the particular color of yellow, and used it to good effect in his teaching.
Returning to your visual sense, let the color of something you see today capture your attention, and allow its vibrance to take you ‘Up.’