A Free Neck: Lessons in Alexander Technique and Body Mapping
May 9, 2011
For sure I have become more aware of feeling grounded, feeling centered and balanced in my movements, but once I have the flute in my hands I know I lose this feeling as I get more and more into my practice session. Even with stretches and mindful breaks I still have a ways to go to freeing things as much as I would like. I discussed the tension I feel in my neck in particular.
As I was sharing these observations while standing, the teacher was doing the gentle presssings and guidances with my body, bringing awareness to various places where I was holding tension. But also I noticed that it’s easy to forget about certain parts of our bodies, that we can just go into automatic pilot and walk, stretch, and play our instruments so that we’re tuning out and not being really aware as to what a particular part of our body is doing.
I know that sounds a little strange, but I think as I’m developing this deeper sense of kinesthesia I’m realizing the disconnection I’ve had with my body. It’s like my shoulder was just doing its thing without me really thinking about having any say in it.
After this first part of the lesson, she had me lie down on my back, my knees bent, feet flat on the floor. She began the little guidances, and gave me imagery and gentle reminders about how I can release the tension in various areas she was focusing on. She worked first on my right side, the neck, shoulder, arm, hip, leg, foot….and I literally felt the right side of my body as taller/higher, wider and more tingly, more present. Then the left side, and the same feeling. At one point I felt my entire body was very flat and very wide like a big puddle on the floor. She then asked me to get up slowly, and walk around. It was the dreamiest little walk I’ve had in a long time.
I can say that for me thus far Alexander Technique has been more effective than a massage. The sensation is more long-lasting because you bring awareness of how you can relax and be balanced and grounded on your own. I’m learning how to relax my own muscles and take some control over the amount of tension I carry in my body.
The last part of the lesson I played for her, and she helped me to think about taking a breath without moving my head back or putting tension into my neck. She also had me thinking about supporting my arms with my lower back, which in turn freed up my neck. Wow, what a difference!
I can’t wait for my lesson again next week. Off to practice with a freer neck!
Easing a Stiff Neck–http://www.alextechedin.co.uk/easing-a-stiff-neck
Alexander Technique Books and Links–http://www.alextechedin.co.uk/books
Habit and Choice Blog–http://habitandchoice.com/blog/
Alexander Technique Blogs–http://alexandertechniqueblogs.com/
Uncommon Sense Pedagogy–http://uncommonsensepedagogy.blogspot.com/