When we have an important goal in mind, like getting this fence fixed, we tend to try to achieve the goal at any cost to our own self. It seems more important in the moment to just get something done, like that last bit of work on the computer, or getting to where we’re going when we’re late, or picking up something heavy that has to be moved. In those moments, it’s easy to forget about how we are using our body and to allow unneeded tension to get in the way. With practice using the Alexander Technique, we can learn to include ourselves in the activity.
Any activity is an opportunity to invite freedom and ease – even activities that use force. In today’s “discoverease” tip, I’m showing you some options of what might happen depending on what I’m thinking about as I use an impact driver (yes, I know it’s not a drill, as I say in the video! LOL)
Here, I’m mostly concerned about getting the job done and I’m really not including awareness of myself in the activity. I might be noticing that it’s an uncomfortable height to be working at without noticing that I’m making a choice in how I reach that level. My orientation (energy and attention both) is downward and I’m bending in my back, collapsing my chest, and having to scrunch my neck in order to look forward. (This is a common choice that we tend to make even while standing.)
Here I’m at least as interested, if not more, in how I’m using my body as in the job itself. That’s because I believe that using the joints that are designed for bending and keeping the ease in my neck will help me get the job done more easily. I’m also aware that how I use my body now not only affects how comfortable I feel now, it will contribute to how good or bad my body feels later. In addition, knowing that I may be unconsciously tensing in order to do a job that requires some physical effort, I’m checking in with my self to be sure to continue to invite ease in my neck for easier whole-body movement.
See the video here: https://youtu.be/J7AL1x7bvdk
Here are some more choices below. In which one am I working harder and in which one am I finding greater ease?
When we do an activity that requires force, most of us tend to use too much of it. Next time, experiment with doing less, like gripping less with hands or continuing to breathe(!) as you do the activity.
p.s. Did you notice I made a mistake in the video? (I included a subtitle just to clarify!) When I realized that, I said a mean thing to myself and felt really embarrassed and frustrated that I’d have to make the video again. Then I realized I was judging myself and tensing my neck! So I decided to look at it differently. I made a mistake that doesn’t matter. I can choose to criticize myself and tense, or I can laugh and not care so much and free my neck. And breathe. I choose that option!
Wishing you an easeful summer,
DiscoverEase in Movement