The Power of How: A journal about The Alexander Technique and Movement

DEAR BODY, PLEASE FORGIVE ME, LOVE, YOUR CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM

 

 

I’m feeling humbled today. I was going to write an article about my dermatome mapping process for publication in the American Society for the Alexander Technique Journal.

I’m going to miss my deadline. It’s too important to rush. Though I know the practice really works, that people gain ease and more coordination, I don’t know enough about why yet.

I do know that our body schema – our self image – is profoundly affected by both movement and touch. What I don’t know is how well the dermatome mapping process really reflects the actual structure of our CNS, or why learning this approximate map (because there is no one “accurate” dermatome map) through touch is effective in improving coordination.

I learned something on a non-cognitive level this weekend from all of my somatic colleagues, though. Something about not rushing, not pushing.

If you are interested in ease and fluidity, you are talking about waves. You can’t push a wave! Sound waves, light waves, the movement of fluid inside your body which is 60% water.

All that water, however, is contained within a structure that’s guided by your central nervous system, which is “controlled” by your brain. You are in constant dialogue with water. When water can’t flow, your tissues will feel the stress and strain.

And that will start calling your attention.

The more you pay attention to the strain, the more you will feel strain. It’s a nasty loop. But that’s what your brain is designed to do, so that you will pay attention to problems within the body, take care of them, and survive. Please forgive it! It’s just waiting for you use one of it’s hidden assets more skillfully: paying attention.

If you pay attention to ease, you will still feel discomfort, but you will have a larger, more fluid frame for your experience. That larger frame is much more supportive and calming to your CNS. It just requires a conscious choice on your part.

It takes patience and a slowly built stamina to make conscious choices about attention and movement. We know now that over-training can screw up your coordination big time. It’s called “maladaptive plasticity.”

Learning conscious choice is a delicate, fluid process. It requires a good, quiet, clear, supported space in which to practice and learn at a workable, fluid pace. That’s what I’m teaching in my classes, workshops and online gatherings.

Yes you can learn to guide your fluid self with clarity out into the world, into life-affirming movement. You just can’t push it!

I’ll be restructuring my Tuesday evening Movement Lab to focus more on the needs of dancers and movement educators (including Alexander Teachers!) who wish to explore developmental movement form (via the Dart Procedures) with ease! Without structure and form, it’s not possible to move.

For now, the Lab will stay open to any topics at all – through the end of December. So come on over if you’ve been wanting to give it a try!

Lots of love,

Clare

 

More Ways to Study:
1) FREE!
My video channel (the videos will give you background on the anatomy of the central nervous system, from which I’ve developed Kinesthetic Thinking.)

2) $14 per class:
Open Group Class every Wednesday 2 – 4 at Movement Research, through December 20 (No class Thanksgiving week).

2) $25 per class:
The NYC Tuesday evening Movement Lab

3) $110 per hour
can be split with a friend!
Private Study: go here for information

November 14th, 2017 • No Comments

WHY YOU NEED TO UNDERSTAND YOUR KINESTHETIC INTELLIGENCE: #5 in a series on how to use your kinesthetic intelligence

Hello Friends! I’ve been so surprised at what’s emerging as I write every day to you!I may not write every day – in general, I need to take one or two days off a week, usually Saturday. But otherwise I’ll keep on going.

The key point that pops out for me so far is this:  your kinesthetic or spatial intelligence is separate from your “feeling sense.” Your spatial intelligence is what creates ease in movement – it’s what you use as a pre-curser to movement. I know “effortless movement” sounds corny, because we all know that movement requires effort. But if it’s coordinated movement, where all parts of your body are working in concert with one another, you don’t feel “tension” per se because coordination = harmony in action. No part is fighting another part and preventing you from going where you want to go.

If you’ve been following along, you now have 6 points of awareness to play with:
head
tail
left knee
right knee
left elbow
right elbow
(go here for specific info about all those points)

Today, I felt that I could reach you more directly by making a video – warts and all! I hope you will make the extra click and watch it, because I talk you through my own process of applying the 6 points in that most basic of dances: going down and going up!

The material that is emerging will become part of a new workshop I hope to be offering soon, Creative Process Lab for Actors and Dancers. Stay Tuned.

 

June 8th, 2017 • No Comments

HOW TO STOP HURTING YOUR ELBOWS: #4 in a series on how to use your kinesthetic intelligence

The last place to include in the kinesthetic map I’m building is your lower arm bone, your ulna. It’s the exact mirror of your tibia (from a previous blog post), in the upper limb instead of the lower. It’s the more powerful bone (meaning it has bigger muscles attached to it) of your two lower arm bones. On some mammals, it sticks out alot more than it does on us. Specifically, I am imagining a spot right in the middle of it’s elbow end. You can feel it if you fold your elbow, it’s the bone that pokes out the most. It’s often mistaken for an the upper arm bone.

You can see the end of the ulna clearly in the picture above. If you fold your elbow, the spot I’m imagining would be right in the center very end of the bone. You can touch this place both when your elbow is folded and when it’s opened! It doesn’t get buried in the elbow joint.

Now your awareness has expanded to include your head, your torso, and each separate limb, with no effort, so the mind dance goes like this:

1) Imagine a spot exactly in the middle of the crown of your head

then

2) Imagine a spot at the tip of your tail bone
and enjoy the distance inside you between the two spots, as well as knowing where those spots are in space, and let them be springy and mobile in relationship to each other;

then, always in relation to the first two points,

3) Imagine a spot right in the middle of the top of your left and right tibia, or lower leg bone.
It’s fun to experience the play between one knee point and the other as you move.

Then, in relation to these first 4 points, add in your last two elbow points, completing the circle of kinesthetic awareness of self:

4) Imagine a spot right in the middle of the elbow end of your left and right ulna, or lower arm bone.

It’s fun to experience the play between one elbow point and the other as you move.

Next, we will play with the difference between combining this mind-dance with unstructured, improvised movement; and after that, we will combine it with a specific movement form.

Thanks for all your comments and feedback! I hope this helps you enjoy your moving all throughout your day, no matter where you are.

June 7th, 2017 • No Comments