Alexander Technique in East Yorkshire

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There is an interconnection which influences everything.

This is the last in series of interviews I carried out with people who have had Alexander Technique lessons. This interview is with Sandra who has had both individual lessons and been to group sessions.

Here are Sandra’s answers to a simple set of questions I asked her about her experience of having lessons:

 

What drew you to the Alexander Technique?

I was curious about the technique because I did little bits in a Yoga class and a friend found it useful.

 

What impact did you hope it would have/make?

I was a “head person” and thought my body carried my head around I realised it is not like that and I wanted to explore that.

 

Was there anything expected about learning the Alexander Technique? If so, what was it, and what impact did it have?

I knew it would be about sitting and standing & I did learn about things like that.

 

Was there anything unexpected about learning the Alexander Technique? If so, what was it?

I have discovered moving sometimes feels so right. It’s a feeling that “everything slots into place.”

I have been able to explore the whole idea of feeling which is quite distinct. Before feeling was a distraction, but not now.

I have learned how to move with the body.

Before I was doing something “out there” rather than something coming from inside. It is more mindful.


What impact did learning the Alexander Technique have?

At first stop (inhibition) felt negative, like I was being told STOP because I was doing something wrong. I needed to think about it and give it time, but at first I was avoiding it. It took a while to get to think of “stop” as “nice” not negative. Being in the moment is positive.

I discovered by doing stopping, that half the things I was going to do, I didn’t need to do them.

I was rushing, resenting doing things, and fighting myself whereas now, I can stop, take a deep breath, look out of the window, and actually enjoy what I am doing (even pot washing) and I notice things.


Was there anything else that was unexpected about learning the Alexander Technique? If so, what was it?

“All of it” was unexpected. The whole experience.

The feeling of relaxation is amazing.Anxiety drops away.

Stopping gives me time and space to enjoy being not doing. It feels nice, “like a deep breath and a sigh of release”

Of course I have got to remember to do it. Sometimes it goes out the window.

I did resist stop and semi-supine (I occasionally did it in yoga and AT lessons). I do it now whenever I think of it. “Let the neck be free” is really good. I do that in the car, at the shops. I need to remember my head, but when I think “Let the neck be free” then I feel a release, then it happens through my body “all at once.”

I thought the teacher was going to do it all for me, but discovered I had to do something. It’s a continuous process and I am continually learning.

 

What do you know now?

I can let go of things.

I am beginning to be aware of my body.

The anxiety and rushing are changing and I am enjoying the connection with the body. I was already able to move well, so I don’t think it’s as much about the movement, I don’t have anything wrong with me.

I notice my body affects my moods. That my body is tied into moods. That there is an interconnection which influences everything. That interconnection means I notice more things.


Anything else?

The body mapping (living anatomy about where the joints are) influenced my walking and how I move.

I’ve enjoyed the mixture of 1:1 lessons and group lessons.

In the 1:1 lessons I could explore personal/specific things but in a group I could learn from the experiences of others and from observing how other group members move. Plus, there are things that can be explored in a group that can’t be done on a 1:1, like when we explored what we might do habitually in a crowd/ on a crowded train and then explored how to do it when applying the Alexander Technique.

It’s more than mindful, it’s a feeling in the whole of the body. From feeling tension, to no tension, letting go, lighter and moving easier. I may be quicker too. I am more prepared.

 

If you would like to learn the Alexander Technique and find out how it might help for you, please contact me or give me a ring and book a lesson.

Jane Clappison

Alexander Technique Teacher

01759 307282

www.janeclappison.co.uk

 

Are you busy? No, and I don’t want to be. The Alexander Technique and getting jobs done.

I know I am not on my own in often feeling like I need to get a job done as quickly as possible. When I need to rest, I don’t, and I tell myself “I’ve started so I’ll finish”. Even when I’m tired or aching and I know I should stop, I keep going. Often it is so that I get it over with and can do things I’d rather be doing. I’m pressurising myself to go faster, do it quicker, get it finished. I promise myself I will have a break afterwards or do the thing I really want to do later. I do this far less nowadays, but the habit, the possibility, is always there. My clients nod when I talk about it. It has become almost universal. Plus, no one has ever said to me “are you chilling out and relaxing?” No, they say “are you busy?” to which I say (nowadays), “No, and I don’t want to be.” I often get a rather strange look when I say that because it’s going against what is normally acceptable! However, I think we need to do things differently.

This pushing ourselves beyond tired and feeling like it’s important to cram in as much as possible is taking us away from ourselves. It’s become a bit too engrained and we humans are suffering for it. We are losing touch with the present moment, the joy of doing a task mindfully and discovering the ease with which our bodies can do things if we give it the opportunity. There’s no noticeable change in the speed with which the task is completed either, and all things become enjoyable.

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The fighter jet and the Red Kite

Late summer day. Cool breeze. Bluest of blue sky. I’m sat on the garden bench, warmed by the sun, reading a fabulous book: Die Wise by Stephen Jenkinson. The local Air Force are doing practice drills above my head. They always get me excited. The power of those jets, the sound resonating through my whole system. I imagine the burn from the jets, like those I have seen on space ships taking off. I can’t help thinking about how much they are polluting the air, but I am more impressed by their power. They come in pairs, they turn, somewhere over my head and then they disappear back in the direction they came from. All the while I am reading I keep hoping I will see them, but I can’t. Then suddenly, a flash of light under a wing, so far away, but unmistakable, and I’ve found one. I follow the plane. I’m leaning right back over the bench so I can see it. I’m sure my face is horizontal. I’m loving the stretch up the front of my body. The garden birds are going nuts. Flying everywhere in the garden. Then, I see the most magnificent bird. It seems like it is half way between the plane and me. It makes me gasp. It is such a spiritually profound moment. I can’t really put my finger on why. However, I totally forgot about the plane. I just gazed in awe at the ease with which the Red Kite circled above my head. Effortless. In command of all it can see. In command of the environment it is master of and at one with. I don’t think it cares about the fighter planes. I don’t. I watch the bird for as long as it is within eyesight. I feel blessed I witnessed it’s flight.

 

You know the Alexander Technique is so like this. It helps me be that easy Red Kite instead of putting out all the energy of a fighter jet. You might want to have a lesson and try it out for yourself?

 

Jane Clappison

Certified Alexander Technique Teacher

01759 307282

www.janeclappison.co.uk

Hell for leather or all the time in the world? The choice may be yours?

The instructions said the cream would take 30 seconds to absorb. The way I was doing it, you would think I was determined to get that time down. If I had entered a fire lighting competition, I am sure I would have won.

Then I remembered, I had time. I could take all the time I wanted. I had nowhere to be, in any rush. I was probably going to be doing this every day for much if not all of my life. Perhaps there was another way of getting the medication into my system other than creating excess friction between my fingers and thigh?

I stopped what I was doing. I left my foot on the stool. I noticed the foot that I was standing on, was gripping the floor. I let go of that grip. The foot on the stool was poised and I let the weight of my leg release to the chair, my hip area dropped. My arms that had been in “get the cream in quick” mode transformed softly into rest and my shoulders dropped, shoulder blades sliding down my back. My neck released and chin dropped.

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Birthday presents & doing less with the Alexander Technique

Pandemic focus purchasing: Order completed over the phone. Smart walk into town, mask on, quick flash of my card to buy the flowers and a swift hand over of two huge bouquets.

I hadn’t expected them to be so big.

After about 5 minutes of brisk walking I realised I needed to carry these bouquets for at least another 10-15 minutes and I predicted my arms would probably ache. I was tightly gripping them in front of me, elbows at 90 degrees. I had hoped to put them in a large carrier bag I had brought with me. They were far too big to fit into it. I remembered I had studied the Alexander Technique for over 30 years and smiled.

What if these bouquets were actually two huge balloons and they weighed nothing, in fact they were holding my arms up? Immediately I let go of the strangled grip I had on all the flower stems. My hands felt so much better! My wrists and arms released, my neck and jaw released. I looked around me as I walked. I had a spring in my step. I enjoyed the mass of colour in those bouquets in front of me. I revelled in the late autumn air. The walk was a pleasure.

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“Through learning the Alexander Technique I am able to use my body to maximum potential.”

This is the 10th interview in a series of interviews I carried out with people who have had Alexander Technique (AT) lessons.

This interview is with Dorothy, who is in her mid 70’s, retired, lives with a partner and leads a very full and active life. Dorothy has been having face to face Alexander Technique lessons with me for a few years.

Each time Dorothy comes for a lesson she tells me about something new that the Alexander Technique has helped her with. Since doing this interview, one of the things she told me was that she used to dread filling and emptying the washing machine. She told me the problem wasn’t so much getting down to the washer but getting back up. She used to need to pull herself up on the washer. Now, she doesn’t even need to think about it.

AT has influenced Dorothy’s life profoundly. She no longer rushes through life, ticking off everything on her “to do” list, but instead, experiences the richness of being in the present moment. Here’s her thoughts about that:

I would like to know a little bit about what impact having Alexander Technique (AT) lessons has had for you.

What drew you to the Alexander Technique?

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Home cooked food & agenda-less days.

An earthenware vintage bowl

 

 

My place of refuge, for many years, was snuggled up on my grandparent’s  high backed two seater sofa between nanny and either the dog, Tiny (who wasn’t that tiny) or my granddad Joe (when he was home from sea).

The sofa would be pulled in front of the glowing fire on these occasions. We would be waiting for bread dough to do it’s magic. It’s receptacle, the wide mouthed red clay earthenware pot, would be sat on the hearth. The inner yellow glaze hidden by a damp white tea towel. I still have that vintage pot and I have made bread with it many times.

Nanny always gently patted the yeasty white mound, as if that sealed a secret agreement to rise, just before covering it in the towel.  The memory is extremely clear in my mind, as are her gnarled hands which she believed resulted from stretching material over wings of planes during the first world war.

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Reduce eye strain with the Alexander Technique? Jane’s May 2020 Alexander Technique Project

Reduce eye strain:
Jane’s May 2020 AT Project

My May 2020 project  is on the use of screens in relation to how I use my eyes.

Here’s what I have been exploring:

  • intensely looking at the screen,
  • allowing the subject matter to come to me,
  • noticing what’s behind the person or the thing I am looking at and what is behind me. Being aware of the space between my back and the back of what I am looking at,
  • looking at what’s around the screen, what’s behind it, what’s to the side of it. Changing my focus from what is on the screen to what is around it,
  • flipping from one to the other.

The reason I have been doing all of that is to find out what is more comfortable to sustain and what works best for me. I think it is a little bit of a combination of everything excluding intensely staring.

So, you might want to explore these ways of looking (at an ipad, screen, phone etc) with me right now? Join in with me via the youtube video below? (at 1 min 50 secs)

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