The Alexander Technique and eyes (2)
The eyes still have it
I have been reminded that what one sees is in the eye of the beholder, including beauty. I gave that some thought and realised how one sees is also the same. Do you notice how you look at things. Do you notice some of the ways that happens? I’ve spotted myself looking for safety, curiosity, pattern recognition, body language. Looking close up with mouse eyes, looking at the big picture with eagle eyes. What do you notice about the way you look. Does it make a difference? How does it affect your body and what you notice as you stay present?
This week I have been marvelling at how thinking about my eyes leading movement has an effect on my neck movement. It started off by doing an exploration described in Elizabeth Langford’s book Mind and Muscle, an owner’s handbook. I am grateful for her explorations of the eyes and have developed another version on similar lines. In the book, one exploration is done on all 4’s and the other is done with walking and changing direction. Both are fun to do. It’s adaptable to all sorts of activities and I have been doing my version in sitting and standing.
For those of you with neck problems might I suggest you do the exploration when you are with your Alexander Technique teacher? Either way, go as far as is comfortable and as few repetitions as is comfortable. You can chose to do only part of the exploration too, instead of all of it at once.
Here it is:
Decide to take a few moments to stop whatever you are doing and consciously become aware of present moment sights, sounds, smells and sensations. Notice what effect that has on your whole system. For me, muscular tension begins to reduce, I feel calmer, and often my breathing changes.
Then decide to look to the right and change your mind and let go of any effort that thought sparked. The neck muscles are very tied into your eyes and you may well have noticed something happened.
Then looking and leading with your left eye, turn your head round to the right. You can close your right eye as you do this if you wish.
Stop, let go of any effort.
Repeat the activity turning to the left, with your right eye leading, and your left eye closed if you wish but do it gently. Invite your face to stay soft if you do close your eye.
Stop, let go of any effort.
Perhaps repeat the furthest eye, from the direction you are going, leading a few times, with pauses, and observe the effect on your neck.
Then start from the beginning and turn your head, this time looking and leading with the eye that is closest to the direction you are going. Right eye leads to right, left eye leads to left. It might feel like a shorter distance. Include the stops.
Eventually try it with both eyes open, but with either nearest or furthest eye leading. Then without thinking of a dominant eye as you turn right and left.
For those of you who have had Alexander Technique lessons start the experiment with thinking about a free neck and a noddable head.
What did you notice about your neck?
Does your neck seem to move smoother with any of the versions of eye/s leading?
Is it the same or different on each side?
Does it change how far you can turn or the speed of the movement?
For me the whole process helped my neck to move with no effort, very non doing.
Have an explore! Let me know what you discover?
Jane Clappison MSTAT