I recently reconnected with a colleague — Carolyn Johnston. This past year, if you have been active with us, you have been hearing more about her and some of you have experienced her teaching. Needless to say, I am a fan of Carolyn and her work. She teaches the Alexander Technique, a method that teaches you how to increase the awareness of your whole self (body, mind, and spirit.) It heightens one’s ability to kinesthetically FEEL your habitual patterns that get in the way of your freedom of movement and thinking. In essence, we learn about the ways we interfere with our natural design and true abilities. Once you figure out how you are interfering, you can then learn other options/choices that can allow your natural abilities to emerge. (Our clients who have added the Alexander Technique approach to their training, have been receiving fabulous benefits.)
This way of working is where teaching movement and bodywork gets so interesting. For clients who have spent years experiencing the discomfort and/or pain of not moving well, there is a thrill of discovery of options that were previously unknown. The work we teach provides solid, accurate information about how we are created to move. We encourage cultivating a practice and doing the work that creates ownership of the skills and the art of living in a constructive manner which we are presenting at the studio.
When I talked with Carolyn – post 3 months of quarantine and teaching online, it was the end of my first day of in-person sessions. I was struck by the magic of the day. The work was right in front of me; all I needed to do was gently direct it. Not erring by overteaching or
under teaching, but by being fully present to be on point. Each client holds the key to their own health and well being. It’s my job to help them know how to use the key to open the door to their “constructive conscious control” (F.M. Alexander)
Carolyn told me about her backyard adventures during the quarantine and how she was living in this experience. She said “You know, I have been rediscovering that it comes down to learning how to inhibit or avoid interference. That simply, we are created and designed to
move with supported freedom and ease, but all too often we start to psycho/physically react in a habitually destructive way to our experiences, instead of choosing a more constructive response in each moment.” She also mentioned enjoying studying online, during this time, with another Alexander teacher, Ted Dimon. You can view him here. I thought Carolyn’s statement was profound and it speaks volumes to me in my health practices and as I work with my clients. Each client has their patterns and ways that they
interfere with the primary control (head/neck connection and freedom, width, and length of the torso, including the pelvis and decompression of the spine.) You are as young as your spine – the home and protector of your central nervous system! It is my job to use the Methods that
enable my clients to learn how to apply a solution that restores and generates ongoing cooperation with the “Primary Control” for the well being of each individual.
Carolyn has shared her thoughts on Interference that I think you will find valuable.
What is it really?
It is what we do to ourselves, (how we misuse ourselves,) that interrupts our natural design of freedom in movement and being.
Why does interference happen?
There are many reasons why we develop patterns of unbalanced tension that interfere with our natural well-designed way of moving freely. We are designed to experience support without holding and ease without collapsing, in any activity of life.
List of reasons:
- Subconscious and conscious imitation of parents, relatives, teachers, and friends
- Emotional and physical abuse
- Loss of loved ones because of disagreements, or illness and injuries that leave them
handicapped, or via death our own illness, injuries, and operations
- Loss or change of job, home, school, income
- lack of education in knowing how we are designed to constructively function in all aspects of
ourselves, (physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually)
- Lack of education in knowing how to consciously pay attention to ourselves kinesthetically in
every waking moment. This education, if applied, gives us chances to observe our responses
to stimuli and creates opportunities for us to choose to inhibit our destructive habits, replacing them with a constructive way of being, moving, and truly living.
What are the consequences of not addressing interference?
The consequences of not knowing when interference is happening, will, at the least, leave one
without any conscious choice over their mind and their matter. Other consequences of
unknown or disregarded interference can possibly result in causing accidents, injury, tension,
chronic pain, illness, addictions, strained relationships, uneasiness, depression and at the
very extreme even death can be a result of unaddressed destructive habits.
BACK TO LESLEY…..
What can you do about it?
You can learn what to do and what not to do. Engage your intellect. Seek teachers who help
you experience and embody accurate information. Apply and practice the profound principles of the mind/body methods presented.
The methods we use for exercise teach agility, centering and strength. They communicate the answer to the question, “How can I move well?”.I find the Alexander lessons fascinating and wholly supportive because they enliven the sensation of yourself kinesthetically, tuning that sense of FEELING to become more accurate. We go through our days and lives by acting and reacting instead of awakening all 6 of our senses. (Yes, I said 6! – ask your movement teacher about the 6th sense.)
I love to find activities that awaken my other senses too- because they help me feel more alive, more vital. For example: walking on gravel, playing with sand or clay, listening to music, looking at photographs and nature, and feeling a breeze. We are meant to live our life fully alive and awake! When your senses light up, there is a sensibility that gets fed back to you and I find that it helps a person make better choices physically and mentally.
Interference can be addressed.
Interference can happen throughout the body, (an incorrect relationship of the head and neck because of tightness in the neck, narrowing and shortening of the back muscles or collapse of the spine and over contraction of muscles in the arms, legs, hands, and feet.) These are all
patterns of misuse that can be inhibited and constructively altered. The quarantine this year has brought us back to our patterns of interference. If we don’t know how to unwind that pattern- then we need support in doing so. Having a session with a knowledgeable teacher
can help you learn or remind you of the ways we are designed to move with freedom and agility. With reliable knowledge and compassionate practice, we can learn how to unwind our own patterns of interference. Not to make it simple, but I love simple. The simple truth and truth is beautiful. There are techniques out there that teach you how to recognize and understand your patterns of interference and acquire the ability to avoid them. Thereby, allowing your natural balance, coordination, flexibility, strength, and support to emerge and improve. We teach them here!
Knowledge is power — but you can have all the knowledge in the world and still not act or live by it. I believe in knowledge for application and practice. I believe in the daily act of practicing what we learn- putting solutions in place, once we identify the real problem. Learning what
is your true authentic self- your nature- and preferring to live from that state of being. Uncover yourself again- your tastes, preferences, and choices. Adventure into the unknown and discover how to understand yourself and thereby come to be understanding of others.
Happy practicing everyone!