I’ve been thinking about the Alexander Technique for a few months, having heard of it from a fellow blogger, Patrick Smith. You can read some of his writing here. Patrick is a guitarist who has utilized Alexander Technique as a musician. My motivation is a little more basic, I think. I’ve noticed that I hold a tremendous amount of tension in my shoulders, neck, jaws, and face. And the AT sounded like something that might help me address that.
The wonder of the interwebs! There are several teachers here in Cincinnati, but I knew this was my lady when I saw her website. Here is Ellen’s website.
I almost missed my lesson. I nearly agreed to do something for someone else instead of going to my lesson. I realized the better choice would be to help the person out after my lesson if possible, but to keep my appointment. This is something I have needed for months, and knew intuitively would be good for me.
One of the things I have discovered in my library adventure with Kepler this summer is that I can be confident driving to all kinds of areas of Cincinnati. So, I confidently navigated the more unfamiliar west side roads and made my way to her amazing home.
If I never went back for another lesson, I could say that I had gotten something priceless from her. Not only is she a wise and caring woman with a wealth of life experience, she knows of what she speaks when it comes to posture and muscles and all those juicy things.
Basically, my AT lesson was another step along a path I have been on for some time. A path of joyful discovery of freedom. At one point in the lesson, Ellen instructed me to tell my brain, “Let my neck be free.” That resonated with me instantly, and has become a phrase I am using often as I become aware of that tension I have carried for so long. I am certain there is much more for me to learn, but that one line has already helped me understand the difference between using my “outer” muscles to hold myself up, and allowing my “core” (I think these are the terms, but don’t hold me to them exactly) muscles to do what they are designed to do, while my outer muscles are relaxed. I was partway there in understanding the need to relax before I got to my lesson, but I got way, way closer to being able to actually allow my body to do what it’s designed to do.
My next lesson is in a couple of weeks, on the first day of school for my kids, actually. So, yeah, Alexander Technique. The interesting thing is that every person I have told about my shoulder/neck/jaw tension has said the exact same thing. “I experience that, too.” Maybe some of them will decide to check out an AT teacher for themselves! I’d love for others to have the joy of feeling this type of relief.