As I was going about my morning the other day…feeding Doucette the cat, making my coffee, etcetera…I realized that I felt more lengthening and widening of my back going on. I felt more “up” than my norm, more elastic in my thoracic spine, and very calm. Clearly, I had achieved a step up in my sensory awareness. Clearly, this is a cumulative process, and I am wondering if my latest work in my Alexander Technique teacher training has given me a gentle little push in this direction.
I have been putting hands on others, first following them, now guiding them back and forth in a chair. It is all about my own use of self. I used to laugh with my trainer while telling him that he was hard to move. He said to me that he refuses to move if I am not set up and/or “I don’t have him”– in other words, if I am using my hands with poor use of self…if I am pulling him down because I am not lengthening and widening, if I am gripping with the flexor muscles in my arms, if I am not connecting my hands to my feet… And then all of a sudden he became easy to move because I was moving him with better use of myself. I was going up! I was widening! I was more successful at not gripping in my arms… I thought he was moving himself forward and back in the chair and jiving me but he wasn’t. He told me that I found it easy to move him because of my better use of myself.
Here is a great analogy, from Walter Carrington, as he discusses the issue of how a teacher’s hands should be. Teachers have to be “…going up themselves–they’ve got to have the freedom, co-ordination and flow of energy that is necessary to lengthen in stature. I’ve often said to students that it’s a similar situation to when you’re on an escalator on the underground. You put your hand on the handrail and you know immediately whether the escalator is traveling at the same speed as the handrail. Similarly, the more the teacher is reliably going up, the more readily they can feel what’s going on in the pupil. Then if you discern some fixity or rigidity in the pupil–there’s stiffness somewhere–you’re going to see whether with your hands you can give a stimulus to release it.” Personally Speaking, p. 114.
Later this evening, while in class, I must remember this analogy! Too bad I won’t be using a subway escalator on the way over to Alexander Technique teacher training today!
Here is what happened when I was trying to take a photo of my hands for this post. Doucette got into the act!