Post by Category : Breathing

Enjoy A Breather

I am interested in how language changes things. I have been thinking about this in relationship to resistance and time. I noticed recently a feeling of resistance to appointments. Instead of feeling flaky and dragging my heels, I have been wondering about the resistance and have come up with an insight that feels helpful.

 

Alexander Technique is very much a training in self awareness and ease in present time. An appointment is a commitment to the future. I noticed that having things booked in feels like I am being pulled out of my ease and creativity. Knowing I have to do something specific later starts to impinge on the present –  like a big rock is blocking the flow. Yet as soon as I arrive at the appointment I am in the flow again and enjoy whatever I am doing. Weird!

 

I started to talk about this with students and friends and have discovered that many other people feel this way too, also with an accompanied feeling of guilt. What a relief that I am not alone!

 

Somehow locking down our relationship with time is stressful for many of us. I muse that in the agricultural age our clock was daylight and the seasons, hunger and health, and not specific hours and minutes.

 

I have also been thinking about time in terms of ‘time off’ and ‘taking a break’ thinking my resistance was because I needed a break. Yet thoughts of time off and taking a break don’t feel genuine. The expression ‘I need a break’ suggests breaking off for a bit from what we are doing in order to return to exactly what we were doing before. Secondly ‘a break’ also feels negative, a splitting and an implied criticism of the present to be in the future.

 

Noticing this I have been experimenting with the word breather –  ‘I’m enjoying a breather’ or ‘I’m allowing time for a breather’ or ‘I’m having a breather.’  Here now is an instant change into ease in the present moment. Taking a break and taking a breather are two common expressions which look like they mean the same thing, but have, for me at least, a very different effect.

 

Having a breather is a shift of consciousness right now. A breather is a renewal. A letting go. An easing open. There is a Buddhist saying ‘breathing is the hinge on which the door of life swings.’

 

A breather is a thought here and now. A thought that I think positively effects outcomes in the future yet keeps us tuned to the present moment.  A breather might be simply noticing light or sound, pausing to be present, aware that you are being breathed right now. You don’t have to do your every breath, you don’t have to be in control!

 

A breather might turn into an Alexander Technique ‘Whispered Ah’ or lying for 20 minutes in semi supine.

 

A  breather might be pausing a thinking habit that is stressful or giving yourself permission to not book ahead into busyness.

 

For me a breather is the latter, not booking too many dates in a habitual way so that I can enjoy some space and trust and deepen into my creative flow which I am loving.

 

A breather is giving time to expand into the things you really want to do, trusting it is ok not to plan stuff motivated by fear, lack, habit, should’s, ought’s, avoidance of your hearts desire or people pleasing! I’m allowing myself to enjoy a breather from that and to see what happens.

As FM Alexander said ‘If we stop doing the wrong thing, the right thing can do itself.’

 

Taking a breather isn’t selfish! Taking a breather is necessary, life affirming, passion renewing, healthy and wise! I’m loving the thought of a enjoying a breather leading the way to open the magical door of possibility … A breather is not so much a break more an energising of flow and even better resistance frees up!

 

Forwards and up!

Love Kirsten x

 

The photo was taken near me at the Falls of Clyde in Scotland. It is a huge old stone wall in the woods with two door spaces in it. The remains of a building, an Orangery, I think! It’s a breathtaking place!

 

Resources –

Breathe Media download

Body Magic download

 

www.kirstenharris.co.uk – Alexander Technique

www.kirstenharrisart.co.uk – Art

 

 

 

 

 

Share Button

To Earth We Return

To Earth We Return by Kirsten Harris

 

It takes a long time for a tree to grow, but only a short time to chop one down!

A friend from India told me that in her culture when a tree is chopped down 6 more are planted. How very wise.

 

  • A good thought is like a seed planted… ‘I let my neck be free’
  • Trust is the earth in which it grows… ‘So my head can release in a forwards & upwards direction’
  • Time works it’s magic … ‘In such a way as my back lengthens and widens’
  • We are the guardians … ‘Allowing widening across my upper arms, knees forwards and away…’

 

Feet on the ground, head in the air, heart open

 

A local farmer said to me the other day –

‘To farm well we must treat the land as though it is ours forever, even though I will only be custodian to it for a short time, I must act now for the future and look after this land.’

 

Last summer I painted huge canvases about dream seeding, painting outside in my garden, watching planes fly overhead wondering ‘Where are you going, why are you going? How could leave such beauty in search for something else?’

 

We seem to be a culture obsessed with time, time is money, hurry up, rush rush, no time right now, time for a holiday, bucket list, gotta go, what’s the time? I’m late!

 

I worry about the future of our planet when everyone is in such a hurry, consuming at high speed. How much plastic gets used on just one flight, let alone fuel? Our ancestors did not leave a horrible messy footprint on the planet, this is our recent legacy.

 

I resolved last summer to keep upping my game to the best of my ability to plant trees. Habitats for creatures, lungs for all, to earth we return …

 

So I continue to make art to plant woodlands, turning pieces of paper back into trees. That is a kind of alchemy, a desire to create magic, one artists attempt to give back to the earth.

 

www.kirstenharrisart.co.uk – Prints available

www.kirstenharris.co.uk – Alexander Technique

Body Magic – download

Breathe – download

Walking With Your Horse – download

 

Link to Messages from Trees blog here

 

The Guardians by Kirsten Harris

 

Share Button

Messages from Trees

In Nature We find Ourselves, drawing by Kirsten Harris

 

Messages from Trees

  • Breathe deeply of me I am the lungs of the world, my health and yours are one
  • Let your spine flow upwards and your limbs flow freely outwards in the sky
  • Life will shape you and sculpt you as you grow, it’s 100 percent OK to be you
  • Allow yourself to be ‘rooted’ in the earth
  • Feel your connection to all things, all life is one
  • Observe in all directions
  • The more you observe the more you will see
  • The light and seasons are always changing and you with it, you too are seasons of light
  • Though you were once but a seed you are a mighty presence and still growing
  • Be shelter and safety, warmth and home for others
  • You too are a guardian of the planet
  • Be kind, and let your kindness spread like a canopy
  • Sometimes the winds of life will be strong, you can endure
  • Transformation is inevitable
  • Find truth in being present to where you are
  • Lie on your back under my canopy and let your imagination fly
  • Trees are Life

 

I am on a tree planting mission!

 

*******************

Hand signed and titled black and white prints are available of my artwork for trees.

I am offering free postage worldwide if you purchase more than one print. There are many more on my website. All the prints are black and white despite my dodgy photography! : )

 

www.kirstenharrisart.co.uk – Art

www.kirstenharris.co.uk – Alexander Technique

FB – Kirsten Harris Art

FB – The Daily Ease Alexander Technique

 

The Whisper of Trees by Kirsten Harris

Horse Landscape by Kirsten Harris

The Old Horse Chestnut Tree by Kirsten Harris

Horses and the Tree of Life by Kirsten Harris

My Alexander Technique inspired colouring book  with words

A Walk in the Wood LINK HERE

 

LINK HERE

Each page is accompanied by hopefully inspiring Alexander Technique text

 

Share Button

Rampage of Appreciation – Training to be an Alexander Technique Teacher

RAMPAGE OF APPRECIATION – TRAINING TO BE AN ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE TEACHER

 

At the age of 24 the Alexander Technique changed my life! That first hands-on lesson with it’s gently encouraging profound words from my first teacher, Astrid Cox, are moments I will never forget. Light bulbs switched on in my mind like a Disney cartoon with heavenly choirs of birds and angels rejoicing! It was a visual wonder movie in my mind’s eye and a giant relief to my entire being. I knew in that first lesson that, not only was I going to be OK from the incredibly painful spasms that I was experiencing in my neck, but that I wanted to learn to teach The Alexander Technique. I had found my calling.

 

It took another few years of thinking about and practicing the Alexander Technique and having lessons before I started my training with the late, great Don Burton. It was the most wonderful three years of my life. 1600 hours of experiential bliss! I loved my fellow trainees with all my heart. Our year group was nicknamed the The Fellside Pack of Dogs with our one for all and all for one love for each other, and the teachers were fantastic and inspiring. The three years worth of hands-on work and all that went with it, quite simply transformed everything. Alexander Technique hands-on work is like no other that I have experienced and will always open doors of perception and increase one’s knowledge on many levels.

 

Over the 3 years my artwork blossomed. Some evenings I would stay late at the school, alone in the movement studio, and by morning the whole studio would be filled with a new exhibition of art work. My creativity was releasing along with everything else. That was over twenty years ago. Since then I have worked as an Alexander Technique teacher and artist in equal measures, and for me, one would not have been possible without the other. It has been a lot of fun and moved me forward in ways I could never have imagined.

(Jamie McDowell recently sent me a photo of this art piece that I made at the time. So brilliant that he kept it. Thank you Jamie!)

 

What I love about the Alexander Technique is it opens doors – one gets the chance to work with all sorts of amazing people in all sorts of amazing places. What a joy. What an adventure. But what I most love is that at the heart of the work is a principle, a truth, a paradigm, that is as simple as it is profound, and works. Truly works. The word art is often used with Alexander Technique because one’s understanding and skills deepen and reveal more and more over time. As the saying goes, you get better at getting better. It is why people become passionate about it, or perhaps Alexander Technique opens up peoples passion. When you do start to find the lessons of the Alexander Technique, and that can start to happen in the first lesson, it reveals all. Alexander Technique is, I believe one way to the truth – a practical, loving, principled way, that sits well with all sorts of other disciplines such as music, the equestrian arts and dancing.

 

The reason I am writing all this is that I truly believe that training to be an Alexander Technique teacher with the rigours of a 1600 hour hands-on, in person training, is truly worthwhile. In this age of quick fixes and online courses I want to give a big cheer for a personal training that is life changing, educational, encourages responsibility, deepens ones awareness and self knowledge and has a principle at the heart of it that is both reliable, time tested and endorsed by the British Medical Journal.

 

Committing to an Alexander Technique Teacher training course was both the hardest and best choice I ever made. All other choices have just got easier!

 

So to all the people who I have ever worked with … a massive thank you and a big recommendation to anyone considering committing to a training course – yes, it is a three years of your life, but you will LOVE it.

‘Letting Go’

Cartoon by Kirsten Harris

Share Button

Hard Cheese!

Hard Cheese! by Kirsten Harris

 

Thirty three vertebrae

Support the body through the day

They’re your inner building bricks

Stack them well, let’s not be thick!

 

Disease, perhaps a lack of ease?

A painful back and hips and knees?

Our thirty-three spinal bones

Give support – a snake-like home

 

A slumping spine becomes C-shaped

Oh messed up human, misshaped  ape!

Don’t curl the spine and squash the heart

That’s never clever for a start!

 

Between the vertebrae are discs

Slumping puts these discs at risk

Those squishy sponges separate

The bone from bone – so they don’t grate

 

When you’re young they’re full and squishy

Later on they may get iffy

Worn down, thin and hard like cheese

Think up, spine long, before they freeze

 

Your discs are spongy spacing strips

Between the bones. Don’t slump! They’ll slip!

And then you’ll end up feeling bad

In dreadful pain, just like my dad

 

Ease out enough before you’re forty

Risky discs won’t be so naughty

Lie down and rest on a hard floor

Chill out and let your discs restore

 

Lie down, take time: semi-supine

Expands and balances your spine

Allow each sponge to rehydrate

It’s only seventeen minutes to wait!

 

(The spine is made up of 7 cerivcal, 12 thoracic, 5 lumbar, 5 fused sacral and 3/5 coccygeal vertebrae)

 

kirsten harris semi supine 001

I am interested in presenting the Alexander Technique in ways that children will hopefully enjoy and remember. I don’t claim to be the worlds greatest poet, far from it! However, a rhyme can be a quick and easy way of presenting information to discuss. It always seems to engage the teenagers I work with. They particularly remember the words ‘hard cheese’ when I teach this bit of anatomy.

 

The late Don Burton used the description of hard cheese to describe the change of consistency that occurs in intervertebral discs as we get older. I have stolen his description as a title and idea for this verse. Thank you Don, for your continued inspiration!

 

More stuff from me –
I have recently made an Alexander Technique colouring book CLICK HERE.

 

You don’t need to be into colouring to buy this. It is a teaching resource – an artists perspective on the Alexander Technique.

The colouring in bit just adds another dimension of interactivity and interest.

All profits will be used to plant trees.

 

The Daily Ease – A Walk in the Woods Colouring Story Book

CLICK LINK HERE TO SEE SAMPLE PAGE
Free postage in the UK
Email me for international postage – kirstenfharris@btopenworld.com

 

Body Magic – Link to audio for semi supine to help you take care of yourself.

Breathe link to audio lessons

 

COLOURING BOOK KH-1         BodyMagic_mobile

Spiral_mobile

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share Button

Friesans to be Cheerful!

‘I want to be a lovely cow

Chewing on the cud

Ruminating all that’s wow

Even mucky mud!’

 

‘The Alexander Technique is a way of transforming stress to joy!’ Juliet Binoche

 

‘Moo, moo, moo’ moo the cows..

Freeing their breathing…

Letting go of stress….

MOOOOOOO

 

‘Moo Squeak Up!’ says a little mouse, your voice is important …

‘Think Up’ – says another …

‘Up! Up!’

‘Be up!’

‘Forward and Up!’

‘Spring up!’

The mice share important knowledge… little spiritual warriors… the mice know their mind effects their movement through life…

 

The band of happy mice see lots of reasons to be cheerful….

Their thinking makes them cheerful…

Moo says the cow… Friesians to be cheerful… Moo….

It’s a choice….

Wow Wow Wow!!!

 

A fun page from The Daily Ease 2017 Calendar –

A daft blog with an important message about releasing the out breath to let go of our inner cow…..

And the power of thinking up…

The empowering choices in the moment that the wonderful Alexander Technique give us here and cow!

It’s the power of cow!

 

To buy The Daily Ease 2017 Calendar for your Alexander Technique journey

click here

 

Have an easy day…. I love MOO!

 

12963675_648592518626739_7664321887485285383_n

 

 

 

Share Button