Post by Category : Anatom-ease

The Daily Ease

I gave my blog the title The Daily Ease as a reminder to make time for a daily ease.

 

What does a daily ease mean to you?

 

  • lying down in consecutive rest aka semi supine
  • going for a walk
  • turning your phone off for a time
  • stopping to look, listen and be the appreciative life
  • consciously doing a big sighing out breath and letting go
  • letting go and letting god and reminding yourself to trust
  • smiling
  • drinking a glass of water
  • a yawn and a stretch
  • something else? many ease ideas available …

 

There is something very powerful about making a conscious choice to prioritise a daily ease for yourself. A mini mini mini break! A moment or minutes to stop and be the ease. It is really as easy as letting your neck be free …

 

This week seems particularly poignant for me to let go and let god, to, as Einstein said, decide that it is a friendly Universe. Decide that things are happening for me and not against me.

 

So I chose all of the above as my daily ease today but in particular to TRUST the process. Anything for an easier life!

 

Ahhhhhh ………. Ease!

 

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

 

My downloadable lessons –

Body Magic

Breathe

Walking with Your Horse

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share Button

Stuff and Nonsense!

I am sorting out my wardrobe and discovering in the process that my favourite childhood book has morphed into ‘The Try On, The Bitch and The Wardrobe!’

 

My closet is bursting at the seams with fantasy versions of an alternative reality –  a life that is ‘absolutely fabulous darling!’

In truth, I live in paint splattered jeans in the muddy countryside. It also appears most of my clothes have ganged up against me and shrunk. It really is a magic wardrobe!

 

Somehow a clothes purge seems symbolic. A letting go of versions of myself that are outworn, outdated or frankly nowadays delusional!

A kind of shedding of old skins – letting go of the metaphorical onion layers to find transformation.

 

The so called middle age spread has spread all over the house. I begin to understand what the phrase means. Not so much body fat from stuffing your face but a general boundary spilling over abundance stuffing of everything that slows down your energy.

 

I have been decluttering all summer. It has been a slow stuff shuffle, rather than a whirling, twirling, passionate tango.

 

Every now and then a treasure emerges –  a new idea for how to use things, a bit of space made. Happy moments. Little bits of energy release into a punk pogo round the room. An 80’s music radio station has played in the background all summer. Gold!

 

Lots of lying down in-between too. Letting go of stuff is very exhausting!

 

Now beautiful dresses are being banished to the local Breast Cancer charity shop to look wonderful on someone else. It is as though these tiny tight fragile ‘tutus’ of design gorgeousness are mocking entities in the wardrobe tormenting the more fulsome fifties me! Begone, reminders of another era, this is not my life anymore. Stop poking me!

 

They say ’nature abhors a vacuum’. I am trusting the air developing in my cupboard is inviting new possibilities for adventures and freedom. My magic wardrobe, I tell myself, is inviting a magnetic creative force field of possibility and well being –  new doors to walk through will miraculously appear, magic kingdoms revealed to explore. New outfits for new fit outings.

 

As letting go of unnecessary tension in the body takes a bit of conscious awareness and courage, so does letting go of the tight, out-moded, worn out – the clothes and stuff we are holding onto that stops us being the best person we could possibly be right now. Material on the outside matters somehow to the heart of the matter on the inside.

 

Material girl

Slowly she shuffles stuff

Stuff stuff stuff …

‘Stuff and nonsense’ my granny would have said!

Letting Go by Kirsten Harris

 

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

If You Want to Set a Goal Don’t Tell The Devil!

New Years Day, Tinto Hill, South Lanarkshire, Scotland

 

I was listening to the philosopher Alan Watts (1915 – 1973) on You Tube and he came out with a fantastic line that resonated for the new year – ‘If you want to set a goal don’t tell the devil!’ In other words don’t let anyone know what that big goal is, let alone the devil in you!

 

If you make a big goal and announce it to your self you are very less likely to achieve it. The wee devil sitting on your shoulder will listen and do all it can to trip you up. I know I have heard myself declare a goal and even at the time there’s a voice inside going ‘really!?’

 

So, you have to trick that devilish side of your own entirely normal human nature and make any goals appear small and stupidly simple. Not really goals at all!  For example if fitness is your goal don’t say ‘I am going to get really fit this year’, simply go for a walk today, do a few stretches right now. If not drinking is your new years resolution – just don’t drink today, don’t declare you’re not drinking ever again, or having a dry January, you probably won’t achieve it. If you want to be more creative, do it now. A drawing starts with one line. So simple. A blog with the first sentence. Don’t set yourself the goal of creating a masterpiece, how scary.

 

You get the idea? Make change one small step at a time or the devil will have fun proving you wrong and disrupting your big plan. It makes sense to me.

 

When I first started teaching a very wise friend said to me – ‘Don’t be disheartened if folk sign up to your evening classes and only a few stalwarts finish the course. Don’t take it personally or think it reflects on your teaching. Their higher self signs up for the class thinking self improvement is a wonderful idea, the lower self will look out of the window after a couple of weeks and think ‘it is too dark tonight, too chilly out there, there is a something good on the telly, missing one class won’t matter!’

If the lower self wins once, the game is on the way to being lost, the devil has hung you on his noose and it will just get tighter. Perhaps that’s the reason there are so many millions of pounds wasted in unused gym memberships, or drawers full of unused art materials. The world is full of unacted upon good intention.

 

(On the subject of gyms, personally I think they are a bit immoral: grown adults running on treadmills when there are so many folk needing help in the world and surely at the very least those treadmills and machines could produce electricity to power the gyms! Don’t shoot me gym lovers, perhaps it’s my wee devil just having a rant!)

 

So, my new years resolution is to make changes one teeny tiny step at a time, and from an Alexander Technique point of view that’s one thought at a time. I am keeping my goals easy – ‘I let my neck be free!’ The devil ain’t catching me out!

 

Share Button

Tongues!

Tongue Tied
by Kirsten Harris

 

Here’s a funny little question
That left unchecked will cause congestion
Let me ask you, ‘Where’s your tongue?’
Clamped to mouth’s roof you’ll be high strung!

 

It’s best to let your tongue go south
Resting in your lower mouth!
If yours is held and pressed up tight
You will never feel quite right!

 

Tongue Up’s part of the startle pattern
Best let it loose in the oral cavern
If it’s up, you’re stuck in fear
Let it rest! I hope that’s clear?

 

Up tongue’s reacting from a fright
Neck, shoulders, back become too tight
Horrid habit! Be aware
Down with tongues to clear the air

 

The tongue up habit clamps your jaw
At night your teeth you may well gnaw!
Your neck will tighten, your face will fix
This grimace habit is best to nix

 

Your shoulders seize, that clamps your lungs
All from an up held uptight tongue!
Tongue tied to the roof right now dispense
Immediately you’ll feel less tense

 

Just rest it in a ‘low jaw’ place
Think a smile and feel the space
Your tongue will widen when you smile
Your face will soften in a while

 

Breathing opens, energy increases
What do you notice when your tongue releases?
It may at first feel big, weird and wet …
Have you got the message yet?

 

The world will feel a better place
When tongue’s at rest in smiling face
Ask your friends ‘where is your tongue’
To change the habit is good fun

 

EPSON MFP image

Growl now if you’re a stress puppy?
I bet you’re habit is tongue ‘uppy!’
Family rows, disputes and fights?
Perhaps the family tongues not right

 

You’ll see it when friends thinking’s grim
Tongue up, jaw locked, tension within
‘Psychic glimpse’ of things not right?
Friends minds you’ll ‘read’ with this stress insight

 

The good news: things will change right now
With this wee gem of tongue know how
So down with tongues! You’ve heard me right
The tongue up habit’s just uptight!

 

 

Facebook – The Daily Ease Alexander Technique
www.kirstenharris.co.uk
www.kirstenharrisart.com
Don’t forget to subscribe at the top of the page so you don’t miss out on more fun posts from The Daily Ease!

Share Button

Game of Bones 2 – The Board Game

Game of Bones 2 – The Board Game

 

 

IMG_2998

 

 

Here are some insights about the spine, in a fun discussion with high school children (12 – 14 years) as to what an Alexander Technique board game, might look like!

 

Me – Why is Alexander Technique a game of bones?

After a game of moans about the pun, this is what they came up with –

 

‘Because you can’t play a game without instructions’

‘You need to know about your bones’

 

We had a plastic spine and a single vertebrae in front of us as inspiration and a talking point

 

The children continued to describe the two clearly different looking sides of the vertebrae – (see earlier blog Game of Bones)

 

‘calm and complex’

‘bubbly and grumpy’

‘soft and weird’

‘simple and complex’

‘solid and all over the place’

‘heart like and evil mouse’

 

Weight Bearing

 

Game of Bones – ideas for an Alexander Technique board game

 

‘Can be played by Age 8 – 88 years’

 

‘The game has to start at the atlanto occipital joint’

 

‘One of the Rules to play is you have to think Forward and Up, if you slump there are penalties’

 

‘When you throw the dice you have to be careful not to land on the nerve bearing side of the spine’ (She actually said ‘the evil mouse side of spine’)

 

‘There are more boring rules you have to follow down the complex side of the spine if you stay in the calm side you can do what you like’

 

‘You get some helpful cards’

 

‘Whispered Ah’s – They are get out of jail free cards’

 

‘You get ‘Let your neck be free cards’ if you fall into any stress’

‘You get x amount of Let your neck be free cards to escape stress’

 

‘Free parking is semi supine’

 

‘You get extra points or free neck cards if you land at the atlanto-occipital joint’

 

‘You have to keep moving’

 

‘Aim to get all the way down the spine without landing on the nerve bearing side of spine’

 

‘Penalty for landing – you get tasered by your nervous system!’

 

‘Yeah, you could have a taser and actually taser people to put them off slumping for life! Well maybe not miss, but you know what I mean, back pain is really painful my dad has had a slipped disc.’

 

‘Penalties are things like pain, slipped discs, life long problems! ‘

 

‘If you fall into stress side of spine, you go to jail!’

 

‘You have power cards, you have to be careful not to give them away when you are stressed’

 

‘Each vertebra is asking a question’

 

‘You are exploring the bones as you play’

 

‘The questions on the calm side are easy but really difficult on the complex side’

 

You have to be careful not to get stressed if you get a difficult question.’

 

‘You can use a whispered ah card or let your neck be free card to pass on a difficult question’

 

‘Some of the questions you have to do nothing. The questioner is trying to trick you. Really, doing nothing is actually very hard’

 

‘If you get too many pain cards and you are OUT!’

 

‘Slumping the game gets harder!’

 

‘The Game of Bones is not so much a game – more of an experience’

 

‘Miss, you could make your fortune with this game! Can we have a cut?’

 

This was short but fun discussion.

I felt that the children’s ideas not only revealed that they understood much about AT but were also able to be creative with what they know and find the bones of an imaginative board game.

 

I hope that by engaging the imagination in fun and memorable ways that AT remains a useful life skill for them through school and into adulthood.

 

 

 

Share Button

Bone Up!

NOV DOC008(10)

 

Bone Up!

by

Kirsten Harris

 

‘Bare bones of matter, skeleton insight –

Spaced joints, mobile, long, supporting, freely upright!

Strong ‘Architect’ designed skeleton, not a bony wrecked fright

Haunted by creaking by day and by night!

 

One hundred years… I will regenerate ten skeleton bloody and white

Walking with your skeleton keeps bones strong, alright!’

 

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

 

‘Bone up on your anatomy’,  the little mouse advises….

He is having a light bulb moment…

It is a good idea to know your bones!

He is studying Alexander Technique!

 

The skeleton, universal man, is influenced by space, up flow, earth, gravity, time…

 

The human lies in bed, haunted by ghosts…awake… the past intrudes… worries… fears….aching bones…. she is not comfortable in her bed.

She should be warm and cosy but she is scrunched up….no ease here!

 

Under the bed a little mouse lies in semi supine…

He is saying – don’t lie there in pain missus –  lie in constructive rest, let go…

Visualise your skeleton…

Let it space out…

As you space out…

 

The dog is blissed out on his back. Happy dog! Body Aware pup.

 

********

Image and words form The Daily Ease 2017 calendar.

To buy a copy of this fun calendar and teaching aid  CLICK HERE

Alexander Technique wisdom for children and adults alike!

 

 

Share Button

Game of Bones

IMG_2997

Game of Bones

by Kirsten Harris

 

On my way to teach Alexander Technique to high school children this week I popped into an antique and curiosity shop where I happened upon one lone vertebra.

Lumbar 4 to be precise.

I asked to buy it and the shop keeper kindly gave it to me, bemused by my enthusiasm.

The single model vertebra became the talking point for class and wow, did the students amaze me with their observations and insights.

 

Here are some notes taken from the children’s thoughts.  They started with describing it and went on to see the bone as a metaphor for the human condition – choices in life – a game of bones.

 

To quote –

‘It feels like coral, like a structured wildlife habitat…

It looks neat, strong, rounded, shaped… it looks like white chocolate… it looks like a fish… symmetrical, exact… it looks like it should be spongy…’

 

‘It looks like it has many purposes – multi functional…

It looks solid and reliable…

Intricate, spacious, chunky…

It looks like a hand with fingers coming out of it…

It looks doughy, like stretched bread – rising and proven…’

 

‘It looks like a jigsaw…

It looks supportive and the supporter…

If we didn’t have vertebrae we’d look like jelly fish…

Many together create strength…

They depend on one another…

It looks like it is reliant on other pieces to complete its purpose…

It’s a bit like people, it doesn’t look like it work very well on it’s own!

It looks like it has been shaped by life…’

 

‘It seems unimportant in itself, out of context…

It looks useless unless you put it into the bigger picture..

One vertebra missing is like taking middle C out of the piano… …You don’t know it’s missing until you go to play.’

 

‘It looks contradictory!’

‘What do you mean by contradictory?’ I asked

 

‘It has space and is dense..

hardy and flexible…

solid and complex…

chunky and delicate…

calm and tempestuous…’

 

‘What do you mean by calm and tempestuous?’

 

‘Well the chunky bit looks calm…

It looks very encompassing and focussed in its role…’

 

‘This vertebra is a bit like me…’

 

‘If I use the chunky bit and let it support me I feel calm….

Some people lean more towards the calm or the tempestuous…

It is like there is an epidemic of slump and people are leaning into the complicated side of the vertebra and becoming complicated and confusing….’

 

‘The complicated side of the vertebra looks like an explosion, but the calm bit looks like a platform. It looks reassuring.

It looks like a bean or a stage…shaped and calm…’

 

‘If you lean into the complicated side it slumps your nerves, I suppose, and you become more stupid…’

 

‘Can we lie in semi supine now miss?’

 

I learned a lot from the children and really love the idea of the spine being calm or tempestuous. So, to use the wisdom of children, which way are you leaning your vertebrae?

 

To learn more about the benefits of semi supine CLICK HERE TO LINK TO MY MEDIA DOWNLOAD

BODY MAGIC.

 

Weight Bearing

 

Share Button

Forward and Up – Of mice and men…

FEB DOC011(6)

 

 

When you speak of love or something’s to be said

Brainbox, don’t pull back your wonderful but mighty heavy head

Balance your skull lightly, it’s a Universal Law

Listen well! Do less, using only lips and tongue and jaw!

 

***********

Commentary on the drawing –

 

Little mice point to the place of balance at the base of the skull….

They ask us to listen, listen for our own balance…

The co-ordinating principle of lightness is light….

We are asked to speak up, to speak our truth….

Is it true if we are pulling our heads back?

Does the balance of the head make our truth clearer?

Can we balance our head and speak our truth?

Can we speak clearly, precisely?

Can our voice be heard?

Listen to our own thinking… what needs to be said?

To be or not to be…

Doing less can we speak our truth without interference?

The primary balance of the skull on the spine, a universal law, true for mice and men…

The mice give us clear directions, both anatomically and spatially….forward…up…balance….

Use your brain….brain box!

The little mice are falling in love with balance…..

I love you…..

Balancing love for self and another being….

Speak of love says the little golden mouse.. speak up.. speak the truth…

Are you a man or a mouse? Squeak up!

The house mouse swoons, it’s head in the clouds….

Bathed and balanced in the golden light of love…

High on love….

Love and balance are in the space between ….

 

*******

 

Words and illustration from The Daily Ease 2017 Calendar

available HERE AND NOW!

CLICK TO BUY…  Would yo like an Alexander Technique calendar and some daily ease for 2017?

 

 

Share Button

I Feel Like I am Floating

MAY DOC002(23)

 

Taking the time

To lie in semi supine

Is good for my spine

And helps me feel fine

 

17 minutes of time

On the floor is sublime

Let go to align

My bodies design

 

Think into my outline

Contemplate widening from my centreline

Radiating inner sunshine

To find balance’s forward and upward refine

 

Intelligent as Einstein

As refreshing as wine

Rejuvenating the discs of my spine

And it doesn’t cost me a dime

 

Alexander Technique semi supine

Easy DIY self care guideline

Release holding my lifeline

It’s quite simply divine!

 

The drawing is from the  2017 Daily Ease Calendar Available to pre-order now.

A fun reminder to bring Alexander Technique into your daily life every day.

http://www.kirstenharris.co.uk/calendar.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share Button

The Girl with Two Necks

I have two necks. No really I have, and so have you!

No need to pat your under-chin and worry if you’re developing a wattle. I’m not being insulting! Me? Well maybe I do have little extra chin or two, but I really do have two necks!

 

One of my necks has seven bones. This neck is sometimes described as swan-like or Shrek-like depending on how it’s used and can be a pain in the neck or free and graceful. Are you rubber necking now to find out where your second neck is…

Your second neck has five bones, lumbar vertebrae. This neck is at your waist. Like the one above it it’s very mobile when free but can be tight, stiff and restricted and hurt a lot when not.

 

I want to keep my first neck free as it holds my oh so brainy brain up.

I want to keep my second neck free as it supports the balance of my heart up in space.

I want a heart and brain that are not constricted. Makes sense to me. I might be a little more successful at everything that way. Life is tough enough without having two bottle necks to contend with.

 

So today, how about spending a little time thinking of being a girl or boy with two necks and explore the enormous range of mobility and movement sensation they both give you. Two connected necks talking to each other in your thoughts.

 

I wrote the first half of this blog before getting on a flight. Every time I reminded myself that I have two necks whilst standing in the many airport queues or sitting in my not so easy jet seat I felt comfortable again.

 

So with a little daily ease and a wonderful anatomy of abundance – welcome to the world of having two necks. Mythical!

 

 

Share Button

Hang out in your shoulders!

Shoulder blades hang down your back and move freely over the rib cage.

Don’t hang on, shouldering problems, hang out!

Can you mentally hang out  in your shoulder blades today?

Share Button

Smiling Nose

Today’s little easy thought is

‘Smile with the tip of your nose’ ……and see what happens.

Who knows what you will experience…..

Enjoy!

 

 

Share Button

Smile with the back of your neck

Smile with the back of your neck!

What the heck!

 

t’s just a thought…..It transformed me…

and it feels good!

Share Button

Falling asleep

Easing out of the day into sleep

Falling symmetrically into the mattress

bone by bone

brain scanning the body

breathing out through each limb

Falling with symmetry into the mystery.

Share Button

Soft Eyes Smiling Eyes

Looking at the world today with soft eyes!

I call it ‘Ahhhhhh kittens!’ eyes.

The feeling of softness in the eyes when you look at something that wonderful.

Eye See!

My ‘I’ today is soft smiling eyes.

Get the idea?

Have fun looking..

Share Button