Posts for Tag : alexander technique

Hard Cheese!

kirsten harris semi supine 001

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Mind the Gap!

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Mind the gap!

What does that mean to you?

 

I have been thinking about the gap, that space between one phase and another.

A place to fall or a place to float?

Actors call it ‘resting’ or ‘taking time out.’

From an Alexander Technique perspective that is constructive, but often the space between things, the gap, is an uncomfortable place for folk.

 

‘Mind the gap!’ The announcer says as you board the train about to embark on your journey to your next destination, the next commitment.

‘Mind the gap!’ In other words don’t fall into the space between where you are and where you want to go – stretch your self a little and take a purposeful step forward and up and onto the train, into the flow of your next direction. Be aware there is a space that you can fall into and it can hurt.

 

Mind the gap …

Think about the space between things …

The space between you and another, you and the environment, your thoughts and your movement …

(In horsemanship it is called the float. Floating in water aka Art of Swimming reveals the space in amazing ways too.)

 

There is a big gap above your head, the big up, the up that is up there, the up that takes us up, the space that supports us and eases us … Do you mind that gap?

There is magic there!

 

Folk often fall into the gap when something finishes.

One thing ends another has not started, a gap, OMG what am I going to do next? Scary Mary!

Suddenly there is no distraction, no other to bounce off. What is left is Me!

Oh! Now what?

Oh, I am not happy ..

Oh, I don’t like this …

Oh, this is boring …

Oh, um I have nothing to do ..

I am lonely …

 

The gap is vulnerable and about vulnerability.

I believe consciously allowing the gap transforms vulnerability to strength …

Inner Strength

Psycho-physical strength

It is anatomical

It is Alexander Technique

It is art

It is perhaps The Art!

 

My musician friend and I talked about the gap as the space between the in breath and the out breath

The moment of nothing

The pause

Conscious intention … Breathe …Flow

One creative project finishes another has not started. Mind the gap. A breather. You have given out,  pause,  it will flow in again.

 

My spiritual healer friend talked about the gap as meaning

Remember to Ground And Protect

 

Translated thus – Remember (mind – air) to ground (earth) and protect (fire and water).

Remember earth, air fire and water.

Mind the gap – good plan for planet earth methinks!

Look after you and the earth! It is the only thing to do.

Be in your element in the elements.

 

Do you mind the gap daily – the space between the ground and the top of your head, do you mind where you are in space so you don’t just get pulled down into the gap, the slump?

Do you regularly take moments to just be in the nothing, a dot in the void expanding.

 

As an artist minding the gap is to be aware of the space between me and the canvas ..

Between the intention and the artwork …

Between the idea and the blog …

An unknown series of events flowing when I commit to the journey unfolding …

Good, surprising, exhilarating, disastrous …Who knows?

Commit and find out … allowing a gap, space in your life to create, the paintbrush taking you forward …

 

The gap is the space between you and me aka the relationship, the us.

Do we need someone else to fill the gap or can we allow space?

What is happening in the gap? Is it a sweet spot or toxic?

 

How do we bridge the gap individually, at one, our awareness keen to the known and the unknown?

There are always pitfalls … face the fear and jump … let go and let god … let go and let good …. the sayings are many.

 

Letting go in semi supine, consciously resting, allowing bridges of consciousness to build is profound.

Stopping this way lets magical amazing planet earth help us find psycho – physical unity, our unique at oneness.

 

So, your intuition is saying, mind the gap, and you don’t!?

 

Falling into the gap can be disastrous and painful.

We can have an expectation that someone else is going to support us, love us, stop us falling through the gap, and they let us down, intentionally so sometimes.

We thought that we were on the same train and they railroad us.

Our expectation and reality did not match. There is a gap.

The man falls into a hole story comes to mind. We will fall into the same hole more than once.

So what?!

We learn eventually to make another choice.

 

And if it is disastrous and hurts, then definitely mind the gap. Ground and protect. Semi supine and recalibrate. Breathe. Create lush space for you, no invaders. Don’t fall deeper into the hole with thoughts like ‘I am not good enough, worthy enough, talented enough, likeable enough, no one cares anyway …’

 

Planet Earth supports us if we let it! The gap closes. Time heals. Stopping is wonderful. Wait a while on the platform another train will come along. This time you have more awareness.

 

The gap then becomes a positive resting place between the action.

A place to look after ourselves.

A gap year, a gap second ….  a gap 20 minutes?

Mind the gap, a conscious constructive pause in which to think, intend, move forward, direct your thinking, ease into the space all around ….

Time to chose, time to change.

Time to say No for a while to all that chatter ‘n’ stuff.

You can’t change and stay the same.

So you consciously Mind the Gap instead.

 

The gap can be an uncomfortable place mentally and physically. Not just falling into the gap – trust is required to jump over the gap onto the train and into the new journey and trust is also required to find the way into our inner glorious space radiating too.

Our space on this fine earth is a vulnerable place, but it is also a magical space.

 

We fill our space with so much stuffy stuff maybe because we don’t want to feel the space, be in the unknown, listen to the mysterious, feel the enormity, so stuff feels better than the gap. Chatty chatty busy busy human doings bumping into each other and falling into holes all over the place. Not just being OK right here right now. Resting in respect and awe.

Ease the Day more regularly … a practise for life. It’s body magic.

A bit of time out to learn to fall onto the ground consciously …aha, softer landings.

Falling and floating.

 

Easing out in our own amazing body magical and enjoy finding and filling the gaps and spaces so that when tricky sticky life circumstances, verbal attacks, harsh words, unmet expectations arrive, which they will, our innate balance and understanding of ease stops us tripping and frightened, falling quite so painfully into the gap.BodyMagic_mobile

 

Transformation is available –  recalibrate and mind the gap …with conscious light, illuminating magic.

 

More Body Magic click here

 

 

 

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Tongues!

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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

 

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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!

 

 

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www.kirstenharris.co.uk
www.kirstenharrisart.com
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Humphrey!

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I see with joy that a collage I made twenty odd years ago was in STAT news this month. Thank you Jamie, I love that you kept it so long! The quirky title –  ‘Because she had always been interested in animal rights she decided to free her neck!’

 

Seeing it again inspired me to share this mad cartoon …from a collection of daft verses and cartoons compiled over the years!

Those of you who signed up for my free creativity course will have come across one called Tongue Tied.

 

I have a new idea that combines art and Alexander Technique, the two loves of my life!

So today I publicly setting my intention and direction for the next few weeks  – to produce an Alexander Technique inspired colouring book in time for Christmas!

Cartoons and drawings to colour in yourself and verses that hopefully teach something wonderful in a fun way.

Suitable for children and adults too!

 

I have been listening to what the children I teach say they would like ….

The Daily Ease, Colouring Book!

An AT teaching and learning tool!

 

Please let me know if you are interested in my new project ….

Pencils are sharped and pens are at the ready to start drawing!

I will do it for my pupils anyway … but you might be interested too?

 

Oh and I will be exhibiting and selling all the original drawings during the Edinburgh Festival this August so I had better get busy.  …. Do get in touch if you are in Edinburgh or interested in being kept in the loop about the colouring book…

 

Hope you like ‘Humphrey’ – poem, drawing and pun! : )

 

email -kirstenfharris@btopenworld.com

www.kirstenharrisart.com

www.kirstenharris.co.uk

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The collage done 20 years ago …

inspired by Alexander Technique.

 

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101 Life Lessons from my Dog

Doggy Back Care-3

101 Life Lessons from my Dog

by Kirsten Harris

 

1. Have a good stretch and yawn first thing in the morning. It feels great.

 

2. If there is a human being about lie on your back and get your tummy tickled. Tickling is happy.

 

3. Morning grooming sessions make you feel good for the day. Nobody likes a smelly dog.

Especially look after your feet. You can’t walk without them.

 

5. Eat your food with gusto and pure pleasure.

 

6. Drink plenty of water.

 

7. Be totally delighted to see your friends. Greet them with enthusiasm and joy.

 

8. Be fascinated by the sights, sounds and smells around you. The best things in life really are free.

 

9. Playing or going for a walk with someone is better than on your own. Run for Fun.

 

10. If you need to howl. Do it!

 

11. Smile and wag your tail a lot, it will keep your back free. Dance like a dog everyday.

 

12. It is OK to have a snooze in the day time. Dogs loves it when you lie on the floor. Be more dog and rest inbetween activity. It’s good for your back.

 

13. Get some training. Practise makes perfect. Being skilled is pure pleasure for you and the people around you.

 

14. It is possible to be totally relaxed and alert at the same time. Alexander Technique’s constructive rest (semi-supine) is the human equivalent of your dog sleeping with one eye open.

 

15. Worry Less. Muddy floors can be cleaned. Enjoy getting muddy feet in the first place.

 

16. Dont compare yourself with the other bitches! Be accepting.

 

17. It feels good to give and get strokes from others. Give and receive praise.

 

18. Make yourself pant breathlessly from having fun in the world at least once a day.

 

19. ‘NO!’ is a really important word. Use it.

 

20. Go outside several times a day to refresh yourself.

 

21 Have boundaries. Your space is your space, protect it from invaders.

 

22. Don’t pick fights. Stand up for yourself if necessary. Don’t cower, but exiting fast or going around something to avoid confrontation is often the best strategy. Fighting doesn’t occur if you know how to look after yourself.

 

23. Commitment brings joy.

 

24. Trust your instincts.

 

25. Everyday is an adventure. Going on trips is an adventure. Trust the unknown. Dogs never know what you have planned.

 

26. Ball games are fun.

 

27. Have a sense of humour and be a bit naughty sometimes.

 

28. Bugs, flies, moths and bees are fascinating.

 

29. Staying a dancing hands length away from being captured is a good game.

 

30. Have your own space, where you find peace and ease.

 

31. Sofas are great but sometimes it really is more comfortable to lie on the floor.

Rolling around on the floor is really really good too.

 

32. Different dogs have different energy levels and personalities. They are all loveable. Accept yourself.

 

33. Develop your listening skills.

 

34. Sitting at someone else’s feet is a mark of respect.

 

35 Be aware.

 

36. A little treat for a job well done makes life flow and brings happiness and joy.

 

37. Keep a little treat ‘up your sleeve’ at all times, you never know when you might need a reward.

 

38 Be loyal and honest. Dogs don’t lie.

 

39 A good companion and friend is the best thing in the world.

 

40. Walking everyday keeps you in good shape.

 

41. Some humans make better leaders than others and get more respect.

 

42. Slippers are great.

 

43. Toys that squeak must be destroyed as fast as possible.

 

44 It is important to respect cows, sheep and horses, but it is OK to chase crows out of the garden.

 

45 Some ‘cats’ are weird and need assessing before approaching.

 

46. Humans are a bit slow and clumsy but are generally nice and like to be loved

 

47. Humans that spend too long on the computer are boring and missing out on great opportunities for adventures and walks.

 

48. Humans don’t like arse licking.

 

49 Don’t chase cars.

 

50. Always look for the most comfortable place to sit. Sit nicely.

 

51 Find a favourite relaxation spot outside to watch the world go by.

 

52. Dogs are happy when you are happy. Be happy

 

53 The countryside is freer than the city. The beach is fantastic!

 

54. You can communicate with everyone, even if you don’t speak the same language. Be friendly to strangers.

 

55. Don’t hurt people. People don’t like being bitten.

 

56. Don’t steal other people’s stuff. Slippers are fair game!

 

57. Trust people unless they hurt you. Then refuse to go near them.

 

58. Breathe out deeply with contented pleasure when letting go into rest.

 

59. Explore your surroundings with new eyes and enthusiasm everyday. It is full of wonder and delight.

 

60. Respect the environment. Don’t ‘shit’ in someone else’s paradise. If you do, clear up the mess.

 

61. It is possible to be poised in activity. The eyes lead the body follows, watch a dog catch a ball, it will teach you how the body is co-ordinated.

 

62. It is OK to drop the ball.

 

63. Don’t worry. If you think it’s a dog’s life, be more dog.

 

64. Get messy. Use your body. Explore. Get your feet wet. Run into the sea. Dig in the earth. Enjoy Life.

 

65.  Everyday is a new opportunity to enjoy chasing and catching the ball! People will start buying balls if they know your passion, and come to visit just in order to share your passion with you!

 

66. Dogs are keenly aware if something different is going to happen … Putting shoes on to go out is a very exciting life event!

 

67. Watching the behaviour of others is interesting and gives insight! Your dog is watching you!

 

68. Think ahead! Forward planning can make life a lot easier. A dog won’t necessarily be caught just because that is what you want this very minute.

 

69. Give praise quickly. If it is a no, it is a no, if it is a yes, be quick with the praise too. Yes is the goal. Your no supports your yes! It’s anatomical!

 

70. Dogs can anticipate your next action. Maisie, my Cockerpoo, puts the ball where she thinks I am going next, she is invariably correct. My dog is mind reading me!

 

71. Dogs are very good human trainers!

 

72. Let sleeping dogs lie. There is truth in old wisdom. It gives you peace.

 

73. Dogs understand body language.

 

74. Dogs love it when you rest your hand on them and think into the back of it. Bliss! Alexander Technique non doing ‘hands on’ are an excellent and effective way for calming down a manic, crazy dog … over time!

 

75. Who cares about the weather when you can go OUTSIDE!

 

76. Get more Grrrrrr …. stronger boundaries and grrrreater passion for life! Anger and hyper energy can be very useful!

 

77. Passion and obsession are not so different! …. Really keep your eye on your favourite ball!

 

78. If one person doesn’t want to play with you, don’t worry! Someone else will play with you.

 

79. Dogs bring energy and enthusiasm into the room. Whoo hoo! Live life with energy and enthusiasm.

 

80. Chasing a dog that doesn’t want to be caught is a waste of time!

 

81. If it is not working with the dog do something else, be creative … Creativity keeps life interesting.

 

82. Not everyone loves your dog. But all that matters is that you do. Trust your own judgement. Trust your own love! Everyone deserves love!

 

83. Some dogs are messier than other. It is just who they are. They are not trying to mess up your life on purpose!

 

84. Not all dogs want to be fawned over, some dogs just like their own space. Free choice! Don’t take it personally!

 

85. ‘Some dogs mothers are bigger than other dogs mothers!’ (misquoted from The Smiths). We are all different … YAY!

 

86. No matter how small you are or think you are, you are important! You are allowed to take up your space.

 

87. People really don’t like being barked at!

 

88. There are different kinds of bark. Use your bark only in the case of emergency when you really need to get someones attention.

 

89. Dogs have an opinion too. Allow others their opinion. You don’t have to agree.

 

90. People are wonderful and to be greeted with enthusiasm. Most people will respond back accordingly. The odd one won’t. Don’t take it personally, it is their problem not yours!

 

91. You don’t need words to communicate love.

 

92. Be kind! Kindness will be rewarded with loyalty and companionship.

 

93. Dogs don’t take your grumpy mood personally. Don’t take things personally.

 

94. What is your stuff is your stuff, what is their stuff is their stuff.

 

95. Dogs know how to give you space if you are in a bad mood and will go find somewhere to hang out in their own happy space. Give people space if they need it.

 

96. Find the warmest and most comfortable place to lie down and let go completely.

 

97. Take the ‘plunge’ – even if you have never tried to ‘swim’ before you might like it. And if not, the shore is not far away.

 

98. Innocent but slightly eccentric behaviour can be misinterpreted badly. Be your quirky unique self even if people do misunderstand you. Don’t stop doing what makes you happy just because folk don’t get it!
(My dog likes to tickle her inside leg on the shoe of anyone sitting cross legged. This involves lifting her leg as though she were a male dog about to pee. Maisie is doing her ballet moves for fun!)

 

99. Dogs change your perception of life … A lone man walking a dog on a path is a man taking his dog for a walk. A man walking alone on a path is a potential threat! (sorry guys!)

 

100. Dogs love to meet and greet. Dogs bring people together. Strangers will talk to a dog where they might be shy to talk to you.

 

101.Love is unconditional.

 

My Motto after two and half years with a highly intelligent, hyperactive Cockerpoo affectionally known as Crazy Maisie is – ‘Be More Maisie!’

 

Animals can teach us daft humans a whole lot of life lessons …

Why not join my mailing list for more blogs and drawings ..

 

Link to my art website – http://www.kirstenharrisart.co.uk

 

UPCOMING ART EXHIBITOIN – SEA AND THE CITY, DUNDAS GALLERY, DUNDAS STREET, EDINBURGH 26 – 30 APRIL 2017 10am – 6pm.

(Maisie will be meeting and greeting visitors to the exhibition!)

 

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101 Life Lessons from my Dog – copyright Kirsten Harris, July 2016/March 2017

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