Post by Category : Body Magic

Be Calmed

There is no wind in my sails

I am becalmed

I’ve dropped anchor 

To take stock and recover from past voyages

Resting, I dangle a damaged toe into the deep 

I’m tired of blowing at sails

Nothing happens anyway

Huffing and puffing with all my might is not going to move this boat

She’s grounded

So for now, mend 

Check the rigging

Take stock

Cleanse everything

Get this little coracle ship shape and seaworthy

When the wind comes, what will it be?

A summery breeze, a bracing westerly, a gale?

How can I know, it’s not up to me

I am not the wind…

So I listen for first whispers

And wafts of scents that ride on early gusts

Enjoying quiet solitude in the place I am beached

The wind will come again

One day it will be here, inviting me to pull up anchor, untie the ropes and let go again to harness the powerful energy of its fearsome billowing magic 

Where does the wind come from and where does it go?

Kirsten Harris

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Retirement and the Alexander Technique

How do you retire if you have been self employed all your life? Truth is I’ve  never thought about retirement. Never ever!

Artists don’t retire and neither do Alexander Technique teachers. They just get better at their job! I’ve never had a so called ‘proper job’, with a trajectory and a pension, so this is the first time in my life that I have even considered the concept of retirement, which is probably completely normal for most people.

So what does the word retire mean? 

It means to draw back….

Hmm interesting… You step a horse back to gather his energy in order to go forward with more power, poise and spring. When you draw a bow back you are again gathering energy into focus, honing your aim. 

There is an Alexander Technique phrase – to think ‘back in your back’. It is a powerful thought and a decision to pause that can change how you react to things and thus how your life works out.  The demands of life can pull us forward and out of our embodied self, out of the support of our backs which can leave us in a reactive, exhausted and stressed state both physically and mentally.  ‘Back into your back’ is an invitation to real inner strength.

We are taught from an early age to keep going forward achieving on a path laid out before us from school all the way to retirement, when you can finally, apparently, reap the fruits of your labour and live life at a more enjoyable pace that suits you. 

So, thinking about this concept, I’ve decided I am going to retire now, to draw back into my power! The thought of early retirement makes me smile, it seems so ridiculous and brilliant at the same time. Retirement as drawing back to enjoy living better. Drawing back to liven my system like a horse about to really move forward into grace, feels like a great plan. It’s a change of attitude really. I’ve never considered that the word and implications of retirement might be so empowering. 

So, I’ve decided I want to be one of those ‘retired’ people who say ‘I don’t know how I ever had time to work I am having such a good life and more involved than ever, enjoying all sorts of meaningful things and making a difference!’

Illustration Title – The Magic Stop

www.kirstenharris.co.uk – downloadable Alexander Technique lessons

www.kirstenharrisart.co.uk – art and prints


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Injury and The Alexander Technique

Five months ago I tore the plantar plate on my 4th toe. The toe seems to be floating like a bit of seaweed. Oh joy!

Frustrating as being lame is, I notice that I’m not suffering any aches and pains anywhere else. No compensatory tightening.  I put this down to 30 years worth of Alexander thinking, an awareness of ‘letting my neck be free’ despite pain and walking as well as I can step by step…forward and up, up and up, up and over the ankle, up and over the ground.

The words ‘think carefully about your next step’ have been a kind of instruction manual from my toe along with the question – what next in life, toe the line you have created or something else?

Having taught Alexander Technique to severely disabled, extraordinary inspiring students including Para – Olympian riders and more recently a wheelchair bound boy set for the next Para – Olympics as a tennis player, it is time to rise to the challenge. Accept and adapt!

A bit about injury and Alexander Technique – If you have an injury, past or present, do think about doing some Alexander Technique. For a start you don’t want to create compensatory movement conditions in your system that may cause further pain. It’s easily done. I have had students thinking I am a psychic because I knew they had broken a leg or an arm twenty years ago. I knew because they hadn’t let go of the holding pattern around the injury despite having made a full recovery.

Secondly Alexander Technique really inspires. Inspiration is useful when life gets tricky and injury can make life tricky. It is this area of the technique, how it inspires and is essentially creative, that I find the most interesting. One that is not talked about so much.

Forget about the dreaded ‘p’ word posture, or in my case plantar plate, what is relevant is – does ‘faulty thinking’ stop us from moving forward?

Do you know what you really want to do in life and if you know and know you are not doing it, what is stopping you? Let me know if that question interests you…

Alexander Technique is not a cure all for all things physical, nor is it an airy fairy law of attraction positive thinking pop psych type happy clappy lovely darling do it to me technique. It is, as my tennis lad put it ‘a way to be a pure mental demon and gain advantage on the court!’

So if you are keen to keep moving forward in your amazing life, which is not, and never can be, a copycat of anyone else’s life then, no matter what your circumstances find your inner FUP it and remember to Forward and UP it!

Love Kirsten


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The Encylopaedia of Ease – M

Discovering ease in everyday words. Today it’s M. Yes, ’em over there…

M

Mindlessnessease – Mindfulness but easier.

Memorease – Thankfully not having a good one so easily forgetting past disasters, hurts and grievances so they don’t continue to hurt and instead being present to this wonderful world and receiving the gifts of here and now.

Messagease – Listening to the splendid wisdom of your intuition.

Massagease – Having muscles squeezed ‘n’ teased, often by poky phalangease.

Monease – Not worrying about it.

Metropolease – Planting trees in towns and cities.

Movease – Kinetic freedom often captured on camera and watched by people sitting down. Freedom experienced by people slumping in front of their computer or t.vease by switching off and having a stretch or walk instead.

Slump by Kirsten Harris
Copyright

Meanease – Believing in the saying ‘do what you love and the money will follow,’ by seeing that abundance is life and choosing abundant thoughts instead of poverty or lack ones.

Melodease – When the music finally stops. Getting rid of a jingly, oh so annoying, ear worm.

Mileagease – Letting go of at least some of your ‘travel for the sake of travel’ plans in favour of looking after the planet and finding pleasure and beauty in your own neighbourhood. Also includes walking for miles, thinking up and swinging your arms. S’very healthy!

Miserease – Choosing love, joy and happiness.

Methodologease – Not having one and going with the flow instead.

Masterease – Getting good at something through continued practicease. Also Geniusease – you don’t have to be one or you already are one! Choosing not to be a slave to situations.

Majestease – Discovering your inner Queen (or King) and realising that connecting with her brings instant inner poise and a sense of well being because the balance of your head is your crowning glory after all! Not to be confused with Princessease! (coming soon!)

Mysterease – Easing and entering a magical space where you become the unknowable mind blowing universe and love it… Mmmmmm ….. See you later…

Ease the day! Love Kirsten x

Copyright Kirsten Harris 29 June 2019

LINKS – www.kirstenharrisart.co.uk – Art

www.kirstenharris.co.uk – Alexander Technique




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The Encylopaedia of Ease I – K

I

Idiocease – ‘Aha’ moments, when you realise you’ve been making things hard for yourself. Often accompanied by insights which cause the hand to be held to the forehead and the making of strange noises such as ‘Doh!’

Ignoramusease – ‘Dah!’ Finally the penny has dropped.

Inheritancease – Letting go of family habits and learnt behaviours that you didn’t know you had which keep you stuck in the past.

Intolerancease – Being much easier to live with! Phew!

Indulgensease – Being tolerant of the strange foibles, idiosynchrosease and quirks of your fellow two-legged’s.

J

Jollease – Fun times in the easy company of jolly friends.

Jammease – Comfy night garments that give you a warm cosy feeling. The Daily Ease recommends allowing yourself a jammease day now and then – never really get properly dressed and instead devote the day to easing, stretching and then more easing and resting. S’very nice!

Jurease – Ease of tendencease to be judge and jury to yourself and/or others.

Jumblease – Joy from finding brilliant things in charity shops, thrift stores and jumble sales. Treasures that make your day. Or giving your unwanted stuff to the above for other people to find and make their day. Yay! Finding creative ways of recycling all the unwanted stuff in the world rather than taking it to landfill.

Junkease – Letting go of your shit and freeing yourself from addictive or habitual thinking or behaviours. Also includes clutter clearing and not poisoning the environment.

Jargonease – Saying things in simple ways so people know what the bleep you’re talking about. Alternatively making up your own ‘ease’ jargon and writing an Encyclopaedia of Ease because it makes you smile.

Jobease – Not being stressed by a crappy job!

K

Kitteasse also Pussease and Moggease – small felines who are taking over the internet.

‘Dah!’ by Kirsten Harris
Oil on Canvas

Kiddease – Enlightened schools that teach children the Alexander Technique. Kiddease are very wise beings.

Kinkease – Thrilling feeling of length and width after Alexander Technique ease strategease. A behaviour of humanoids liked by kittease and doggease, who will want to lie on top of you when you kinkease, as you grow in sensitivitease and cuddliness.

Kissease – preferably not slobbery!

Kindnessease – Really lovely things people do that make your heart melt and give you a warm gooey hopeful feeling accompanied with the thought that people are actually really, really nice.

Knease – Ease in both knees. Knees forwards and away – now get me out of here!

Forward and Up! Love Kirsten xxxx

More of the Encyclopaedia of Ease coming soon. Why not subscribe to my blog and learn your A,B,C’ease!

Ease the day and have a good one whatever you are doing.

Copyright Kirsten Harris 26 June 2019

www.kirstenharris.co.uk – Teacher of the Alexander Technique (STAT)

www.kirstenharrisart.co.uk – original artwork and prints

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The Magic is Now!


Every moment in every place in every country, every being has access to a portal to the magic kingdom (or magic queendom, if you prefer!) There is no other place in which to find magic apart from right here, or there, where you are. There is no other body in which to access magic through. No body else but magical you.

No amount of travelling around the planet doing your bucket list, no amount of shopping or talking is going to reveal the enchanted portal any faster than stopping and really showing up… up… up… to where you are. In fact you might just miss it with all that busyness business. Is it all really necessary?

Feet on the ground, heart open, think up, for there is magic in the air…

It is so easy it’s ridiculous that we keep missing the openings…

Right now whatever your circumstances, wherever you are you can  enter a richness and beauty beyond your wildest imagination.

Just stop for long enough for the door to magic to open.  Easy peasy!

How difficult can it be to stop for a bit? 

How wonderful that magic is there waiting for you…

It’s a br-ease! Ease…

Entering the Magic or Letting Go of Being Prickly or indeed Prickle-ease!
Detail from the Daily Ease Colouring Book by Kirsten Harris
Link here
Body Magic Download
Link Here


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The Happiness of Grass


I have been thinking a lot about grass! As you do! Under a powerful microscope grass looks like it is smiling. Grass is amazing stuff. Grass is happy and it sure has tenacity. No matter how trampled and muddy, parched and burnt or just plain sad and worn out it looks grass finds a way to go up to the light and just keeps on growing. It recovers and rejuvenates when sometimes you think it is just not possible. Grass is definitely optimistic! 

And of course ponies love grass and that’s another lesson. Too much grass and its richness will make a horse sick, too little and the horse will die. 

Grass is a great symbol and reminder to be balanced in what we take from the planet. Grass will happily give and give and give, but don’t take too much or the earth will be sick and so will we. We need to be balanced. We need to pay attention. In my mind grass holds the earth together. 

And is the grass always greener on the other side? 

Grass doesn’t seem to worry about where it grows, it just grows happily everywhere and anywhere, it really isn’t judgemental and is very forgiving. A little bit of nourishment from Mother Earth, light and water and up it goes. Just like us…

So my drawing is in hope of the continued happiness of grass and to the joys of lying on the grass on a sunny summer day in constructive rest! 

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Download lessons and meditations for constructive rest here

www.kirstenharrisart.co.uk
Prints and Original artwork

Illustration, detail from The Daily Ease colouring story book – link here

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The Perfect Circle – A Lesson from Art History to Apply to Riding

Four Winds Medicine Wheel. Print available at www.kirstenharrisart.co.uk

In his book Lives of the Artists, Georgio Vasari (1511 – 1574) recounts a story about the artist Giotto (1267 – 1337). He tells how the Pope was commissioning art and sent messengers throughout Italy to bring back samples or artist’s work. When the messenger visited Giotto’s studio, Giotto took a brush and keeping his arm close to his side painted a perfect circle in red paint with one brush stroke. The messenger thought he was being made a fool of. However when he recounted the ease with which Giotto had painted the perfect circle the Pope commissioned Giotto, recognising mastery. 

Whilst teaching in Japan, I took lessons in Japanese brush painting. One of the tasks my teacher had me repeat many times was to paint the Enso, the Zen Circle. The circle is painted as one brushstroke to express a moment when the mind is free to let the body create. It is a training in one’s ability to be whole in the present moment. The quality of the circle is altered by the quality of one’s presence. 

If you are a rider I would like to challenge you to pick up a brush and paint a circle. Can you paint a circle freely and with ease? I would suggest that the circles that you ride (if you ride circles) will reveal themselves to you in the circle you paint! 

Circles symbolise wholeness, infinity, eternity, time and timelessness, movement, the rhythm of life, unity, harmony, relationships, breath, Earth and our being in the Universe, connection…

By riding circles we have a way to connect to a wholeness within ourselves and our horse (or not!)

Why not give yourself and your horse a break for a bit to train your mind. If you cannot think or paint a perfect circle I don’t think it is possible to ride a perfect one! What do your circles look like? Practise painting circles with both hands. 

Good luck!

I am practicing my Zen circles…

LINKS –

Horsy prints and other artwork www.kirstenharrisart.co.uk 

For media downloads including Walking With Your Horse www.kirstenharris.co.uk

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A Flicker of Light – Playing Horse and Rider

The Magic Stop, Drawing by Kirsten Harris

 

We were a group of horse women here in Scotland, just starting to play a teaching ‘game’ I call ‘Horse and Rider,’ when one of the participants said, ‘Yes, I can feel a flicker of light.’ I love the expression and I think it is the basis of why I am so passionate when I teach Alexander Technique to horse riders. 

 

When we ride we are communicating our light to our horses – that light is our thinking, transformed into ‘feel’ and a direct line of clear communication that allows our horses to be light, free, forward, balanced under us and with us. We can learn to be thinking riders when we know how. I believe Alexander Technique brings clarity to the how. The flicker of light turns into a clear beam of communication and direction over time. 

 

Experiencing our hands-on communication with the Alexander Technique we can get very much clearer understanding as to what we are actually communicating to our horses. The results are surprising, illuminating and engaging. Riders start to realise the need for clear direction. Wooly vague thought, ego, frustration, trying too hard or asking too much at the wrong time in the wrong way is confusing to the horse who really is listening to what you are thinking right now. You may think you are asking clearly, but are you? 

 

When I teach in this way one person is the horse and the other the rider. The horse now has human words to communicate what is being experienced to the rider.

 

One woman said ‘I am loving being the horse. I am thinking – oh really, you want me to do that? OK, it’s not going to work, but here you are… ‘ She found the lack of clarity from the rider full of humour. Does this sound familiar? Have you ever felt your horse is making fun of you? Maybe you can stay good humoured as a rider, but maybe you get frustrated or worse. Our lack of awareness can be disastrous for the horse and you too!

 

Our horses communicate with us all the time but are we really listening to what they are saying?  Maybe your horse isn’t being stubborn or stupid or can’t do it. Maybe he is more than willing and capable but really unsure as to what you are saying. 

 

Honest open feedback is a requirement from players of this ‘game’. It is fun, informative and very surprising when you start to realise the brilliance of your own thinking moment to moment and how loud and clear your thoughts are beaming to your wonderful sensitive intelligent horse. 

 

Interested? 

Courses available by arrangement

 

www.kirstenharris.co.uk 

 

Media downloads here 

Walking with Your Horse

Breathe

Body Magic 

www.kirstenharris.co.uk 

www.kirstenharrisart.co.uk – Horse Prints

 

 

The Magic Stop by Kirsten Harris

 

Feel by Kirsten Harris

The Journey by Kirsten Harris

Trust by Kirsten Harris

In Nature We Find Ourselves by Kirsten Harris

The Guardians by Kirsten Harris

If Wishes Were Horses by Kirsten Harris

 

Black and White hand signed prints available at www.kirstenharrisart.co.uk

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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

 

 

 

 

 

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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

 

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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!

 

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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

 

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Is Your Head Screwed On Right?

Anatomy and Art, Cartoon by Kirsten Harris 

 

Is your head screwed on right?

 

I love the way our language and the phases we use reveal so much on closer inspection! We might say ‘so and so hasn’t got their head screwed on right!’

It’s a cheeky way of saying someone’s thinking is out of balance – faulty!

Someone with their head ‘screwed on right’ is conversely seen as balanced, sensible and wise.

 

I love the suggestion in this common phrase that the balance of the head is key to our ability to think clearly, rationally!

 

Anger, frustration, trying too hard or slumping and other distortions of the physical balance etc can all lead to a sense of not having your own head screwed on quite right! A kind of feeling or emotional condition where you know that there is nothing really wrong, but don’t feel quite right.

 

The Alexander Technique is a fantastic way of discovering how the balance of the head atop the spine facilitates freedom and ease emotionally, mentally and physically.

 

The compromised shortening of the muscles in the neck when your head isn’t ‘screwed on right’ aka in balance,  can lead to many unhelpful conditions that are commonplace in this modern world.

 

The lack of balance of the head and accompanied tightness in the neck and domino effect through your entire system can lead amongst other things to feelings such as anxiety or worry, defensiveness and anger,  as well as of course, pain.

 

To end, I question as a society in general, whether we have our heads screwed on right?

 

Body Magic by Kirsten Harris

 

www.kirstenharrisart.co.uk

www.kirstenharris.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

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You’ve Got It Already!

‘Unhelpful Thinking Habits!’ Cartoon by Kirsten Harris

 

Whatever this ‘thing’ is that Alexander Technique teachers get so passionate about and want to teach you – you’ve got it already!  You know IT! This is the premise that I work from. I am not teaching you something that you don’t already know. All I am doing is hopefully reminding you how brilliant you are – refinding something with you that you already have.

 

For most of us, our natural poise has been compromised and with it our sense of easy well being, connection and confident pleasure in life. Life has become a bit or a lot more complicated than it need be.  The Alexander Technique IT factor is a ‘primary freedom’, or ‘primary control’. Horse riders will understand it as the balance and freedom of the horses poll. A poise is released through your entire being when we find the release of the head into its natural easy balance atop the spine. You were born with this self righting mechanism intact, but may have compromised it along the way.

 

Releasing interference to the primary freedom is not necessarily a long complicated process, it can happen in this very moment …. and this moment … and this…  It is simply our habits and lack of awareness that get in the way. Alexander Technique is a marvellous way of discovering you’ve got it right now, that you are by design balanced.

 

I still remember my first lesson with Astrid Cox 30 years ago. It was empowering, exciting, thrilling… A great big ‘AHA’ light bulb switched on in my entire being. My mind and body became one again. A clarity about myself lit up that had been dimmed, leading to extreme pain by the time I was 24 years old. I knew then that I was responsible for how I felt. I didn’t have back pain and it had me, I was doing something that created the pain, a pain that I could change by thinking.

 

The word technique is a little misleading. Alexander lessons are not so much a technique but more a means of understanding a principle, a paradigm, a truth about yourself that is inspiring, illuminating and applicable to everything if you choose.

Yes, I am still passionate 30 years later!

 

This morning I just wanted to affirm that YOU are amazing! You are IT! And even if you don’t know it right now, you’ve got it already!

‘Let Go’ Cartoon by Kirsten Harris

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More from me –

Body Magic download here

Breathe download here

Walking with your Horse download here

The Daily Ease A Walk in the Woods, Colouring Book with AT inspired words.

Sale price £5 link here

Art and blogs about art – www.kirstenharrisart.co.uk

Alexander Technique – www.kirstenharris.co.uk

FB – The Daily Ease Alexander Technique

FB – Kirsten Harris Art

 

 

 

 

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How to get a sore neck!

  • Slump a lot
  • Let your head poke forward so your neck has to work really hard all the time
  • Sit cross legged
  • Slump even more
  • Get angry and stressed
  • Worry a lot, definitely sweat the small stuff
  • Hold onto ‘stuff’ and worry about the past
  • Keep your hands in your pockets when you are walking
  • Definitely don’t let your arms swing
  • Carry a heavy bag on one shoulder
  • Keep your tongue clamped to the roof of your mouth
  • Shallow breathe
  • Worry about the future
  • Don’t stretch
  • Develop habits of self judgement and fearful thinking
  • Have absolutely no knowledge of how the body balances
  • Try to sit up straight and have good posture
  • Do not become aware or gain self knowledge!

 

If you follow these instructions you should get a sore neck and more! Good luck!

 

OR …. !!!???

 

Alexander Technique, the art of changing!

 

www.kirstenharrisart.co.uk – Art

www.kirstenharris.co.uk – Alexander Technique

 

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Enthusiasm

One of the total joys of teaching Alexander Technique is that you learn so much yourself! It is an amazing two way process that is utterly engaging. As soon as I start teaching a quality of enthusiasm emerges from me that still surprises. I get in the flow of something joyous.

 

One of the things we love about children is their enthusiasm, their liveliness, their eagerness and joy, the amazing gusto and wonderment that they bring to activity. Their enthusiasm is a rippling out of a wonderful energy.

 

The word enthusiasm comes from the Greek, meaning divine inspiration, god within. In the 1600’s the Puritans subverted the meaning to be that of excessive religious zeal and gave the word a cynical overtone, that someone who is enthusiastic is a bit OTT and thinks they are something special!

 

This morning I am feeling enthusiastic about the original meaning of the word enthusiasm! How do we open to allow divine inspiration to flow? How do we access the god within, that extraordinary aliveness of being?

 

Am I allowing myself to be enthusiastic about the things I love or stopping myself through fear or lack or negative thinking habits? What happens if our enthusiasm becomes dampened or quashed? Our childlike joyous spirit controlled, depressed or subverted?

 

From an Alexander Technique perspective I would suggest that if our enthusiasm becomes congested it manifests as aches and pains and unhappiness in one form or another.  For me I realise that the Alexander Technique continues to help me access the well of my own enthusiasm and notice when I am getting in my own way.  Letting go of congestion in any form allows the spirit of enthusiasm to emerge and be embodied.

 

So, I wonder if these question will help you too.

What makes you feel truly enthusiastic?

Does a puritanical tyrannical side of you judge you enthusiasms?

Can you let the negative voices go and trust that your enthusiasm is divinely inspired?

 

Forward an up!
With love

Kirsten

 

I am enthusiastic about planting trees, and have made an Alexander Technique inspired colouring story book to raise funds for tree planting. Suitable for children or adults. Currently half price.  Link here

 

 

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How to Be a Flop!

How To Be A Flop, Cartoon by Kirsten Harris

 

Instead of a ‘how to be a success’ blog I thought I would write one about how to be a flop! Let’s take some pressure off and hopefully make life a little easier. It’s really much easier being a flop after all!

 

So, what if it was absolutely OK to be a flop at work, at home or at school? What if being a flop is actually a way to achieve more success? What if people actually saw your flopping as wonderful self care! A little bit of daily ease!

 

So when the pressure gets just too much why not just give up for a bit and let yourself flop over. Sitting on a chair is the easiest way. Simply let yourself hang out for a bit with your head between your legs and let go.  People will probably ask you if you are ok but that’s ok. It feels good being floppy, quite a relief really. So don’t worry what you look like, go ahead, flop!

 

Let your neck be free so your head can really hang…

Surrender the weight of your head to give your neck and back a wonderful releasing stretch…

Let the weight of your arms hang heavily, freeing your shoulder muscles and stretching the connective tissue around the shoulder blades, an area that can get really tight…

Let yourself breathe out, big sighing out breaths easing the ribs…

Let go and give up being an upright person for a bit and enjoy the view from between your legs!

 

Congratulations you are now a flop!

If you have a cat or a dog they will probably want to lick your face as you are now at their level and they think that is very exciting. Just a mini hazard of your new found flopdom.

 

STRANGE BUT TRUE – if you imagine looking up your nose, you will get more of a releasing stretch on the back of your neck!

 

It feels great being a flop. Really it’s a giant relief to take time out for a minute or two.

 

When you want to come up again, think about rebuilding the spine slowly from the bottom up … like a tower block … vertebrae by vertebrae…one bone at a time … one on top of the other … leaving your head until last so that it can find its balance point on the two rockers on the base of your skull.

 

I recommend you let yourself be a flop at least once a day. It really is jolly good for your daily ease!

 

With love

Kirsten

 

The Daily Ease A Walk in the Woods Colouring Book with Alexander Technique inspired words is now HALF PRICE, ON SALE Here

Usually £10 reduced to £5 plus postage LINK Here

Please email me if you are interested to buy kirstenfharris@btopenworld.com

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Please Your Self!

Cartoon ‘Zoned and Boned’ by Kirsten Harris

 

Please Your Self! 

 

‘Oh just please your self!’ 

Have you ever had that said to you in anger or annoyance, or in judgement of your behaviour? Or perhaps you’ve said it to someone else, said in disagreement. Does ‘pleasing your self’ sound like a criticism or something that a narcissist or a really selfish person would do. Does pleasing your self make you question yourself as being someone who is selfish, worthless, not deserving of friends, someone who doesn’t think about others? 

 

Here is my take on it. First a few dictionary definitions of the words involved- 

 

Please 

  • cause to feel happy or satisfied
  • take one’s own wishes into consideration in deciding how to act or proceed
  • a polite way of saying yes
  • to have kindness

 

 

Your Self

  • a persons essential being that distinguishes themselves from others
  • the evaluation by oneself of one’s worth as an individual in distinction from one’s interpersonal or social roles. 

 

 

If you look at the meaning of the words than pleasing your self seems like a very worthwhile activity and one can make sentences from these short definitions such as-

 

 

  • Having consideration for your true self
  • Taking the wishes of your essential being into consideration before deciding how to act or proceed
  • Being kind to yourself 
  • Saying yes to your own self worth 
  • Feeling satisfied with your essential being 
  • Being happy with that which distinguishes yourself from others
  • Evaluating yourself kindly
  • Being happy and satisfied in your social roles

 

 

As a seasoned people pleaser I know it can be tricky to learn to please your self. And when you do … sometimes people don’t like it!

 

From an Alexander Technique point of view I would suggest simply stopping as a good starting point. We can learn how to ‘inhibit’, find a pause in the moment, and notice our thoughts and habits. We can learn to stop criticising ourselves or take on other peoples criticisms. I could go on …

 

Taking time out and lying in semi supine aka constructive rest does more than just sort the physical body out, it suspends the habits of our activity, meaning that our personality constructs can have a bit of time out too. Pausing allows layers of social behaviour to float away and the jewel of our true self to be revealed.  This is a psycho-physcial technique after all! Making space for yourself is a very satisfying thing for your true self. 

 

As an artist I value my time alone. I enjoy being solitary, though I am probably quite extrovert in many ways and like being with people too. But truthfully, really pleasing myself at this point of my life is being creative, and being at home and in my garden. I have been criticised for being a workaholic and not going out or being sociable enough. Pleasing your self definitely takes a bit of practise!

 

I find myself making excuses not to do social things and I realise that instead of feeling guilty about this and wondering what is wrong with me that I don’t need to rush around the planet to be happy. I just really enjoy being alone a lot to paint and draw and be with my animals.

 

I remember as a child being given a desk and an angle-poise lamp for a birthday by dad and being delighted, seeing myself monk-like filling a book with wonderful illuminated drawings and magical things and then realising I had nothing much to say and the desk had been bought to do my boring old homework on anyway! But that moment of delight was some aspect of my true self that is still present.

 

I wonder what pleasing your self means to you? I wonder if it makes you feel selfish even thinking about pleasing yourself? Does it make you think other people will think you are selfish or won’t like you? If so, spot the people pleaser! Maybe it is time to give the gift of you to you. Notice do the words ‘please yourself’ make your heart harden or some other tightening or constriction in your body because it resonates as a criticism? This is body magic information for you.

 

I wonder if taking a bit of time out this solstice to please yourself, your essential being, will reveal a hidden gem or two. I wonder if you will find a gift of gold lying underneath the magical Christmas tree – that true gold that is you!

 

Go on –  really please your self for a bit today and see what happens! What do you really want to do?

 

I am beginning to think that perhaps the only way we can truly move forwards and upwards as humans is when we realise that being kind to our individual essential being is the way. Pleasing our true self and letting go of all the shoulds, oughts and demands that we have absorbed that diminish our capacity for love, truth and fearlessness. Perhaps then we will bring more kindness, friendliness and thoughtfulness into the world, for when ‘please your self’ i.e. be happy is a criticism perhaps there really is a need for change!

 

And if you are not sure how to start the change be like Maise and me in the drawing and start by lying down in semi supine for 20 minutes and just let the magic happen as you let go.

 

With love

Kirsten

 

Body Magic – audio link here

www.kirstenharrisart.co.uk

 

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Drinking Water with a Fork

Am I drinking water with a  fork?

 

This is my new transformational question, a holy grail kind of question, a forking great question!

 

Drinking water with a fork is obviously a difficult, inefficient, unsustainable, energy dripping thing to do. A cup’s a more sensible choice to hold water to quench thirst.

 

Yet I find my self engaged in activities that could definitely be likened to drinking water with a fork. Do you?

 

So now instead of feeling forked off or burnt out I am asking the question – am I drinking water with a fork? Is this action, thought, relationship, behaviour, habit … fork or cup? Draining or nourishing? A simple question that changes my awareness and thinking, more able to see the ridiculousness of my habits and be my own change.

 

A fork and a cup, images for balance, both necessary useful tools, but with very different results.

 

Fork and Cup

Forward and Up!

 

Are you drinking water with a fork?

 

Love Kirsten

 

Body Magic, Lessons in the Alexander Technique click here

Breathe, Lessons in the Alexander Technique click here

 

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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

 

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Finding my Inner FUP IT!

Sometimes life is challenging to say the least. People behave in ways that surprise and bewilder … our bodies alter and falter …. loved ones die … loneliness and anxiety can descend upon us like a cloud… to name a few. 

 

In the core of all of this what do you say to yourself to recalibrate, re-member, put yourself back together and walk forward tall and proud with your head in the air, feet on the ground and heart open? How do you find your inner peace? How do you keep on keeping on?

 

These thee words that have been guiding lights to me for years –  Forward and Up – shortened to FUP  or FUP IT! A little bit of devil may care combined with a direction which is for me the only way to go … forwards and upwards!  An Alexander Technique direction or thought that actually co-ordinates the structure too. 

 

So, today a short blog wishing you forward and up into a fupping great week!

 

The last couple of weeks I have struggled to maintain my fupness for a variety of reasons that all came at once, but this morning I decided to make a Tee shirt with this slogan, simply because it makes me smile and I am feeling my inner FUP IT rekindle by doing it.

 

FUP IT is so much more positive and powerful than the traditional four lettered expression!

 

So, FUP IT, it’s Monday … and though things may pull me down or push me over or cause me to doubt or falter, Fup it and Fup you too, I’m not staying there! Are you?

Have a great week.

 

Forward and Up!

Love Kirsten 

 

Link to tee shirt hereFUP IT! Forward and UP… Tee shirt! by Kirsten Harris 

 

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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

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Lean on Me

‘Lean on me …. We all need somebody to lean on’ – A lyric! A truth?

 

What happens if someone leans on you? Can you look after yourself? Or will that leaning push you over, cause you to crumple, to collapse? Will you feel resentment or stress from the pressure of someone leaning? And what if you lean and the support is taken away, or not there? Will you fall? …

 

Teaching the other day, I noticed, as my pupil talked about the stress she was feeling from her friend leaning on her emotionally, that physically her whole structure de-powered too. Literally, within the thoughts of the emotionally difficult situation, she lost her inner power, her poise, her balance, her solidity, her ‘self’. She described herself as crumpling and withering under the strain of the relationship. She looked in pain.

 

I have been developing my teaching over the years based on understanding the simplicity, power and application of Alexander’s direction ‘forward and up’. Much of this teaching is done hands-off, and came about from teaching Alexander Technique to children in a school context, where traditional ‘hands-on’ Alexander Technique is not possible.

 

As we took the ‘forward and up’ lessons into the consideration of the difficult situation, she became clearer and clearer about what was happening psycho-physically, observing the effects of the unbalanced relationship with her friend.  There were several ‘Aha’ moments. I then spontaneously decided to physically lean on her from the side. What happened? Well she started to collapse of course. I asked her to push back, to do what was needed to look after herself and not let herself be leaned on.

 

Something amazing happened.

As she pushed back and uprighted her own physical structure, mine righted itself too. We both stood side by side perfectly in balance. As the leaner, I literally ‘popped’ into balance as she came into balance.

We swapped roles, to observe how it felt being the leaner and the leaned upon.  We noticed that it takes a real mental and physical decision to decide not to be leaned on, but to look after your own balance instead. And that decision brought with it poise and a feeling of happiness.

 

It was a wonderful physical metaphor and moment, because it was so clear to us both that it is by learning to look after ourselves we truly look after another. We both felt whole and complete. (I am looking forward to doing more experiments with this, and wanted to write this blog as much for myself as anything so as to not forget.)

 

So those lyrics, perhaps rewritten would be ‘don’t lean on me if you need a friend’,  let’s help each other stand in our own truth, balance and power instead, even if it takes a bit of sustained conscious psycho-physical ‘effort’, a bit of a push from ground level to think ourselves up!

 

I came out of that teaching situation thinking for the umpteenth time that the Alexander Technique is wonderful –  so simple and profound, an ongoing journey of self discovery.

 

(Funny that the song ‘Lean on Me’ was written by a man named Bill Withers!)

 

If you have never had an Alexander Technique lesson, I would recommend it as number 1 on your 2018 bucket list! Find a teacher in your area.

 

www.kirstenharris.co.uk

Lessons and workshops available

Media downloads on my website

or join my blog

Chimps, Oil on Canvas by Kirsten Harris

www.kirstenharrisart.com

 

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Really Random Magic Show

This has been making me smile all week so I thought I would share a very quick story.

Last week I introduced Alexander Technique to a new group of 12 year olds.

 

My classes are interactive, with lots of experiments and I encourage questions and comments. Suddenly, out of the blue one of the boys said –

 

‘This is like being in some really random magic show! I don’t really understand what is going on, but it’s kind of interesting!’

 

And that is why I love my job.

If I can elicit that kind of a response in the first twenty minutes, I know I have won them over to being interested in learning and understanding the principles of Alexander’s amazing discoveries, which will be an invaluable asset for life in their ‘tool bag of life skills’ and hopefully ease some of the challenges of teenage life at high school.

 

More info – click here

BodyMagic_mobile

 

 

 

 

 

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Ki – How I Discovered Alexander Technique

Ki

 

Here’s a girl, nick-name Ki

Yup, a verse, all about me

A teenager who slumped and slouched

Growled and groaned, and then BIG OUCH!

My back packed up, could take no more

Age 24, in pain on the floor

 

It happened quite out of the blue

While turning for paper on the loo

That little twist, the final straw

My slumped tight muscles finally swore

 

Muscle spasm, extreme pain

The doctor came, but nothing gained

The collar to hold my neck was thick

The pills he gave me made me sick

Puking with a neck in spasm

My brain to body, there was a chasm

 

One day, a visiting friend, an actor

Showed me what was the matter

‘At drama college we learned Alexander Technique

So simple, profound, amazing, unique’

 

‘Let me show you how to lie

Your head on books, knees to the sky …

Just rest … let your mind begin to go …

Into your body, let it flow … ‘

 

‘The pain is your body shouting ‘KI LISTEN!’

There is no need to stay in prison

For that is what your body’s become

You’re stuck in your head, it’s really quite dumb!’

 

From that moment I could see

That Alexander Technique was for me

‘Let it go!’ I’d found a key

To learn to let my neck be free

 

Opening my thinking as I go

Not to arrive or be perfect, just to flow

To let my life a journey unravel

As freely forward and up I can travel

Noticing habits that put me wrong

Like a clamped up, held tight tongue

 

I’ve learnt this technique bit by bit

And am still learning, come to think of it

For there is no destination, perfect or right

It’s a moving journey, travelling light!

 

That was 30 years ago and I still LOVE Alexander Technique. If you would like o find out more why not check out my download BODY MAGIC here. 2 x 25 minute lessons for semi supine aka constructive rest.

[purchase_link id=”50″ style=”” color=”” text=”Purchase”]

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Mind the Gap!

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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Alexander Technique Is Like Harry Potter World!

‘Forward and Up Witch’

 

Today at school one of the children announced –

 

‘Alexander Technique is fun! You’re like a teacher from Harry Potter world Miss! Alexander Technique is Magic.’

 

(Funny how an image of the fuzzy haired bespectacled divination teacher Professor Trelawney, played by Emma Thompson, sprung to mind! And then the flash of a thought that I hope they don’t think I am like Snape!)

 

But saying Alexander Technique is like Harry Potter world – what can I say – I love my job!

 

Here are a few more quotes  from 12 – 14 year olds yesterday –

‘We are lucky getting this as you learn life lessons like how to ignore annoying people. When you stop reacting you become kind of invisible and that person stops trying to annoy you!’

 

‘Alexander Technique is like looking from a different perspective. You see things in a different way. It is like walking into a new room that you have not been in before and you go ‘Wow!’.  It is like the world stops and you can ‘fix’ things, the mistakes, and then carry on in the normal fast world feeling better.’

 

‘School is stressful. Alexander Technique helps me destress by being more aware of myself.’

 

‘Pressure builds up in a school day. Alexander Technique is like taking the plug out and everything returns to normal.’

 

‘When you are in the zone you can let your mind be free and new ideas come easily. You forget about things that are worrying you.’

 

‘Alexander Technique is like a soother for a sore throat – in that it relieves pains and tensions.’

 

Magic quotes from magic kids!

 

Parents –  there are a host of wonderful magical Alexander Technique teachers worldwide! Maybe your children will think Alexander Technique is like Harry Potter world too!

 

For a link to Body Magic media download for semi supine aka constructive rest aka ‘The Zone’ –  click here 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Naughty Step!

 

I had to share this insight from a teenager …..

 

Yesterday, during a constructive rest session requested by one of the teenage boys at the high school where I teach Alexander Technique, 17 year old Harry quipped-

 

‘Semi-supine is like a productive version of the naughty step!

When I was little I would be made to sit on the naughty step … I was always all hunched up, elbows on my knee, in a rage … ‘

 

‘Lying down doing Alexander Technique is giving me time out to think about what I have done during the day, the bad decisions I have made and let them go. Yup, it is like the productive version of the naughty step!’

 

He continued –

 

‘I have had some great epiphanies in semi-supine – like where I have been going wrong and just by taking time out I get an idea about how to do it and when I go back to it it works … like learning a difficult piece on the guitar, suddenly I can do it… You wouldn’t think time out this way would be productive, but it really is!’

 

Out of the mouth of babes!

Constructive rest – the productive naughty step!

 

Here is a link to a constructive rest download – enjoy time out on the ‘productive naughty step!’ CLICK NOW

 

 

 

 

 

 

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STOPPING – The Most Magical Gift of All!

Do you know how to rest constructively?

To stop, once a day, and give yourself the best gift of all?

 

To simply, quickly and effectively LET GO for a short period of time, so that you can bounce back into action with restored energy and vitality…

There is an old wisdom – Less is more…

 

Animals do!

My dog will power nap, she is not asleep.
In fact she is entirely alert but in a resting state.

Her body completely inactive, but her ears and other senses still listening.

She amazes me that after a few minutes she is full of beans again.

 

It is a great skill to learn.

And the best gift you can give yourself.IMG_6847

‘Maise and Me – Zoned and Boned’

 

HERE IS A QUICK GUIDE TO STOPPING CONSTRUCTIVELY AND CONSCIOUSLY –

 

 

GUIDE TO BODY MAGIC –

 

  • Know there is an optimum way to stop and rest. Lie as shown in the pictures – head resting on books so your head is not pulled back, nor are you giving yourself a double chin, knees up, hands on ribcage.

 

  • This constructive rest position provides maximum support and minimum stress for working muscles to release.

 

  • Putting your legs up on the sofa with your bum as close to the sofa as possible,  back on the floor, works well too. Be Warm.

 

  • We all need a bit of support now and then – give it to your self. Stop and lie down on the floor!

 

  • Like the childs game ‘Dead Lions’ (which I loved as a kid -the only one I seemed to be good at!) your job is to NOT move for up to 17 minutes! Stay still physically, but activate your brain in a new way mentally. We are finding a way to BE ZONED!

 

  • Being Zoned allows lots of wonderful magical things to happen in your body -intervertebral discs rehydrate (you will be taller when you stand up) adrenalin leaves the body (you will be less stressed) and your mind and muscles have a chance to let go into length. To really find neutral. Your happy state!

 

  • Five minutes resting constructively is better than NO minutes. Little breaks. YAY!

 

  • How do you get into the zone? Like an artist using a brush stroke loaded with magical paint,  brush mind attention through your own system, your muscles, your shapes, the curves and breaths of your body.

 

  • This will encourage your muscles to release into your NATURAL LENGTHENED EASE STATE.  You cannot do something to make your muscles LET GO, but you can think into them to trigger a release….. It works, the more you practise the easier you get!

 

  • Let Constructive rest BE YOUR DAILY EASE…. it is Body Magic and the Best Gift you can give your self. Mind about your self!

 

  • Stopping is a great place to start to ease out just about any situation.

 

 

TO HELP YOU GET ZONED…

GIVE YOUR SELF THE MOST MAGICAL GIFT OF ALL…

CLICK THE LINK HERE – BODY MAGIC

 

Enjoy resting!

 

MAY DOC002(23)

‘I Feel like I am floating!’

 

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Fancy That!

Fancy That!

by Kirsten Harris

 

‘When I say ‘I’m tired!’ I feel rather flat

But if I say ‘I’ve energy’ I do have! Fancy that!’

 

 

JULY DOC004(16)

 

 

‘Gently purring, resting easy

Neck a free releasing muscle stream

Body feels buttery and creamy

Letting go, a forward flowing dream’

 

*******

 

Animals know how to rest

How to let go

How to live the dream

 

Crazy Maisie, my darling cockerpoo, is currently passed out at my feet after a busy morning bossing me about to throw a ball.  Activity and rest, she knows the difference. Not so crazy Maisie…

 

But I can be tired and keep pushing myself to do more, silly human doing!

And then moan about being tired, and feel worse and worse. Daft person!

 

 

The two lined verse from the mouse reminds us that the words we say effect us…

 

This illustration from The Daily Ease 2017 calendar reminds us to let go…

 

What’s up? Asks a mouse….somethings wrong…

Ease up, feet up, rest easy….the mice advice…

 

Co-operation and friendship become easier…

The mice are not scared of the cat….

Fearlessly resting…

Do I fearlessly rest?

 

It is by learning to stop that we find change…

Stopping in the moment…

Stopping an unhelpful thought such as ‘I’m tired!’….

Stopping to rest…

Stopping to feel love…for one’s own loving heart….for the support around us…

Stopping to lie in semi-supine…

Stopping to love the feel of the releasing muscle stream available to all of us when we really allow ourselves to rest…

 

The cat knows!

Smiling purring puss..

The little mice know too!

Do you? Alexander Technique will show you how…

 

The Daily Ease reminds us how lovely it is to rest…

Hmmm, I fancy that!

 

***********

To buy a copy of The Daily Ease 2017 Calendar.

Alexander Technique wisdom for children, adults, cats and mice!

Click Here

 

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Your Future is Behind You

Your future is behind you…

It’s a mystery, the great unknown…

Back into your back…

Back and up…

 

It’s not in front of you, as we are always saying..

The past is in front of you…

You can see that….

No mystery there….

 

I only get anxious when I look at my future through the lens of my past…

When I think about the space behind me no anxiety…

The space behind is empowering, exciting, mysterious., potential..

 

A magical place

A place unknown

For me to be creative in

Expand into

Create my future…..

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Don’t just slump there – Ease out!

Don’t just slump there – Ease out!

Don’t just do something – Stop!

If you are reading this you may well be slumping, crouched over your phone or computer

Ease out a bit

Lie down in semi supine for a few minutes

a slump book 025

Time out to tune in! Who knows what inspiring ‘radio’ waves you may receive.

And if you need a little inspiration and encouragement have a listen to

the download of Body Magic on my website

as you let yourself stop!

click here

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

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7 Excellent reasons to treat yourself to an Alexander Technique media download today

7 Reasons to listen to my popular audio downloads – Body Magic and Breathe

 

My two audio downloads have proved popular with my students as an aid learning the Alexander Technique.

 

7 reasons to treat yourself to a media download today.

 

1 – It’s easier to lie in semi supine and let go with someone guiding you through the directions of your body

2 – Listening brings you easily into the present moment where change occurs

3 – You have an Alexander Teacher at the press of play, for when you need a little help with a sore back, stress or just want to ease out. Take the Alexander Technique with you wherever you go.

4 – Repetition of listening develops the skills of letting go into your natural easy poise. You will want to press play over and over again….

5 – ‘Body Magic’ guides you through a magical inner journey, teaching you to think in a way that encourages your body to let go into it’s natural lengthening and widening free elastic state. You will feel easier and easier.BodyMagic_mobile

6 – Breathe teaches you how the breath influences your entire system. Understanding the anatomy of breathing we easily release into an expanded lengthening and widening state. Ahhhh, its as easy as breathing…Spiral_mobile

7 – And lastly because the Alexander Technique is a wonderful life skill that I sincerely believe everyone should learn. These two audio downloads will set you off on your Alexander Technique journey and support you if you are already a student of the Amazing Alexander Technique.

 

More information about audio downloads on my website www.kirstenharris.co.uk

[purchase_link id=”50″ style=”button” color=”orange” text=”Body Magic” direct=”true”]

[purchase_link id=”26″ style=”button” color=”blue” text=”Breathe” direct=”true”]

Both approximately 50 minutes divided into two self contained lessons

 

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Full Stop!

 

stopping 001

The Art of Change – Stopping is a Good Place  to Start!

 

If we keep doing the same thing in the same way we will keep getting the same result! FM Alexander

 

So how do we change when our habits keep us in the same place? Alexander Technique’s position of mechanical advantage ‘semi- supine’ is a good place to start. Just stop, let go and change starts to occur without you having to do anything. Give it a try!  A little bit of everyday magic and in the words of one of my 12 year old high school Alexander Technique pupils ‘It’s a Relaxative!’

 

So if you want to change, your mood, your thinking, your physical condition. Put a full stop on your activity and lie down in semi-supine for 15 – 20 mins.

Enjoy! It’s Easy!

 

Body Magic Download available here

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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!

 

 

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Smile with your Ears!

Smile with your ears!

It’s a thought.

Makes mine feel more open, more receptive.

Hearing the space between the sounds.

Smiling ears, smiling listening

 

Oh and listen to this – it helps the skull to balance on the head… Eerie!

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Smile with the Back of your Neck

Smile with the back of your neck!

What the heck!

Just a thought…

It transformed me…

and it feels good!

Body Magic Download here

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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.

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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..

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