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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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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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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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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!

 

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My downloadable lessons –

Body Magic

Breathe

Walking with Your Horse

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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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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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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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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Rider Review of Walking with Your Horse CD

I have used Kirsten’s CD  Walking With Your Horse for several years now, and, although I have not  listened to it when riding, the approach that it teaches has proved very beneficial to both my riding and my general attitude.  

Whenever I have found myself in a tricky situation, e.g. when riding a slightly skittish horse across a wide and unfamiliar field accompanied by a fairly inexperience young rider, employing the breathing technique, letting myself down into my saddle and keeping my vision wide and trying to achieve loving eyes enabled both riders and horses to proceed to their destination without any mishap   In fact as I engaged my training I felt my horse relax beneath me and a potentially hairy moment passed without my companion being aware that anything could have been amiss.

I also have Kirsten’s CDs of “Breathe” and “Body Magic” with which I unravel myself from time to time.  

AMB (Alexander Technique student)

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Hurry Up Habit!

Hurry Up! Hurry Up! Hurry Up!

HURRY UP!!!!!

Can you feel the pressure in the words?

Do you give yourself hurry up instructions?

Is it really necessary?

Slow down

slow

slow

slow down

for a breather!

It might just speed you up…..

Now there’s a thing!

Breathe Media Download – Here to help you!

 

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