Post by Category : Constructive Rest

On Taking Space – Creativity and the Alexander Technique

I have failed as a teacher to do lockdown! A daft thought of course but I haven’t taught anyone on zoom. I haven’t learned online. I haven’t been to a zoom party. I’ve barely turned on the TV to watch marvellous inspiring people be marvellous and inspire and as for the news, thats a no from me! It’s been my choice to minimise engaging with life through a screen.

But during the storm last weekend I put on Talking Pictures TV to watch old black and white movies whilst drawing and realised why I had made this choice as I found myself shouting at Steven Fry’s asking for money, many times repeated MIND advert, telling us that we are all going to have long term mental health problems!

‘No we are bleeping not! Stop casting a ridiculous negative spell on the entire nation you fool! I thought you were intelligent, don’t you know anything about thinking?!’ Sounding of course vaguely bonkers yelling at the TV, but the dog didn’t seem to mind!

I was telling the telly off because I truly believe it is essential to not tune into a negative or fearful consciousness. We are sold fear all over the place.

It strikes me, that this is where the Alexander Technique is particularly brilliant.

It teaches us to be able to separate our thinking to notice what is fear, with its accompanying turmoil and tension; what is love, with its accompanying joy and ease and what is creativity with it’s accompanying potential and beckoning journey. 

At the beginning of this a friend said to me ‘I’m feeling frightened.’ My spontaneous response was ‘I’m feeling chickens.’ My creative voice took charge. I wasn’t about to buy into her fear to empathise and console and I wasn’t feeling love so I chose creativity instead. The creative voice said chickens, so chickens it was. When we listen to the creative voice it has an amazing tendency to surprise and delight.

I believe in life we always have this choice available! Creativity is a voice that lands unbidden and surprises us, ideas that arrive unannounced and waken us up. Inspiration is like breath, nourishing.

I believe if we allow ourselves to be fearful or absorb other peoples fear, we can’t hear the whispers of our own creativity. We get blocked. And sometimes stretching to loving a challenging situation can be difficult, but creativity is always there waiting. Can you imagine how brilliant it would be if we all believed in the magic and power of creativity? If we all learned to listen to our inner creative genius?

For me, lying in semi-supine aka constructive rest for a few minutes a day, and particularly in the vague moments, the unsure moments, the tired times to give time and space for a rest, allows not only all that negative stuff to subside but the door of creativity to swing open. 

As the late great Alexander Technique teacher Don Burton often said with regards self care –

“If you don’t have to stand, sit! And if you don’t have to sit, lie down!’ 

Love Kirsten 

PS. And when we listen to creativity love can find us. I truly love my two chickens, Bunty and Jinty, my lockdown heroines.

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Media Downloads – Body Magic – link here and Breathe  – link here

Title Illustration – Nineteen Corvids


‘Nineteen Corvids’ by Kirsten Harris

www.kirstenharrisart.co.uk

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And Breathe

About a month ago my 83 year old mother announced to me –

‘I’ve been listening to the news. If you can hold your breath for twenty minutes you don’t have the virus, and I can hold mine that long!’

I burst out laughing.

‘Wow mum, twenty minutes, really? That’s amazing!’

She started laughing too!

‘Oh twenty seconds!’ she giggled.

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It struck me as useful advice and I could see that the simple instruction about the breath had given mum confidence, but also that it could be refined and built on with some Alexander Technique awareness.

I have been doing lots of breath work and ‘whispered ah’s’ this month, more than usual, both at rest and in activity. It has helped me stay calm and confident.

Increasing one’s understanding and awareness of the mechanism of breathing and consciously activating the power of the breath seems like a jolly sensible thing to spend a little time doing everyday right now!

Breath out, let go, energise and keep your airways functioning in optimal condition…

Change starts with an out breath! Let it be slow as though breathing on a dandelion clock letting the seeds float forward and up into the breeze as smiling you make a beautiful long wish…

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I have a media download that talks you through breathing and the wonderfully helpful ‘whispered ah’ in two twenty five minutes lessons. The download is called Breathe. It is packed with useful anatomical information and awareness of how your breath works to promote ease. Sharing the link here.

Take care and stay safe

Love Kirsten

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Inhibition and a Cup of Tea

I am changing one small habit that drives me nuts and that is – not to use every cup in the house every day and end up with an unnecessary pile of washing up! One mouth, one mug! Dah!

A small, simple habit to change – you would think! But a habit is a habit, and habits tend to be largely unconscious.

This decision to change one small thing is part of a larger enquiry in my thinking around inhibition, in the Alexander Technique sense of the word. 

Can I really pause right now to allow the possibility of change?

Can I really not know what is on the other side of the pause and be totally OK with that?

Can I allow pausing to be a beautiful inhibition, so it informs my future actions and decisions from a place of ease, calm, awareness and creativity?

What happens if I simply pause?

Pause, pause and pause again.

One thing I have learned from being around horses is – in a crisis, inhibit!

Don’t rush in, pause, take time to think, assess, stand back, observe, breathe, let go…. before you move forward. Horses are fright and flight animals too!

A couple of weeks ago I heard a young lad gleefully chanting – ‘Yay, crony holidays, crrronnnahnahnahholleeeedayyyys!’ 

His mother looked balefully at the cashier – ‘I don’t need loo roll I need vodka if I am going to be stuck at home with the wains!’

We all laughed!’ 

The boys happy chant has been a positive ear worm in my head cutting through more strident adult catastrophizing! None of us know what happens next, not ever, not really. What happens now?

In the boys world he was being given space to play. In his world he was being given space for something new and joyful to happen. In his world he was seeing freedom not fear. In his world he was seeing unexpected change as exciting and full of potential. In his world he was happy and making people smile.

So, back to my theme of a cup of tea –

My first Alexander Technique teacher, Astrid Cox, said to me all those years ago when I arrived for lessons in agony – lie down in semi supine at least once a day. To create a new ‘looking after yourself’ habit replace one cup of tea a day with letting go in semi supine. Let go into the unknown. Just let go. It will be more refreshing and more useful to you than anything else you choose to do right now.  

Her words still resonate.

And of course savouring a cup of tea is always good in a crisis too!

Take Care, Love Kirsten

Links for letting go here

PS. Hopefully less washing up will mean less chipped mugs. My poor Daily Ease mug! Here is the other side of it…

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Body Magic and Breathe – audio link here


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Anatomy of a Dandelion Seed

A seed lets go

Drifting in the wind

It has no idea where it is going

It lets itself flow 

Taken by the gust

Maybe up

Maybe down

It does not judge

Landing someplace

It falls into the earth

Deeper and deeper 

Days pass

Buried in darkness

Waiting without judging

Trusting that this is love

It has no fear

For now it has returned home

And then the light comes

Warming the earth

The seed pushes his way up through the soil

Unfurling his leaves

Stretching out

Realising how much he has grown

His head is still a tight bud 

Looking inwards

So he lets go once more

Smiling to the sun

And radiates all that is golden 

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Image – Seeds of Love. Copyright Kirsten Harris. www.kirstenharrisart.co.uk

Body Magic – letting go link

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Art, Heart, Earth – Horizontal and Vertical Directions


I dreamt about Don Burton last night. Walter Carrington and some other teachers were there too.  Don gave me an AT turn. It started seated, my head dropped forward onto a table in front. I was full of grief. He gently encouraged my skull into balance. I knew it was Don working on me. I could feel the subtle, powerful direction in his hands. He wasn’t dead, but very much alive and real. He worked on me for about half an hour in sitting and semi supine and in my sleep I knew I was restored.
..

The Vertical and the Horizontal directions –

I had an insight the previous evening – that my vertical directions are open, clear and pretty balanced due to having inhabited awareness of the vertical directions for so many years. But the horizontal directions are incomplete!

In Alexander lingo we describe he horizontal directions as ’widening across the upper arms’ or ‘knees forwards and away’ both of which are fantastically useful.

However my insight is that the horizontal plane of awareness travels through our physical form at the heart. It is, for want of better words, a spatial beam of direction which travels out from the heart front to back, back to front. Like shafts of light, a portal, a road…  like the great horizon stretching in all directions connecting all things as far as the eye can see and as far as the eye can’t see!

The direction of our heart on earth, the heart’s horizon therefore include the past and the future.

If the heart directions are blocked, the blockages are going to manifest as anxiety, cortisol reactions, fear of the future, resentments from the past etc. In the same way that lack of freedom through the vertical planes is likely to manifest as back-ache, stress etc.

‘Direction’ is the art of the Alexander Technique – our ability to expand our thinking in all directions in a non-doing way that allows our selves to be free to move and to live whole-hearted.

The clogging of the heart plane direction is I suspect causing a huge rise in anxiety in the population. Drugs are often prescribed!

That the heart directions are often clogged or blocked seems evident to me by the commonplace destruction and throwing away of resources in our recent past and our mass anxiety about our future.  We have become addicted as a population to ‘the now!’ I believe this ‘I want it now’ attitude is a source of great unhappiness. Where lies value if we have no past or future?

So, the vertical directions of the Alexander Technique allow the head neck back to balance and inform the present tense – how we do what we do.

The horizontal direction travel through our heart, and include an awareness of past and future, creating a multi dimensional awareness. Time and life span are included in these directions. Perhaps we could say this is the why we do what we do.

So, what happens if we let our understanding of our Alexander directions develop through the heart? What if we release the stuff that is stored in our heart and allow the heart to be free?

Letting our bodies visit the horizontal plane regularly with sleep and semi- supine is good for our vertical health. I suggest we also visit the horizontal plane of awareness through developing our heart directions, and learn to see with the hearts eye, in a way that includes, loves and honours the past and the future. For how else are we going to learn to stop being so selfish and in so much heart pain as a population!

Past, present, future – art, heart, earth…

Don Burton, quoted from memory – ‘We as teachers need to make ourselves redundant! A world that no longer needs Alexander Teachers will be a good place to live, a happy world where people and not pulled down by fear, habit and resignation! Can you imagine it? It is not going to happen in my lifetime! Never make excuses – just teach, the world needs good teachers!’ (Don Burton, 1943 – 1996 – Anatomist, Alexander Technique Teacher, Physiotherapist)

Links to Body Magic and Breathe audio downloads.

(I am working on ideas for drawings for 365 Days of Ease Calendar 2021. If you’re interested perhaps subscribe to my blog.)

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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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The Encyclopaedia of Ease A – E

Do you know your a, b, c’ease?

Welcome to the Encyclopaedia of Ease…

A

Anatomease – An easier way to live in your body by knowing the bones and joints and having a clear understanding of how you co-ordinate and move.

Anxietease – An easing of anxiety by deciding that feelings of anxiety and excitement are quite similar and that worry is never productive. Choosing happy loving thoughts wherever possible instead. Aka stress puppease!

Stress Puppy by Kirsten Harris
Copyright

Alexander Techease – A group of people who live their life applying and teaching the deep space ease principles of Alexander Technique.

Artease – A state of well being from which ideas flow, ideas which often just appear especially when thinking about balance or are lying in semi supine. Also an arty person possibly covered in paint, carrying an instrument or wearing loose clothing, often drawn to studying the Alexander Technique.

Awarenessease – falling into a blissful state as though floating free. This delicious state can be easily brought about by having the hands of skilled Alexander Techease placed on your head, neck or back in the course of a lesson. Can also be found in your own space by easing out.

I Feel Like I am Floating by Kirsten Harris
Copyright

Achillease Heal – knowing that owning and loving your weak spots is strength in disguise.

B

Buddease – A feeling of happiness and joy in the easy going company of friendly people. Knowing that what we think about each other affects each others well-being so choosing inclusive thoughts knowing we are all connected and therein lies freedom.

Boobease – A feeling of utter relief at the end of the day when you undo your bra!

Babease – Realising you are no longer and possibly never were a ‘babe’ and really don’t care. Also includes the perfection of very small humanoids especially when peacefully sleeping or chuckling.

Brease – Realising there is magic in the air, breathing out and letting life be a breeze! Ah ha!

C

Creativitease – Allowing creativity to emerge by knowing that everyone and everything is creative as creativity is a living quality.

Complexetease and Challengease – Life is sometimes a bit tricky so choosing to get back into your back as a way of unravelling and sorting out stuff aka getting zoned!

Zoned by Kirsten Harris
Copyright

D

Doggease – Canine chums who easily give unconditional love and friendship, always happy to see you, go for a walk or get zoned with you. The best kind of friends. Also puppease.

Dailease – A decision to choose ease on a daily basis doing everyday stuff. Also the name of my blog, The Daily Ease. Why not join for more Alexander Technique brilliancease!

Danceease – putting on funky music and having a boogie in your front room not caring what you look like. Very freeing to combine with boobease, see above! Dancease can also be done with familiease, kiddease, laddease, lassease, mummease, daddease, grannease and doggease! But kittease will probably object!

Difficultease – interesting times to practice ease, for instance when administering a pills to objectionable kittease!

E

Exercisease – letting go of thinking you have to do exercise for exercise sake and instead just incorporating exercise into your everyday life by simply being active, doing what you love, helping others and looking after the planet. Easy Peasy!

Ease – absence of difficulty or effort!

More of these nonsensease coming soon ….

Forward and up!

www.kirstenharris.co.uk – downloadable lessons in the Alexander Technique. Also Skype.

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

Copyright Kirsten Harris 24/6/2019

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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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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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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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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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Happy Hibernating

Polar Bears, Watercolour by Kirsten Harris

 

‘Winter, a time for hibernation.’  The familiar warm tones of David Attenborough’s voice over … an idea begins to form. Teaching Alexander Technique at school, as we approach the shortest day of the year, we talked a little about hibernation before a semi supine session, likening our constructive rest as being a 20 minute hibernation for humans. A time to snuggle up and drop deep inside, like a bear in a cave, finding our own inner place. A quiet cosy at home place that is really necessary to access in the long cold dark winter months here in Scotland. 

 

The bear in a cave analogy worked well with the 11- 13 year olds on many levels. Sometimes it takes a few minutes for the children to settle, being easily distracted by each other. ‘The bears are popping their heads out of the caves again!’ 

 

I asked them to think about the long bones of the body as passages and caverns of their inner cave, the head being the entrance and to begin to explore the depth and design of their hibernating place before letting their thoughts come to settle by the warm glow of their hearts. To enjoy resting by the flames of the inner fire that is keeping them warm and cosy and safe.  Aware simply of this beautiful warmth and their breathing, taking a bit of time out from the world, from school. No need to do anything, winter can go on without you for now.

 

A deep sense of ease and peace was palpable in the room. 

 

One child commented that every time a thought about the outside world popped into her head she imagined putting it on a leaf and letting it float downstream on the river outside her cave. Nothing from the outside was to come in as she hibernated.  Beautiful!

 

‘Slowly spring emerges and hibernation is over.’ David Attenborough’s voice over is in my inner ear again …

 

After your 20 minutes human hibernation let spring emerge slowly. Know that your muscles will be more springy as they have had a chance to release into length on the floor. You will be in better shape, physically, mentally, emotionally. Move with a yawn, yawn with a stretch, enjoy exploring your surroundings anew after your hibernation, refreshed and more at ease after your rest …

 

This winter I invite your daily ease to be 20 minutes inner hibernation in semi supine. Take time out to settle by the fire of your inner cave and perhaps give your self a mind’s eye bear hug for a year well done!

 

Happy hibernating

Love 

Kirsten 

 

For a voice over to encourage your inner hibernation in semi supine, here are links to my recordings –

Body Magic

Breathe

 

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Good Morning Here I Am …

There are many ideas for morning meditations and rituals to set up your day. I love this simple idea that was given to me by an Omani student, taught to him by his grandfather.

 

On waking sit for two minutes in a chair to simply appreciate that you have a body, a physical presence and that you are here  …

 

… Oh wow I have feet

look how they move

amazing how they fall out of my legs to the ground

toes so wriggly

Look at my fantastic hands

The shape, the complexity, the feel

My breath, my heartbeat, I am alive

This body is amazing ….

 

Two minutes appreciation of the wonderful amazing being that you are!

 

Good morning, here I am!

 

Body Magic 

 

 

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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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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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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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Alexander Technique Drawings

Page from The Daily Ease – A Walk in the Wood Colouring Book

 

I have been slowly working away creating images that hopefully express Alexander Technique in a fun way. A task that I find exceedingly challenging, but very engaging.

 

One teacher, who phoned to ask to use one of my cartoons to promote her work within the BBC, said ‘the Alexander Technique needs more images with a sharp wit like these.’ Amazing feedback!

 

Another teacher said I was wasting my time making art to promote our work!

 

An interesting difference of opinion.  I love Alexander Technique and how it can so simply and profoundly transform peoples lives. If I can do a wee bit to bring it into peoples field of attention via a cartoon or a verse or something else, yippee! To me that attempt is not a waste of time.

 

What do you think?

 

I plan to make more Alexander Technique inspired cartoons and drawings next year and I want to plant trees, to do my bit for this beautiful planet we live on!

 

This year I made an Alexander Technique inspired colouring story book for children and adults. All profits will be used to plant trees.The Daily Ease – A Walk in the Woods,  link here!

 

It is the sort of thing as a child I know I would have loved, and I think would have given me a ‘heads up’ on some useful thinking …

 

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‘Hedgehog – Feeling a Bit Prickly!’

detail from ‘The Daily Ease – A Walk in the Woods’

 

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‘News – Skeleton Slumps at Screen!’

FB logo for The Daily Ease – Alexander Technique.

 

 

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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.

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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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