Imagine you are playing badminton – or any sport or exercise class of your choice – and you discover your right shoe looks like this:
What is your response?
Ok, it probably involves some swearing and cussing, and choosing a new pair of shoes, but what then?
Do you ignore it and carry on, or do you see it as significant? What caused the shoe to split like that? It’s not an old shoe, the underneath is hardly worn (I’ll spare you more photos; just take my word for it). The left shoe isn’t split at all. The right shoe isn’t split anywhere else, and it’s a very strange place for a shoe to break.
And there’s another thing. Every now and again you get a stabbing pain in your foot. Your right foot. Just at the side, exactly where that shoe has split.
I call that a clue.
A clue that, just like FM Alexander, it is something you are doing while playing badminton that is the cause of your problem(*). It may be twisting your foot, or rotating your hip, or misaligning your whole body weight. Chances are you won’t be aware of it when it happens. But over time the repetition of that extra, unnecessary something is going to give you more problems than just needing a new pair of shoes.
What FM Alexander did is learn to stop this extra something. And that’s what all Alexander students are doing, learning to stop the extra somethings that are sneaking up on them and causing them problems.
You may not know what these ‘extra somethings’ are. But there will be clues scattered throughout your life. And you can learn to spot the clues, and learn to stop the sneaky extra somethings.
(*) It’s one of the most famous Alexander quotes “the cause of my throat trouble was to be found in something I was doing myself when I used my voice.” (The Use Of The Self, FM Alexander, IRDEAT edition p.417, similar quote on p.412) He was on stage reciting, rather than playing badminton, but the principle works for just about every possible human activity.