A Perfect Demonstration

Last week I talked about what makes group classes so different, ie. the ability to watch and learn.  This week, I want to celebrate the wonderful students who came to that first class.

You see, they did watch, and they did indeed learn.

The lesson on how to drink the last of your wine from a glass without tilting your head way back went down a storm.   Everyone in the group could relate to that problem.  Everyone wanted to try it out, to experiment with which bits needed to tilt(*), how important it was (or wasn’t) to stick your elbow out, and to decide what beverage they were most likely to be drinking.

When one student chose a ‘getting out of a chair’ lesson, everyone had a go at locating their hip joints.  Even the people whose own lesson didn’t involve hip joints at all got to lean in their chairs to experiment with moving at their newly-found hip joints.

But the best part (for me at least) was when I asked the question, “Do I – as an Alexander teacher – care whether someone sits upright or slouches?”  The student on their very first lesson answered “Yes”.  Good answer.  The student who has just done the 8-week introductory course answered “No”.  Better answer.  The student who is now an old hand at this answered “It depends, on how they are doing it”.  Best answer of all.  I couldn’t ask for a better teaching opportunity.  It was my cue to do some hands-on work with the student in the teaching chair; after which the whole room could see that the slouch we now had was a completely different sort of slouch to the one we started with.

Recently Seth Godin talked about how standards, culture and raising the bar for achievement all become contagious when you are in a crowd of inquisitive, focussed peers (**).  What a perfect demonstration.

(*) We decided on wrist and arm for the most part.  Head only for the last mouthfuls, and then only very slightly.   But more if drinking from a can.
(**) If you can believe it, three days after I wrote last week’s blog, Seth Godin described how working in a group of like-minded people pushes you to become even better.

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CNHC and ITM registered Alexander Technique teacher.

Posted in Uncategorized
9 comments on “A Perfect Demonstration
  1. Helen Clarke says:

    This sounds a great session, Karen – wish I could be there!!!
    Helen xx

  2. Geetha.d says:

    Hi karen,
    for drinking a cup of wine alexander technique is necessary?

    After drinking a half bottle of wine is alexander directions are necessary to that drinker?
    I never tried?

    But what parts are necessary to drink?

    Fingers(for holding the wine cup)
    wrist(for moving the cup towards mouth)
    elbow( to adjust the wrist towards the mouth)
    shoulder blade,clavicle(for adjustment of elbow)

    spine,neck,head,back(torso) are for supporting the arm

    eyes to see the cup
    hip joints(for moving the torso and head towards the cup)
    BREATH( for sipping the wine into the mouth and to stomach)
    Feet(for supporting the hip joints torso).

    And many many more.

    What more else alexander technique can explain?

  3. Geetha.d says:

    Hi karen,
    for drinking a cup of wine alexander technique is necessary?

    After drinking a half bottle of wine whether alexander directions are necessary to that drinker?
    I never tried?

    But what parts are necessary to drink?

    Fingers(for holding the wine cup)
    wrist(for moving the cup towards mouth)
    elbow( to adjust the wrist towards the mouth)
    shoulder blade,clavicle(for adjustment of elbow)

    spine,neck,head,back(torso) are for supporting the arm

    eyes to see the cup
    hip joints(for moving the torso and head towards the cup)
    BREATH( for sipping the wine into the mouth and to stomach)
    Feet(for supporting the hip joints torso).

    And many many more.

    What more else alexander technique can explain?

    • Hi Geetha,
      You know, this sounds to me a lot like what FM Alexander described as “psycho-physical unity”. The whole body and mind is absolutely involved in every action – at least in a supporting sense. However, from the practical point of learning to improve our use, there is almost always benefit in choosing the body part(s) that need to be active for any given movement, and the role these parts need to play. Then we can work on our level of mental discipline to request these body parts to do their thing, while leaving everything else quietly playing a supporting role.

      The class did like the idea of experimenting with drinking wine. I carefully didn’t ask how many glasses it took them!

      You have some great thinking going on here
      Karen

  4. Marian Lund says:

    Glad your classes started off well Karen. Wish I could be there too but I’m on holiday. Putting Alexander Technique into practise whilst walking (doing a lot of it). Have decided I need to lengthen my back and neck, thus decompressing my spine, soften my footfall to reduce the jarring, relax my lower back, and let my hips swing freely. Seems to be helping my bad back, and actually feels good. Made me realize how hunched and full of tension I am usually. Good luck with your next class.

  5. Geetha.d says:

    Hi karen,
    thanks for your kind information.

    Fm told ,’the student should get experience of receiving the stimulus’ .

    In the present blog i think, that is a strong desire to drink the wine.

    Think of you and your husband are in a beautiful garden. There is nobody .
    Here, there is no external stimulus watching you .
    (the man or woman is the stimulus for us).

    How happy your mind, muscles will be?
    How much joy you both will be?

    Think of you started to returing home, you both caught in the traffic on the road.your car jammed.

    This and this is the real time to start giving alexander directions to over come the stimulus.

    In garden there is no misdirection , but in the traffic we get tense with the stimulus.

    I remembered one word from fm,
    ‘ normal speaking cause me no noticeble harm,while reciting does’ .

    In the same way ,
    ‘in garden iam happy,but in traffic why iam getting tense? ‘ .

    Experience of getting this,
    1. Traffic stimulus
    2. Boss stimulus
    3. Wine stimulus
    4.speaking stimulus

    are better scenarios to check out, what alexander technique can do for us?

    But, in garden there is no need to think more and more about FM.

    Do you have any information about the stimulus which helps me?

  6. Geetha.d says:

    Hi karen,
    i forgot to add,
    1. Sitting (sit) stimulus
    2. Standing (stand) stimulus
    3. Walking (walk) stimulus.
    4. Bending (bend) stimulus.

    Are fundamental experimentation FM , to know about what favour alexander technique do for us.

  7. Geetha, these are great examples. Hopefully the latest blog on Distractions helps. Karen

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