Last week I talked about a sneaky Alexander trap that lies in wait when you’re approaching the extreme end of any particular movement. A long stretch, a big twist, a deep bend, take your pick. At some point the movement gets hard, so you ‘achieve’ the last little bit by moving something completely different. Like sticking your chin forward when you want to be stretching out your arm.
Knowing about it is well and good, but avoiding it is better. So how do you avoid this trap?
1. Start by checking out your physical limits.
Every joint and every limb does have a maximum limit of movement in any one direction. Once you’ve reached that limit, you can’t force it any further. Once your arm is straight, it won’t get straighter. Once your knee is fully bent it won’t get any more bent. And so on. So ask yourself whether what you are trying to do is physically possible.
2. If you have reached your physical limits:-
Reason out what else can help you do the job, and use that as well. It might be a different part of yourself, it might be a tool. If your arm is too short; elongate your spine, go right up on your toes, get as close to the cupboard as you can, get a stool or a toasting fork. If your shoulders won’t turn far enough, turn your lumbar spine and hips. If your arm won’t reach forward far enough, lean forward at the hips, turn your body to the side, bend your knee, move your foot. And so on. You have a lot of resources, so use them.
3. If you haven’t reached your physical limits:-
Find the point where it gets difficult. And when you reach that point, KEEP YOUR ALEXANDER THINKING GOING. The nature of the task has changed from something easy to something more physically demanding, but that is no good reason to fall back into your habitual thinking. You have already reasoned out the best means (assuming you’ve done points 1 & 2), they have not changed. All that lovely Alexander thinking process – KEEP IT GOING.