Try any of the ideas below, for a little taste of what Alexander can be like, and a freer, calmer body and mind right now.
1. Are you breathing?
Just notice, right now, as you read this, what’s happening with your breath.
You might be tempted to do something about it – maybe take a deep breath, or sigh out – but see if you can just observe without changing anything.
Do you hold your breath as you look at your phone or computer screen? Many of us do.
How are your jaw and your mouth – teeth, tongue, lips, chin? Often, just asking the question will show up the tension and then let it release, no more effort required.
Remember that as well as the screen, you can see the room or space you’re in, and what’s in the distance – your peripheral and distance vision, as well as the focussed vision on the text you’re reading. You don’t have to try for this ‘global’, panoramic, depth vision – we just have it, when we remember not to block it. You might want to stop reading for a minute, consciously let yourself look softly at the horizon, remember that you have soft, fuzzy, peripheral vision to your left and right and up and down as well as the focussed vision in front. Notice what your breath does now – is it a little easier, softer, fuller? How does that feel? Like a relief? Calmer, better?
Remember your whole body – feet on the ground, buttocks and back on the chair, the whole shape of your breathing body in space.
Go back to your day, and in the course of the day, when you notice your breath is held, just let yourself softly and quietly breathe out – no fuss, just let the air out.
Come back to these thoughts whenever you have a pause in your day. See if you feel better for letting yourself breathe.
2. Find your sitting bones
Sit on a hard chair – a dining chair or office chair is fine. Sit on your hands, palm side up. See if you can feel, under your buttocks and towards the middle, two bones that are like the rockers of a rocking chair, pointing front to back. Take your hands away. You will instantly have more upright, more relaxed posture. If you do one side and then the other, you can feel the difference between a torso with a clear sitting-bone and a torso sitting on a kind of vague bottom-cushion. Now you’ve found them, even when you’re in public you can just remember or think about where they are, without feeling them, and it will help you sit better.
3. Be a rag-doll
Now you know where your sitting-bones are, come towards the front of the chair so your feet are flat on the floor and you can feel the sitting-bones on the chair. Put a hand on your breast-bone (or just roughly in the middle of your chest). Look at your hand, allowing your head to get heavy and roll forward. Allow your heavy head to take your whole upper body slowly over your lap, letting go of the hand on your chest, so you end up with your upper body flopping over your lap, arms loose and dangling, head flopped forward and looking at or between your legs. Just imagine you’re a rag doll, and there’s no effort or tension in the upper body – all of it just flops. Breathe out (you can sigh if you want) and then just let the in-breath come in without trying to ‘take’ the breath. Breathe like this a few times. Enjoy the feeling of tension leaving the upper body. When you’re ready, come up slowly, almost one vertebra at a time, gently curling up to sitting. Let yourself adjust to being upright, and notice how easy and yet upright your posture feels now.
4. Suspend yourself from a thread
Now you’re sitting upright and relaxed on the chair. Add to this by putting a finger on the crown of your head, about in the centre. Take the finger away but still feel that point. Now imagine you’re suspended from an elastic thread, attached to your head and the ceiling.
Ah! Isn’t that nice? Can you feel your breath come in? Can you feel yourself a little less tired? Have this thought – ‘I’m suspended from the ceiling’ – multiple times a day, and each time feel your body release.
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