Harnessing your awareness superpowers with the Alexander Technique
Does your attention tend to freeze when you aren’t moving? How much of your day do you spend in one position or location without moving? Or, instead, perhaps you struggle to focus at all, and find that your mind wanders all over the place, making it hard to get anything done.
Neither one is better than the other, or inherently bad. But when you start to feel stiff and achy, or anxious and unsettled, knowing how to play with both of them will empower you to balance your own system as needed. Today’s video shows you precisely how to do that.
My recent newsletters are all about joy, a temporary but wonderful embodied state that can make a huge difference in your life. Holding on to joy is surely doomed to fail, just like holding on to one focus for too long can make you feel crappy.
That doesn’t mean you can’t cultivate it. Learning to have more agency, and more nuanced choices about the quality of your awareness and your movement is a beautiful way to create conditions for joy. There is no need for you to force, fake, or even to get attached to any particular physical or emotional state.
In fact, movement and joy are profoundly connected for us humans.
No matter how stiff, creaky, and stuck you might feel, it is possible to find cracks in your own armor with the Alexander Technique.
Here is what one of my students says about how that happens for her in my weekly dance class:
“You can get away from your pain and stiffness automatically, without trying. Every time I tune in to one of those Mobile Body Alignment Points™, it generates energy and I want to move. It’s crazy! It’s like wait – how did I get out of pain?”
– Susan Whitson, Alexander Technique Teacher
What Susan calls “tuning in” is a skill that so fundamental some folks don’t know it’s missing. That’s why I’m making this video series about the fundamental building blocks of awareness. It is designed to help my students practice on their own, and to give a helpful introduction to awareness superpowers for new people in my dance classes.
The first video focuses on whole body awareness.
It guides you on a journey through 5 fundamental structures of your body in a specific sequence: Spine, head, whole torso with all its contents, legs, and finally arms – looping back into your spine again.
It’s like getting on a roller coaster, a thrilling and joyful ride that lights up your whole body schema. This sequential flow of awareness is a practice called “direction sending” in the Alexander Technique. It is a distinct skill, separate from but indirectly affecting balance, posture, and movement.
In today’s second video, I look at the quality of your attention itself, exploring the transition from fixed focus to fluid focus.
In this video you will:
1. Recognize the difference between fixed and fluid attention.
2. Explore holding a fixed focal point, moving while keeping that focal point, continuing to move as you let go of it, and then continuing to move with fluid attention.
3. Use that experience as a platform to let your attention remain fluid as you transition into stillness, observing the impact of this practice on the felt sense of your body.
4. Realize the correlation between ease of movement and fluidity of attention, as well as knowing how to choose a fixed focal point with less strain.
You can enhance the simultaneous fluidity of both attention and movement with a little practice.
Humans need both fixed and mobile attention to function. However, fixed attention, when it becomes permanent, can be correlated with the “freeze” state that is considered a trauma response.
It’s wonderful to observe both states and practice moving from one to the other. It is liberating to have a choice.
Keep an eye out for the next video in this series in which I’ll combine direction sending and fluid attention with breathing!