The day after the tenth anniversary of the events of September 11, 2001 I find myself struggling to come up with anything refreshing to write about, so overwhelmed by the poignant memories of it all, but then just as I’m about to give up, presto–it happens!
I remember the Alexander Technique, a way of learning how to get rid of harmful tension in the body. Fitting indeed.
This morning, a sombre Monday in London, I head for Pimlico (the next neighbourhood over from me) in a semi-hobble for my second lesson at the Pimlico Centre for the Alexander Technique.
This is the great thing about living in what I call London proper; I’m surrounded by amenities ranging from posh coffee shops to fantastic therapeutic centres. Even stormy weather doesn’t blight the selections.
So off in the whipping wind I go and arrive earlier than expected. Better slip into the coffee shop across the street and yes, order a steaming mug of coffee, which they tell me I can take over to the Centre with me. Why not? Everyone else does. All I need to do is drop the mug off after my treatment.
This is London.
Already feeling less tense, I arrive at the Centre and immediately raise the issue of my hobble with my instructor, though it isn’t a sore foot that has led me to her. It is a frozen shoulder, which she remembers from last week.
Having tried physiotherapy and this and that kind of massage, I haven’t had any luck thus far in getting this shoulder to defrost. And again, she reminds me that if it is luck I am counting on for regaining control of muscles, I’ll be waiting for a very long time.
The Alexander Technique happens by design and it happens in the mind. Yep, it is all about thinking about changing habits of a lifetime, precisely the way we move our body. From sitting to standing, to walking to running, body movements take energy. And quite frankly, it wouldn’t hurt most of us to look at better use of this energy.
Why make ten movements when you can make two for less wear and tear on the body. There, I’m already loosening up the way I type, which will not only save me having to replace my keyboard so soon, but also it will save my hands, arms and shoulders a lot of aggravation.
As for my ailing foot, I am thinking as I walk: ‘ball of the foot first, heel last’ for less pressure. Blimey, it works. Honestly, but don’t go getting ahead of yourself. Changing habits takes time, even with the Alexander Technique, a learning process unto itself.
Let’s face it the body is complex.
But to its credit, the Alexander Technique has been proven to have long-term benefits and is practiced the world over. All the same, I did consult with my doctor on my diagnosis before taking the matter into my own hands. I mean my own mind, and if I must say so myself, I am feeling a lot less tense already.