A couple of weeks ago, I embarked on my usual after-dinner walk. I’d had a long day of teaching and was feeling a little tired and generally low energy. My inclination was to skip the walk, but decided some fresh air would be good for me.
As I started my walk, I did something that’s become fairly habitual for me – I gently paid attention to what I was doing to myself as I walked, without trying to change anything.
Just gathering data, as a scientist might say.
The first thing that jumped out at me was that my footfalls seemed a bit heavy and that they coincided with a general pulling down throughout my body. Not a surprising revelation, but one that I approached this time a bit differently that I might usually have – by using general Alexander Technique freedom directions such as “I’m free.” Or “My neck is free.”(1)
I knew from experience that these would be helpful, but I decided to focus instead on my low energy level and see if there were an appropriate direction that would help more directly with that.
I’ve been experimenting with the effects of the gravitational force on me, and my students, for a long time, and more recently with the effects of the equal and opposite upward force exerted by the surface on which I was standing, walking or sitting. And I’d been pondering the fact that force and energy are, from a physics standpoint, directly related.(2)
So for this walk, I decided to start with “I am free to receive the force of gravity.” Immediately I sensed a kind of energy centered around my center of gravity (2 inches below the navel, in the middle of me front to back and side to side) that seemed to tone and to energize my legs and feet.
Then I thought to myself if force and energy are related, why not say instead: “I am free to receive the energy of gravity.” Pretty much the same results.
I then switched to: “I’m free to receive the the upward force from the ground.” which resulted in an internal expansion particularly noticeable in the upper half of my body. The same with “I’m free to receive the energy from the ground.”
I played around with alternating between the gravity and the earth support directions and then the obvious hit me: Both the force (and the energy) of gravity and the force (and the energy) of the surface I was on were ultimately generated by the earth – or, really, the Earth!
They were different kinds of forces and they were being applied to my body in different ways, but both were sources of free energy from the planet.(3) So why not condense the two: “I’m free to receive force (or energy) from the Earth” which produced the beneficial effects of both directions individually applied.
As my walk progressed, I noticed that I was feeling a lot more energetic than I had at the start. My speed picked up a bit, my footfalls were lighter, my breathing was freer and I had a sense of overall physical expansion.
I’ve been experimenting with these directions myself and with my students in a wide variety of activities as well as sitting, lying in bed, doing Constructive Rest, and the results have been universally positive.
(Having said that, I do go through a bit of the basic physics with my students first, and they usually say that helps with their understanding. You can quickly learn about this in the blog cited in Footnote 3 below.)
If you’re intrigued, experiment with these directions yourself. Very likely your results will differ from mine in their details, and they will also probably differ at different times for you.
Let me know what you discover!
(1) If you’re unfamiliar with Alexander Technique directions, and specifically how to use them, I’d suggest listening to at least the first of these BodyLearningCast podcasts: New Directions in Alexander Technique Directing
(2) Technically, Energy equals Force times the distance over which it is applied. As one physicist puts it, “A force exerted along a way yields energy.”
(3) More on this can be found at my previous blog, Life on Earth – Where Powerful Forces Collide and a series of BodyLearningCast podcasts, Gravity, Support and Freedom – And the Alexander Technique
Image courtesy of chrisroll at FreeDigitalPhotos.net