Taking A Walk Down Easy Street

Have patience. All things are difficult before they become easy. – Saadi

As I was walking in my neighborhood yesterday evening, I experimented with some new Alexander Technique directions, based on an idea that originated with Alexander Technique teacher Imogen Ragone. She has cleverly synthesized Jenniifer Roig-Francoli’s Freedom Directions with Mio Morales’ prosses of noticing ease in your body.*

Imogen suggested: “I am free to notice ease in my feet.”

I had earlier done some experimenting with this direction and the results were quite striking.  So I thought I’d take it to the next level.

But…before I describe that, a reminder that effective self directing requires softness of thought, no direct intent to actually make the direction happen, and as little attachment in the moment as possible. (You can learn more about Alexander Technique directions and the art of directing at New Directions in Alexander Technique Directing.  In addition, Imogen’s Face Book group, BodyIntelligence Community,  often contains helpful information on this type of thinking.)

With that in mind, I’ll go through two direction sequences I used. I generally used each individual direction within the sequences for a few seconds before moving on to the next.  These sequences are in no way meant to be an established procedure, but I do believe they can provide an powerful framework within with to explore F. M. Alexander’s method of self improvement.

Here are the two sequences I explored as I was walking:

Sequence 1:

“I am free to notice the ease in my feet”

“I am free to notice the ease in my legs”

“I am free to notice the ease in my pelvis”

“I am free to notice the ease in my torso and neck”

“I am free to notice the ease in my head and jaw”

“I am free to notice the ease in my tongue”

“I am free to notice the ease in my eyes”

At this point I’d continue walking for perhaps a minute or so and then use the following reverse sequence:

Sequence 2:

“I am free to notice the ease in my eyes”

“I am free to notice the ease in my tongue”

And so on, ending with:

“I am free to notice the ease in my feet?

Again, after walking a bit, I would start the first sequence again.

My experience with these sequences is that each direction seemed to build on the previous ones.  At the end of the walk I felt that I was indeed moving with a great deal more ease and freedom.

Please feel free to explore these sequences, and their individual components on you own.

Your comments/suggestions are most welcome – either below and/or on Facebook.

*My preliminary take on why this synthesis is so powerful is that it’s a helpful way to inhibit any subtle ideas you might have about “helping out” with the direction.

OK, this is totally off topic, but I couldn’t help humming this great country song, written and originally sung by Freddie Hart, as I was writing the blog. This is Loretta and Conway’s version:

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Comments

Taking A Walk Down Easy Street — 8 Comments

  1. This is really interesting and I will try it out when I’m next out walking. I can sense just by reading the directions that they will work. I would be interested to have your further comment on your phrase ‘it’s a helpful way to inhibit any subtle ideas….’. For some reason I felt slightly uneasy about that sentence and I’m just trying to unpick why. You seem to suggest that the giving of these directions may be a helpful way to ‘inhibit any subtle ideas….of helping’. In other words, that the giving of the directions could bring about the process of inhibition. I feel the inhibitory act always has to be the primary one, the top of the chain, coming from within and cannot be the result or bi-product of some other agent. The directions you are speaking of may *prevent* subtle ideas from taking over but I don’t think they can be said to *inhibit* subtle ideas from taking over. Inhibition has to be the primary act in the sequence which then itself becomes the volitionary act (of giving directions, moving or whatever). It never becomes a static state, it is a portal for the next action. It’s not easy to make myself clear here, but would welcome your comments.

    • Thanks for you comments Caroline. And let me know how the directions work for you.

      For me there is no difference between preventing and inhibiting – I could just as easily have written “..to prevent any subtle ideas…” Just thought I’d use a little AT terminology 🙂

      Robert

      • Thanks Robert. I’m ill in bed with flu at the moment (third week). We have an epidemic in the UK! Whilst lying in bed I imagined going for a nice walk and giving the ‘I am free to notice the ease…’ directions. It was a really delightful experience and I also noted that I stopped coughing for the duration of my ‘walk’, which was very welcome! I will explore some more. Meantime, as far as inhibition and prevention are concerned, I had made an assumption that we would have the same concept of inhibition – but we don’t! This is a good lesson to learn.

        • That’s fantastic Caroline! I hadn’t thought of that – very indirect! – process.

          And, of course, the basic idea of that kind of sequence can be applied to ANY activity. I happen to like using walking (and swimming) as frameworks to explore directing.

          Robert

  2. I love this, Robert. This is just the kind of sequencing I use all the time, including in my latest audio, the Power Pause. I sometimes also use the phrase, as in the audio, “I am free to notice ANY ease in my ____” starting out for people who my be averse to noticing ease somewhere that feels tense or tight. It seems to make it a bit easier (ha) to acknowledge that there might be some ease available. Thanks for writing this – fantastic!

    • Thanks Imogen – for your comment and for inspiring the blog.

      I can see that adding the “ANY” might be helpful in the way you suggested. I’ve found that using the basic direction “I am free to notice ease in my ___ ” works particularly well for parts of me, or processes within me, that I almost certain NOT be able to consciously notice. For example, when swimming, “I’m free to notice ease in my spine” works very well, I suspect in part because, in fact, I’m not AWARE of noticing anything in my spine. Which, of course, doesn’t mean there isn’t some noticing somewhere deep within my cranial vault!

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