I’m fortunate that I don’t have to do a lot of driving, and most of my trips are only 15-20 minutes or so. But they do provide nice opportunities to put my Alexander Technique training into practice and I’ve come to use them as mini-lessons in self-awareness and self-direction.
A few examples:
When I’m driving I am also of course sitting. With all the challenges that can entail.
So when I remember to think about it, I ask myself questions like: Where are my sit bones?* What’s supporting them – and me? Am I making the best use of that support?
Just doing that, just lightly asking those kinds of questions, has an immediate beneficial effect on my posture. The effect will be different from one day to the next, but for me it’s always helpful.
If I want to get a little more pro-active I’ll experiment with an Alexander Technique direction, such as “I am free” or “My neck is free” and that too will always produce a little extra ease – provided, of course, I don’t try to actually do anything to try to help things along!**
Lately I’ve become a bit preoccupied with the way my hands hold the steering wheel. I’ve noticed that my right hand tends to push into the wheel a bit, and I’ve been experimenting with taking it off the wheel and then mindfully bringing it back and noticing the difference that makes in the grip, my left arm and shoulder and even my neck.
Sometimes I find it useful to remind myself that the car has power steering, and the steering wheel requires only the lightest contact, and very little force, to change direction. The dog in the photo above seems to understand that completely.
As a former economist, I’m always looking for efficiency – in what I do, and especially in the way I function. Using Alexander Technique awareness and self-direction is one of the best ways to do that, even in the most mundane activities of life – like driving to the store to pick up some organic pasta and a bottle of wine!
I’d love to hear how you use ordinary activities – brushing your teeth, mowing the lawn, chopping vegetables, perhaps – as platforms for self-discovery and self-improvement.
*Sitz bones, or sit bones, is the common name for the ischial tuberosity, and it’s the lowest of the three major bones that make up the pelvis (in Greek ischion means “hip”). It’s part of our pelvis designed to take our weight when we sit. Here’s a short video by Imogen Ragone showing how to locate your sit bones:
** The importance of not doing anything when self-directing is the subject of an earlier blog of mine: Not Even a Teeney Weaney Bit.
Image copyright: damedeeso / 123RF Stock Photo