freedom for life

The Edinburgh Alexander and Therapy Centre has been offering Alexander lessons and workshops since 1994.

Friday, 21 June 2013 18:47

Hearing Yourself Think

Stopping to the still point where everything is releasing, lengthening, poised, with balance achieved, is primary to the Alexander Technique. It means ceasing to do things by rushing; it means not chasing after thoughts but giving yourself time; it means creating time and space for everything to still, for quietness to come. This can be hard even for experienced pupils, yet it is the first stage in what Joseph Rowentree called 'reasoning into the unknown,' a phrase that Alexander was to pick up and use himself.

 Reasoning into the unknown is something we can do at the start of everyday. Sometimes the anticipation of the day or the future carries more uncertainty than others. How we experience that uncertainty is effected by our stance towards the future, our 'posture of anticipation' as David Mills once called it.

That stance is based on our use of ourselves and therefore is open to conscious control using the Alexander Technique's two steps of inhibition and direction. To inhibit, is to stop and to still and it is here that our manner of use influences our manner of reaction. The influence of manner of use on manner of reaction is something that, as Alexander noted, people miss about his work. It is the point where we are able, through conscious control of our use, to have a conscious control of our breathing. This allows us to control our manner of reaction and be calmer and less stressed in life, including when we anticipate our day and future events.

The learning and practice of this occurs in lessons, where a sense of stop is cultivated, it can allow a person, as one pupil said this week, 'the time to hear themselves think' thereby realising how much they rush and make an effort. It gave them a sense of what they need to learn in lessons for life. This is what lessons are for, and hearing yourself think is a first step in reasoning into the unknown, where you not only anticipate the future, but project yourself forward and create a future, where you have conscious control of your potentialities.

Published in Lessons from the Chair