Feeling Integrated

One great effect from Alexander lessons is the experience of feeling integrated. When we say we feel integrated, what do we mean? We can describe it as the opposite from feeling scattered or disconnected with ourselves. Rather, we feel “rightness” or fullness, a sense of presence. We feel connected to our Selves in a deeper way than normal.

In lessons, the teacher is guiding or facilitating a coordination or equilibrium between the postural state, movement, breath and attention. Perhaps more, perhaps less, depending on where the student is in her study.

But how can an Alexander student bring this about on his own?

We have access to our experience of our selves in every moment. We can choose to pay attention to particular aspects, like our sense of balance, or our sense of weightedness, or if our skin feels warm or cool or enjoys the soft cotton of our shirt. These are examples of sensation that are often outside our usual perception. Sometimes the sensations are pleasant, and feeling them brings a more integrated quality to us. If they are unpleasant, our Alexander practice can influence them.

If for instance, I bring awareness to my sense of balance, and I notice a tiny falling backward in my chair, which causes me to tighten my back muscles, I can re-direct myself up and slightly forward, until I notice that I am balanced over my central axis (just in front of my spine, from the pelvis to the skull) with my head floating delicately. I may then notice that I can allow a lively ease of my musculature and a little more spaciousness to my breath.

When we bring awareness to any of the vast possibilities of sensation, we often discover we have a choice. Being a little curious about what is happening within us helps with the process of deepening awareness and sensory perception. Being gentle and inviting rather than pushing or trying hard to change something helps allow changes to take effect.
If for instance, I bring awareness to my sense of balance, and I notice a tiny falling backward in my chair, which causes me to tighten my back muscles, I can re-direct myself up and slightly forward, until I notice that I am balanced over my central axis (just in front of my spine, from the pelvis to the skull) with my head floating delicately. I may then notice that I can allow a lively ease of my musculature and a little more spaciousness to my breath.

 

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