Thursday, 18 December 2014

The Alexander Technique deals first with clearing your thinking so that you are able to move in the direction that you wish to move, and not where your unconscious habit would take you.

So, before setting out, you pause to remind yourself to let go of your habitual tension patterns. And then, after the pause, it is a matter of committing to your new direction.
Ultimately, direction is a movement from point A to point B. But, in the Alexander Technique, we’re much more concerned with how we travel that distance.

In bodily terms this “how” is determined by a “primary movement” that comes before any actual step we take in the direction of point B. This “primary movement”, which has its definite physical manifestation in the dynamic relationship between head-spine-ribs-girdles-limbs, is governed by two “mind” aspects.

The first “mind” aspect is body awareness (body map). During lessons we strive to raise our sensory appreciation of our body parts, and their relationships to each other and to the whole.

The second, and most important “mind” aspect, is perhaps unique to the Alexander Technique.

Having determined "how" we want to travel from A to B, the Alexander Technique concerns itself with making sure we start and keep moving in said direction in the manner that we decided. What we don’t want is our habitual tension patterns to sneak in on us the moment we spring into action and undo our “primary movement”.


There are infinite ways of getting from A to B. The “primary movement” ensures that we do so in such a way that we’re not interfering with our natural postural reflexes. Alexander called it “lengthening (and widening) in stature” which is akin to “decompressing your joints for movement” or “creating space for movement to occur.”

Thursday, 11 December 2014


Two of the top benefits of the Alexander Technique are health and posture. These are, however, not exclusive to the Technique.

The objective of the Alexander Technique could be described as “lightness and freedom of movement with minimum effort.”  But here once again the Alexander Technique does not hold a monopoly.

What distinguishes the Alexander Technique from other mind-body disciplines isn’t so much what comes at the end of the process, but rather the emphasis it puts on how we get there. And the key is in the THINKING PROCESS involved.

During Alexander Technique lessons you get to learn some of the anatomical and physiological aspects of movement, but this is not where the true core of the work lies. When we think about the structures that we’ll be moving, we’re not as interested in the actual movement as we are in the clarity of the thought and intention behind the movement.

The learning process in the Alexander Technique centers on clarifying the thinking process that gets you into movement. Alexander called it “quickening the conscious mind.” It’s about working with the reasoning, discriminating, creative and decision making capabilities of our minds.

If our bodies are not responding to our conscious wishes perhaps it isn’t because they are structurally unable to do so, but rather because we’re having unconscious wishes that conflict with our conscious ones. These “unconscious wishes” are made manifest in our muscle tension patterns.

We fail to realize this because the unconscious wishes have been there for so long they have become part of our “self-definition.” To go in a new conscious direction, we must first become aware of what direction we’re already unconsciously heading in… and let go of the conflicting wish.

This is really what the Alexander Technique is about: If you wish to go left, you’ve got to first pause and remind yourself to stop your habit of always going right. Because if you rush left without thinking, that is, without “inhibiting” your tendency to go right, you’ll end up going nowhere fully or satisfactorily.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

On 18:12 by Victoria Stanham in , ,    No comments

Most sports and art forms have an “ideal posture” to practice them. Books and articles on them will describe this ideal posture, and sometimes offer muscular exercises that will help you achieve it.

However, if visually identifying what we need to change and doing muscles exercises to correct deviations from perfect form were enough, we’d all have good posture and no one would have back pain from bad postural habits.

This visual and muscular take on posture presents 3 problems.

Firstly, it assumes that he who receives the instructions knows his own body (has a clear body map) and can adopt the recommended posture without undue tension.

Secondly, it assumes that he who gives instruction and he who receives it, both interpret the concepts in the same way. Truth is we all have our own conceptual and sensorial definitions of our different body parts (“the neck” might not be exactly the same in my body map as in yours).

Thirdly, it assumes that we have to “work our postural muscles” with specific exercises, otherwise we’re bound to “go downhill” with gravity and age.* 
This view does not recognize that it is our heritage as homo sapiens sapiens to be proudly erect without undue effort if we do not interfere with the postural reflexes of our elegant design.

If instead we adopt the view that nature made us upright bipeds, and did so quite satisfactorily, then we shouldn’t so much “learn” to stand upright as “un-learn” to stand crookedly.

As homo sapiens sapiens we’re inheritors of a basic “software” that enables us to stand on our two feet in easy balance. This “software” is made up of a set of reflexes that we integrate, with greater or lesser success, during our early development. Since we all have the software, perhaps all we need is a little re-programming.

Hence, the best way to work on your posture is first to recognize what you must “stop doing.”

We must go to the deeper causes, to what is under the surface and cannot be seen with the naked eye. Self-knowledge is at the base of good posture.


* I don’t mean by this that you should not do exercise to correct muscle weaknesses that go hand in hand with bad posture and lack of joint mobility. What I do encourage you to do is to work those muscles ‘functionally’ and considering your body as a whole unit. You should be conscious of the balance and integration of your whole body during movement, and not just work the “weak muscles” in isolation.

Friday, 28 November 2014

On 17:24 by Victoria Stanham in ,    2 comments
Sometimes I too want quick solutions, instant solutions.

The problem is that these “express” solutions don’t last long; they are no more than a mask for the problem, not a real solution.

The same happens with postural problems and their “quick fixes”.

Posture is at the base of every discipline. Every sport or activity you practice has a certain ideal “form” or “posture” that allows you to perform the activity with the least amount of wear and tear and the highest degree of efficiency.

But saying, “a good posture is that in which, when seen from the side, the ear, shoulder, hip and ankle are aligned,” is merely giving a visual description of the result. This description does not include the steps of inner organization that allow for the external visible result.

The postural recommendations offered in every discipline have their logic. The problem is that we, who don’t know our own bodies, force ourselves into these recommended forms by sheer muscular effort. We end up habituating the requisite form but also the unnecessary tension of the effort.

How much better it would be if we could adopt these “postures” with total freedom, and be able to get out of them with equal liberty!

But… how?

The Alexander Technique is a “pre-technique”, it is the foundation for all other techniques and disciplines. The Alexander Technique teaches you how to organize your body in such a way that you can adopt in the most natural way any of the “postures” or “forms” recommended by other disciplines.

In fact, after working with the Alexander Technique your concept of “posture” changes. It shifts from being something “rigid” or “fixed” into something mobile and dynamic.


Posture stops being something you impose from the outside based on “how it should look” despite the tense muscular effort to hold it, and becomes something that springs from inside based on “how you perceive the shifting balance of your skeletal structure” and guided by a clear thought process which frees the muscles and decompresses the joints.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

On 17:05 by Victoria Stanham in , ,    No comments

 There are few things as easy as focusing on ‘what’s missing’ or ‘what went wrong’. What’s not so easy, what needs to be learnt and practiced, is to note ‘what was effectively done’ and ‘what went right.’

There exist neurological-evolutionary reasons why, as beings who for a long time where some other animal’s dinner, we’re predisposed to pay more attention to the possible dangers than to the present blessings.

That is why we need to train our ability to ‘also see the the half-full glass.’ This does not mean we ignore that half of the glass is effectively empty. What we’re trying to get is an image of the whole glass, with its two halves.

For example, I’m starting to run regularly. My plan is to do so at least 3 times a week and for at least 3 miles every time. I have a full plan that includes speed runs, endurance runs, tempo runs to build stamina… all the works.

Truth is I don’t always (or can’t always) stick to plan; and it would be so easy for me to be hard on myself for not doing so, and to focus only on how I fell short of my own high expectations.

But knowing how easy it is to see only the half-empty glass, I made an effort to see the half-full glass too. In that half I found the following: this week I went running 3 times (2 of those at 6.30am), I ran 3 miles each time, once I added speed work. The last run was with my sister, and actually we walked for half the distance, and ran the other half, but I enjoyed spending the time together and being able to chat.

True it is that I didn’t stick to plan as written, and perhaps that will put me back a few days to reaching my final objective (that’s my half-empty glass). However, I did so enjoy filling the other half! And that’s gotta be worth something too!


So, what glass are you trying to fill up today? You surely know how far you’re from a full glass. Don’t abandon your goal. But if you find that from staring at the half-empty glass you start to become depressed, I invite you to look at the half-full glass too and celebrate every drop that added its effort to getting you to where you are now.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

On 12:53 by Victoria Stanham in , ,    No comments
Yesterday, my partner Eduardo and I, gave our first joint workshop on the Mistery of Stopping and Taking Root in the Body. It was the culmination of several months of arduous work, of comings and goings, of long discussions on the topic and longer practice sessions of the work. Finally we made it, and by yesterday afternoon it was successfully over.

It takes a while to come to rest after such an impulse. The inertia continues for a while. After such a race, coming to rest is something we have to consciously if we mean to savor the sweet space in which we do nothing for a while. It is a regenerative space.

It is not easy to stop and savor. The impulse’s inertia makes me believe that there is stuff I need to plan, things to do, processes to evaluate and new decisions to be made.

There’ll be time for that… tomorrow. Today I rest. Today I do nothing. Today I enjoy what I’ve achieved. Today I don’t look at what could have been better, what remains to be corrected and adjusted. Today I don’t look ahead to the road that’s left to travel. There’ll be time for that… tomorrow.

It’s so difficult sometimes to just stop and give ourselves permission to simply enjoy our achievements. We’re always noting what was missing, what wasn’t perfect, what is left to correct.

There will always be something to do. Every new achievement opens up doors to new avenues for improvement and discovery. When we reach the top of the hill we always find that the road goes on, that this hill has to be climbed down to climb the next one in line.

But enjoying the road implies savoring not only the effort of the climb, those moments when we feel we’re “doing something productive.” Walking the path also implies learning to savor the rests, those moments when we “do nothing” other than enjoy the vistas of what we’ve already travelled.

Therefore today… today I rest. Today I enjoy the view from here. Today I say thank you for having been able to walk this far.


Victoria

Sunday, 9 November 2014

On 16:34 by Victoria Stanham in    2 comments

 I ran my first 5K today. I hadn’t run a race since my teen years.

I didn’t race… I ran, just that, my pace, my way, my world.
Being of a competitive and self-demanding nature, just being able to run for my own enjoyment is a huge accomplishment.

It all started about a month ago when my sister signed up to run her first 5K and started training. Something in her way of going about it inspired me. My sister doesn’t seem to run to beat anybody or prove anything.

So I started running too. Easy. Slowly. At my own pace. Trying not to strive for Olympic Gold just yet.

Still, the competitive-bug will come flying and prying any time I lose focus. It will whisper in my ear: train harder, run faster, run farther, make it worth your while.

So I stop.

I don’t have to “be somebody”, I don’t have to win anything nor prove anything to anybody. Running is simply good for me, for my body, for my psique.

That bug is no more than a habit of thought, a habit of my way of being.
Therefore, when I recognize it for what it is, I treat it like any other old habit.

I stop. I greet it like an old friend. And I let it go. I return to my body, to my breathing, to my inner organization. I remember my purpose.

Today my purpose was to run, listening to my body, collecting my thoughts, following my breath. Only that mattered. All the rest I could leave behind or watch them pass me by, as if they were other runners in the race.

I return to myself, to the wonder of being able to run, to the sensation of moving. I return to the present.

That is all.

Victoria

Saturday, 1 November 2014

On 21:06 by Victoria Stanham in , ,    No comments

Hi. I’m here.

I wasn’t sure about being here today. I was bored and un-inspired. What could I possibly offer you of value today?

But Life is about showing-up, even (and perhaps especially) when it’s not all fireworks.

Some things you build one little step at a time. Sometimes it’s the same step over and over again.

Changing habits works like that. It’s not something instantaneous. It’s something you build up by “saying no” to the old and “saying yes” to the new, over and over and over again.

And it all starts with showing up for the work. Even if we don’t apparently succeed. Even if habit seems to win most of the times.

You still show up, because by showing up, habit has not won by default. By showing up, you’ve exercised your power to choose.

If you show up, anything can happen. Anything includes your habit. But it also includes every other possibility, which gain strength with every time you show up.

So, if you are thinking of giving up, if you are too bored, tired, or depressed to care anymore… show up anyway. Just BE there, OPEN to anything that might come.

That’s why I’m here today. No expectations. Just here… for me… and for you…

Victoria


Friday, 24 October 2014

On 15:11 by Victoria Stanham in , , ,    No comments
A blog about the importance of giving yourself space 

Hello. Nice to see you here!

Today I’m starting a new series of blogs in which I mean to elaborate on the 6 principles that I work from.

This is why, in order to honor this new beginning, let’s take minute to center ourselves and return to the present. With closed eyes let’s slowly and deeply breathe in and out.

Today’s purpose is precisely that: to talk about this action of centering and returning back to yourself. I’d like to communicate to you a bit about how powerful and integrative this simple act of returning to your body before every new action can be.
We’ll therefore talk about the Principle of Context and Content.

And since we’re going to be talking about returning to our bodies, it’s a good idea to feel it a bit to begin with.
I invite you to yawn and stretch, move your joints a bit. Whatever makes you become aware of the physical presence of this fabulous container: your body.

Ready? Great. First the theory.

Principle of Context and Content:

Context determines your experience of the content.
This means that how you do something has a direct influence on how you live it. In other words, the conditions in which you perform the action are fundamental to your opinion of said action.

In terms of your body-mind, context is determined by space.
It’s quite different to perform a physical movement with space in your joints, than to do so in a state of compression and collapse.
It’s quite different to make a decision when you give yourself space for thought, than when you’re hurried.
It’s a quite different emotional experience to get in a tiny lift by yourself or with a close friend, than to do so with a stranger.

Minding the context does not mean ignoring the content; rather it means giving the content the best conditions for its manifestation.
The content (your ends) are the reason why you do stuff. If you go to a talk on a subject that interests you, you do so because of the information that will be imparted. In order to take full advantage of said content, know yourself, know what suits you and what doesn’t, mind your conditions.

Coordinating your context is the first step in every action.
First we need to organize ourselves both internally and externally; then we take action in the world. Certain people are born with natural inner coordination. If, like me, that is not your case, learning to coordinate and integrate your mind-body functioning should be a priority.

Enough theory, let’s get practical.
But first, let’s move a bit, shall we?
Interlace the fingers of your hands, rotate the palms outwards and stretch your arms forward and up. Release the fingers and let the arms come down slowly, drawing big semi-circles down your sides. Close your eyes and shake your arms and shoulders.
Great. Let’s move on.

Today’s practical bit has 2 components:
1. Creating a Safe Space.
2. Stopping and Remembering Myself.

1. Creating a Safe Space.

a) Physical Space:
The place where we perform our activities is importante for our sense of confort, security and freedom. All our senses are involved in this.
- Look around and check if what is in your visual field is pleasing to your eyes. What about the sounds? And the physical sensations? Smells? Company? Adjust whatever you need to feel safe and at ease.

b) Body and Mental Space:
Your skin, your muscles, your bones, your organs, all of them give you consistency, limits and support, as well as fill up your internal spaces. Learn to become aware of them with any of the following ideas:
- Feel your skin by caressing it all over your body, in all the nooks, crannies and crevices. Alternatively you can do so by showering, taking a bubble bath, or standing in the breeze.
- Check out some anatomy images where you can get a general idea of your bones, muscles and organs. Give yourself a loving massage while you palpate the different bits, becoming aware of their consistency, elasticity, density.
- Alternatively, try out some of the self-observation exercises I give in this blog, or this one.

Your thoughts also have a quality and consitency, get to know them and note their effects in your body.
- An excelente practice to discover the workings of your mind is to try a simple mindfulness meditation, following your breath.

c) Personal Space:
The space that surrounds you is also part of your personal space. It pays to recognize it and inhabit it.
- Notice how it expands and contracts depending on the circumstances. What determines its expansion or contracting? Can you do so voluntarily?
- If you are sitting, note how you can integrate the chair to your sensory system and “feel” where its legs touch the ground.
- With your feet on the ground, note how you can be aware of the floor not only right under your feet, but also around your feet. How far can you “feel”?

d) Shared Space:
We share our spaces with living and non-living things.
- Note how you react when something or someone comes into your personal space.
- Note how others react when you invade their personal space.
- Note if it makes a difference when permission to share space is requested and granted, both in yourself and in others.
- Ask someone you feel comfortable with to take your arm and move it around, while you keep your awareness in your inner and outer spaces. Do you contract away from the contact at any point?
- Switch roles and move your friend’s arm around. While you do so, be aware of your inner and outer space, integrating your friend’s space in your movement.

2. Stopping and Remembering Myself.
During any of the above practices you’ll notice that at times your attention has wandered off the task at hand. When you do so it’s time to stop and come back to yourself.
Returning to yourself is returning to your inner and outer spaces, it’s creating space for yourself and being aware of it.
Returning to yourself is how you take care of your context, so that your experience of life’s contents is as enjoyable as possible.

Well, that’s all for today.
Today’s was a longish blog. If you’ve read this far you surely need to move a bit your body again. Let’s yawn, stretch and shake like a wet dog one last time.

That’s better. As usual, any doubts, questions or comments you are welcome to leave them in the space for comments below.

Let’s breathe together one last time. In… Out… Ah!

Thanks for stopping by.
See you next time.


Victoria

Saturday, 11 October 2014

On 10:46 by Victoria Stanham in ,    No comments
A blog about how to free your breath. 

Hi! Nice to see you again.

How did last week’s space-creation exercise go? If you have any questions or comments about it, feel free to write them here in the blog, or send me an email.

Let’s start with today’s work by coming back to our centers. Shall we?
Let’s stop with whatever it is we were doing and just breathe, allowing the air to reach our feet and ground us. Let’s now exhale allowing the air to flow up from our feet, through our pelvis, tummy, chest, neck, and out the top of our head.

The subject of today’s blog is how to liberate our breath. I mean to share with you three areas in your body that it’s worthwhile to have free of tension in order to facilitate the intake and outflow of air.

In order to perceive the areas I want to tell you about, it’s a good idea to start by creating a little bit of space in our joints. Therefore, I invite you to yawn and stretch a little, like a cat or a dog after a nap in the sun.

What do we need to know about breathing in order to free it up?

1.  Breathing has an effect and is affected by all your Self (principle of Unity). When your body is free of unnecessary tensions, your breathing generates a wave like motion that can be felt from your head to your feet, and which massages all the inner organs. Breathing is also a superb barometer for your mental and emotional states.

2. Breathing “happens”, it “does itself”. If you don’t interfere with the mechanism by tensing up, it works without effort or strain, and without having to think about it (principle of Design).

3. Even when you do not allow it to work freely, you still breathe no matter what. However, all the added tension affects the efficiency of your breathing (principle of Use).

4. When you realize that your breathing requires movement of your ribs (which means movement in your sides and back, and not only in the front of your chest) and that it generates movement in your belly, you can start to imagine which areas need to be free to be moved by each inhalation and exhalation (principle of
Perception).

5.  Since breathing “does itself”, you do not need to “learn to breathe”. What you need is to learn how to stop interfering with your breathing mechanisms (principle of Means and Ends).

6. And now that you know that breathing happens by itself, next time your asked to “take a deep breath”, you know you need to stop your desire to make a huge muscular effort to suck in a lot of air. Instead, give yourself a few seconds to become aware of the areas that need to be freed up to move freely and thus create more space for more air (principle of Habit).

Ok, enough theory for today. Let’s go to something practical. But first, do a shake out of your body to wake up. Move your neck, shoulders, hips, blink, yawn, wiggle your fingers and toes… or just shake out vigorously like a wet dog.

Where do I need to create space to free up my breathing?

The places that you’ll generally hear when you ask this question are your ribs (back and sides of your body) and your abdomen. And that is correct.
However, I’m going to tell you about 3 other key areas that need to be free to allow the back, ribs and abdomen to truly release their tension.
I suggest you try the following exercise lying down in semi-supine.

1. Your groins.
When you create space in your hip joint for free movement of your leg, you’ll find that the pelvic diaphragm, your lower back (lumbars), the abdominal diaphragm and the lower ribs also release, as the pelvis comes into a better relationship with the leg bone (femur).

2. Your armpits.
When there’s space in your shoulder joint, the neck, upper back and upper ribs on your sides get a chance to release too.

3. Your jaw.
When you stop clenching your back molars and allow a little space between the top and bottom back teeth, some of your face, throat, tongue and upper neck tension are allowed to let go.

Now, create space in your whole torso and neck by drawing imaginary diagonal lines that join opposite armpits and groins, and opposite armpits and ears.

Finally, become aware of the flow of air that goes in and out naturally as your system breathes. When the air comes in, allow your jaw, armpits and groins to let go a little more, feeling how the sides of your body expand.
When the aire comes out, allow your diagonal lines to let go a little more and expand your whole torso and neck, feeling how you thus grow in width and length.

If you’re feeling adventurous and want to play around a little with your breathing, you can try making your exhales longer than your inhales, by just thinking a longer release across your diagonals as the air comes out. This is a great exercise to calm down the nervous system, for it slows down your breathing rate without tension.

Always remember that you are not “doing” anything, you’re simply “allowing” breathing to happen more freely by letting go of unnecessary tension and thus creating more inner space.

And since we’re already breathing so freely, why don’t we go ahead and yawn and stretch allowing our bodies to expand and contract freely?

This week, I invite you to experiment and play around with these ideas on breathing, and then tell me if you want what you discovered.
If you have any questions, doubts or comments, please feel free to write it down below or send me and email.

Let us close this meeting by returning to our centres, breathing there, allowing the waters to come to a stand still, and thus preparing ourselves for our next activity.

See you next time.

Victoria.


Friday, 3 October 2014

On 15:53 by Victoria Stanham in    No comments
A blog about creating spaces

Hello. I’m Victoria. Welcome to the blog. How are you today?

I tend to be a bit hurried; out of my center. That’s why I like to stop when I do realize something new is about to start.

Let me invite you to center ourselves. Just stop with whatever you were doing, notice your breathing and the sensations that arrive to your from your senses. Let’s inhale and exhale together…or go ahead and YAWN!

Thank you. Now yes, let’s begin.

In this blog I’d like to tell you about what I’ve learnt about creating spaces: mental and physical spaces, spaces within and without, spaces between the stimulus and my response.
I’ll be happy if by the end of this blog I am able to communicate some of this freedom that comes from giving oneself those spaces; and if you don’t know anything about it, perhaps to tempt you to try it out for yourself.

 What has been your personal experience with your personal space?

I’m going to show you how I create my own.

I work from the following principles:

Unity: If I create space in my body, I’ll have space in my mind to think clearer.

Design: My body is designed to occupy a certain space in full freedom, and it will do so if I allow it to.

Use-Structure-Functioning: When I give my structures their due space, they seem to work a lot better.

Improving perception: When structures have space, I can perceive them better than when they are all tight and pressed together.

Stop and Choose: Since my habit is to trip over myself in my haste to do stuff, I need to stop before acting, to give myself space to choose better.

How over What: I can only give myself physical space if I give myself mental space too. How I give myself those spaces is important. That is why, if I’m all hurried and frazzled, I lay down in semi-supine which gives me the best conditions to actually stop.

How about if we stop before moving on, and give ourselves a little space?

I invite you to yawn and stretch a little, just to lighten up and air out the tissues and joints.

Ok, so, how do I create my spaces?

The first thing to do is decide which spaces need to be made available.

Where is the flow of movement or energy getting stuck? Where is the tension? Where do I feel out of rhythm or out of tune?

Once I identify the area that is asking for more space to work better or to become integrated to the whole, I look in its structure for some points to use as reference, and try to understand how the area is designed to work.

If what I want is to create space in my feet, I can look at their bony anatomy in a book, and then palpate the area in my own body.
If I have no idea where to start or what to do, I ask for help from someone who know a little bit more than I do.

I choose two points in the structure that I want to free up. I touch them simultaneously and realize there is a space between them. I joint them with an imaginary line and imagine that the ends of that line float away from each other, as if carried away by opposing water currents.

I invite you to try this out for yourself. Choose some points in your body, join them with imaginary lines, and alow those points to float away from each other. It helps to do all this while lying down on the floor, with your knees bent and your feet on the floor, and your head lying on one or two paperback books.

While doing this exercise, recognize all the space that is available between point and point. You can also acknowledge the space around you, allowing your lines to float beyond the limits of your skin, into your surrounding space.

This space that you create within, without, between you and the stimuli that arrive to you, this space makes you multi-dimensional, it makes your real, it gives you back to yourself.

I invite you to live from this space and to return to it as many times as you wish.
It is your own personal space after all.
It is your house, your true home.

See you next time.


Victoria

Saturday, 27 September 2014

On 20:57 by Victoria Stanham in , ,    No comments
A blog about why some anatomy basics are useful in coordination work.

Welcome to the blog. We’re starting right away, so get comfy to read.

Let’s breathe fully and deeply once together, just so we’re both on the same page.

Ok. Let’s start.

Today’s blog will try to explain why I believe it’s important to know some basic anatomy in any attempt at trying to correct postural issues. I’ll be happy if by the time you’ve finished reading you are able to recognize anatomical knowledge as something alive, in constant development, something that grows from evolving ideas and sensory information.

What attracts you to the study of anatomy?

To beging with, let’s recap the paradigm from which we’ll look at the issue.

Unity: we learn with our mind and with our bodies, and we consider the body as an integrated whole.

Use-Function-Structure: we look at anatomy (structure) in relation to what function it performs, remembering that our use affects both.

The Coherence in our Design: everything in our anatomical design has a reason for being there.

Interferences to Accurate Perception: our ideas about our bodies and the feelings and sensations we get from it don’t always coincide, and sometimes our ideas are way off-center.

How above What: It’s more importante to understand how it works, how the bits and pieces relate to each other and to the whole, than to fill ourselves up with anatomical data and trivia that we cannot comprehend nor make practical use of.

The force of Habit: Old ideas die hard, like weeds… they come back again and again every time we let our guard down.

Let’s now consider why it’s a good idea to study some basic anatomy.

But before moving on, yawn and stretch. If we hold one attitude of mind and body for too long, our bodies and brains go numb. Move your tissues a bit to allow oxygenated blood to return to them.

Great. Let’s continue.

Does knowing anatomy guarantee I’ll have good posture?

No. If knowing anatomy automatically made you an elegantly poised individual, then all doctors, anatomists, physiotherapists and P.E. teachers would be paragons of good posture and carriage. Sadly, this is not the case.

What’s the use of studying anatomy then?

1. Good posture is a matter of coordination. If you’re not one of those naturally (and unconsciously) well-coordinated people, then you’ll have to learn conscious coordination. In order to do this, you need to be able to feel where your different body parts are and what they’re doing in relation to each other. And for this you’ll need to know your most important bits and how they feel.

2. Knowing basic anatomy (name, shape and feel of the main bones and joints) gives you a common language to be able to follow instructions in an intelligent way.

Even if you rank among the naturally well-coordinated, it’s not a bad idea to know how you’re doing it, for the following 4 reasons:
a) In case you lose it and want to get it back.
b) In case you get stuck in your progress in any physical discipline you practice.
c) In case you want to explain or teach someone else how you do what you do.
d) To open yourself up to other possibilities and choices you may not imagine you have.

Our bodies are fascinating universes waiting to be explored.

This is all for now.

See you next time.


Victoria