After an unsuccessful introductory lesson the other day, I spoke to a veteran Alexander teacher.
I complained that I was unable to teach “direction.”
What the heck is “direction” in the Alexander language? It is messages that you send to yourself to lengthen and widen (which are really just messages to yourself to stop contracting and tightening). Notice what happens to my head and neck when I stop directing my head to release forward and up. My head slumps back down towards my body, compressing my neck and tilting back and down.
This teacher told me that many Alexander teachers do not understand direction, so why should I expect a newcomer to grasp it?
So how then to wake up a person’s kinaesthesia?
He suggested I have the student pay attention to the sounds around him.
I’ve started to teach that and I’ve noticed a person’s kinaesthetic sense immediately perks up when he pays attention to his senses such as sound or sight or touch. All good things happen. The neck frees up and the head releases forward and up and the back lengthens to widen.
When I walk around, I find myself going up when I listen to the separate sounds around me.
Have you heard the expression, “Her ears perked up?” Well, not only the ears perk up when a person pays attention to the sounds around her.
This rocks. It’s far easier and more effective than teaching observation, inhibition and direction (the Alexander staples). I can introduce them down the road.
PS. I find some people respond much better to visual cues such as to see everything in front of you and simultaneously to see what is out the corner of your left eye and your right eye. In a room, for instance, see the left wall and the right wall simultaneously as well as everything in between with soft eyes. Many people come right up when they do this. Other people are like me and respond better to auditory cues. When they listen for every separate sound around them, they perk up.