The skill of Alexander Technique is sometimes referred to as “thinking in activity.” To develop this skill, and lay the foundation for integration into life, it is worthwhile dedicating time outside of the lesson to its cultivation.
Many procedures used in lessons can be revised or reinvented at home. If the pupil has insight into the principles behind the procedures, creating new procedures would be equally effective.
The procedure used in lessons most conducive to a student’s solo practice, is Semi-Supine, or lying on the floor, knees up, with the head on books. I’ve written more in depth about the benefits and process of Semi-Supine here.
Posed with the prospect of “homework”, often students reveal some interesting attitudes to time. When it seems to the pupil there is not time for dedicated practice, I sometimes ask what the student might do about it. There are some common responses....
I think the student who aims to “make” time is trying to do something beyond his power. Time is not in our capacity to manufacture! I am obliged to ask just how the student will “make” time. The answers that I get might more accurately be described as prioritising time. It is not pedantic semantics, it is important the student recognise that to fulfil their potential in studying Alexander Technique, it is necessary to make it more important than more trivial things. There is always time.
The student who attempts to “find” time, may be unwittingly telling himself that he isn’t going to commit to practice. It is possibly an admission that there is not time available to do all that he wants. It seems then, that to dedicate time would mean that whatever else, there would always be time for practice.
Taking time implies patience in committing to practice. It recognises that time for practice is taken from some other activity. The student who is taking time to practice is prioritising it above some other less auspicious activity. However, the phrase that I use for myself is not taking time, but giving time. It is a gift to myself to have time to practice. Since it makes me a more functional, amicable and successful person, it is a gift to all whom I encounter.
Giving time also has inherent a patience, but also a grace and kindness. Using this phrase one may become more grateful for time and honour one’s self worth. One can be gently and wholeheartedly engaged in practice and foster a deeper appreciation for the work’s value.
Image courtesy of twobee / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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