When there is no time to use Alexander Technique, this is the time when it can help you the most. Feeling overwhelmed by a barrage of stimuli is a symptom of our culture and era. Time pressures are quite unavoidable, and we feel stressed by them.
Stress is a response. How do you know you are stressed? You feel your shoulders up in your ears, your brow is furrowed, neck tight, teeth grind, breath held - there are infinite indications which are part of our personal manner of use. Notice these are bodily sensations. None of which are doing anything to address the time pressure situation. They are an indication that you are working inefficiently, and employing a misuse which can contribute to long term discomfort.
It seems clear on retrospect, that if Alexander Technique is going to be a positive force in your life, it it will best be employed at the times of greatest challenge. Unfortunately, too often it feels like using Alexander Technique is going to take time you can’t afford.
I am pleased to say that every student I have worked with has been able to increase their speed of engaging in Alexander Technique. The time it takes to get an improvement in quality consistently lessens in a course of sessions.
Aside from that, the feeling that there is not enough time itself creates an interference with optimal coordination - and therefore optimal performance. So it’s worth considering your response.
One of my colleagues uses this phrase:
“I have time.”
Whenever she feels rushed to do something, recognises that little tightness of time anxiety, notices a temptation to cut corners or ignore attention to the way she is using herself, she says “I have time”. There is always time to take care of yourself. We so rarely are in a state where an instant reaction is a survival necessity. With those rare exceptions, we always have the choice about how we respond and what quality we bring to response.
If we think of people who we consider are efficient, we don’t think of people who rush everywhere, rather people who engage appropriately with ease in what they are doing. Similarly if we think of those who manage their work well, who don’t appear stressed. They look like they have all the time they need. The difference is one of attitude. Attitude is subject to choice. You can choose the attitude of having enough time, regardless of how much time pressure there is.
We are not talking about making your action slower. That may or may not be the outcome. We’re interested in efficiency. The hallmark of efficient use of the self is a positive coordination with poise, freedom, ease, and an appropriate balance of muscle tone. From this place, optimal performance comes, with minimal degradation on the body. In other words, you work better and stress less.
Think of this the next time you think there is not enough time to use Alexander Technique. The moment of choice is a millisecond, yet it can positively influence your quality of ease and perpetuate an improved use of self.
Image courtesy of 1shots / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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