This tensegrity toy can teach us about some principles of human movement and coordination. We use these principles in the learning and practice of Alexander Technique.
The model is called "skwish" from the Manhattan Toy Co.
This little toy can help us use and understand Alexander Technique.
If it is squished, releasing the downward pressure lets it spring back into shape. You don’t need to pull it up.
If we squish our bodies out of shape, we don’t have to pull up either. We just have to let go of squishing, or other interference, to initiate a return to balance.
If one part of this structure is messed with, every other part is affected. Similarly, changing something in one part of our bodies, will affect our whole coordination.
In action, muscles throughout the body must harmonise with each other to create even a simple movement.
In rest, muscles return to a neutral elasticity bringing the structure into an idle balance.
In human movement, if a muscle is trying to work by itself, it is more likely to strain than if the whole body works together.
Bringing the whole body into a dynamic coordination can release rigidity and receive local music tension.
The weight of an object placed on top of our toy is distributed through the whole structure.
Our body’s most healthy and effective response to a weight or force happens when we are available enough for it to spread throughout.
Each of the wooden parts of the toy are suspended by a balance of elastic tone. The elastics support not only from above and below, but from all angles.
We too have a complex support network of muscles in multiple directions.
But unlike the separated wooden parts of this toy, our bones connect and articulate with each other.
If our musculature is too relaxed, we might collapse a bit. It’s not nearly so much fun.
Sometimes we might need a dynamic and springy muscle tone, at other times a more resilient integrity is appropriate.
Alexander Technique makes a return to our natural buoyancy accessible, effortless and fun.