Cheers to new opportunities for health and happiness! We can all find a powerful mind-body release with the Alexander Technique. This release is omnidirectional or in all directions into our natural alignment. The impact of this release is an improvement in the functioning of our mind and body that helps us achieve any, and all, of our goals. It can help your willpower, reduce anxiety, relieve pain, improve confidence and so much more.
Omnidirectional release brings balance. In this state, creativity is more likely to flow, we can take full advantage of the support around us and listen to our bodies' needs in the moment.
In 2017, I made a difficult decision to listen to my body and have an elective surgery. After surgery, my own touch full of intention to release in the present moment helped me heal and marked another milestone in my personal journey toward taking care of myself.
The surgery was the removal of a metal plate from my shoulder that I had since 2010 when I broke my left clavicle (or collarbone) in a bicycle accident. My body was talking to me with chronic pain but for years I wavered about having surgery. It was a scary decision because it involved general anesthesia and remembering my accident. When I decided I was ready to listen to the body, I did everything I could to prepare for the surgery including using affirmations*, hypnosis** and the Alexander Technique***. In the days after surgery, the benefits of my ability to invite omnidirectional release were striking. When I experienced pain, I would touch the bandage on my new scar and I felt a release that caused pain to subside.
I'm a little lighter this year and even more a believer in our ability to use our body intelligence to help us achieve our goals.
Reaching Your Goals
The way we reach towards our goals matters because it determines our resiliency, our ability to keep on going. If we’re able to reach toward our goals in a way that allows our body to release — as opposed to contract with tension— we’ll be able to achieve more.
Like me, do you ever notice that your idea of concentration takes effort in the form of tension in your body? Is this effort helping you reach your goals or is it getting in your way? Do you notice pain or anxiety? Pain and anxiety can be caused by habits of tension in the body that we do not notice.
I will use the example of my trying to reach my next goal to finish this blog post to illustrate how habits of tension can be addressed with Alexander Technique. Some of my old habits that want to engage are jaw clenching, holding my breath, and tightening my shoulders – but I use the Alexander Technique to opt for another choice.
I circle back to key Alexander Technique principles to find my omnidirectional release:
Unlike the words I'm typing, I am multi-dimensional.
I sense my whole body in all its dimensions.
I notice the way my body is interacting with the world including the chair, the ground, the keyboard, and the air surrounding me.
When I notice a habit of tension, I notice whether I can choose not to do it.
For example, if I notice tension in my jaw, I pause and ask "What if my jaw was less tense?" or “What if I did not clench my jaw?” or “What happens if I do less in the muscles around my jaw?”
I send a message to my body to release in all directions.
To continue the example of tension in the jaw, I see in my mind’s eye my jaw releasing in all directions (lengthwise from the chin toward the ear, front to back, side to side, and in every dimension).
I also invite this type of release for my body as a whole.
You may want to circle through these principles inviting release in different areas each time including the eyes, neck, shoulders and hips. You may also want to read the following blog post to support your explorations: Our Body Concept Matters, Coming to Your Senses, Grow Your Awareness, Thank Your Body With Dynamic Support, Avoiding “Text Neck”.
Working with an Alexander Technique teacher's hands-on guidance allows you to identify deeper layers of tension and learn to release them. When you bring this learning into your daily life, the impacts will astound you. Omnidirectional release allows us you to find the balance you need to stay healthy as you reach even beyond your goals to the next thing you can dream up.
* I used a CD with guided imagery and affirmations: Meditations to Promote Successful Surgery by Belleruth Naparstek; I still listen to it today as the affirmations can apply to many situations.
** I did hypnosis with Dr. Oscar Gillespie whose compassionate, playful and authentic style are unparalleled.