I just read A Stroke of Insight. The author investigates the right left brain dichotomy relating the experience of having a stroke that obliterated her left brain with its verbal analytical capacity, and her eight year rehab, through the lens of her profession as a neuroscientist. She describes the acceptance and bliss that the right brain, flying solo, experiences. The book struck me as relevant to my difficulties with singing. I am eager to relate the author’s ideas to The Alexander Technique. Reawakening surrender flow intuition sensation as a vital mode integrating it in a much more equal balance with the left brain’s judgement and analysis would help and is what I remember of the act of singing when it was working. When judgement and analysis become dominant in Alexander, rather than just a part of it, the Technique can stall until the balance is restored. I would love any comments. The Alex. Tech. is a continuing delight every day. -Holly Alonso
Archive for March, 2009
For those of us involved with the principles of the Alexander Technique, we are always searching for ways to use ourselves more efficiently and to develop tools to stop old habits from wrecking havoc in our lives. On that journey, we get to learn new things and try to get better at the driving interests of our lives. For some of us, that’s music. For others, dance, athletics, writing, chess.
My long-standing passion, tennis, has helped me refine my ideas about the ways I learn. It isn’t always a pretty picture–as a matter of fact, it is often frustrating as can be–but the wonderful thing about physical movements is how concrete they are. I can see the manifestation of my ideas played out in front of me. I can see how fatigue, fear, anger, frustration, all interfere with clear thinking. When I can calm myself down, stay in balance, not react prematurely, my game dramatically improves. Most, maybe all of us, have had that experience.
Combined with the knowledge that how we think affects how we function, it also brings home repeatedly that we need to know what we are aiming for. We need to build the actual skills to accomplish what we are interested in. If I don’t know how to hit a certain shot on the tennis court, no amount of freeing my neck is going to magically make it happen. We have to really understand the means to the end. That balance, between building skills directly and building the self-awareness and confidence to send the directions that are going to create the best environment for learning, has always fascinated me. Perhaps the goal becomes, to paraphrase Alexander, that the means become the ends. That the best way for me to free my neck is to hit the tennis ball. Then the shot I hit teaches me, in a concrete way, a bit more about the way I think.