In a previous post I wrote about the concept of “joining up” with a horse and the contrast between this approach and the more traditional western idea of “breaking” a horse. To read that article click here.
I think for many of us, when we try to make changes in the way our bodies feel and move we tend to follow the traditional western model of horse training.
We try to force our “errant tissues” into submission.
I was recently getting my nails done and the girls in the salon were sharing tips they had been given by their personal trainer and physio: Pull your chin in! Engage your tummy muscles! Drop your tailbone! Pull your shoulders down! The more they tried to demonstrate what they had been told to do, the more distorted and uncomfortable they looked.
In order to develop the technology of “joining up” instead of forcing a horse into submission the creators of this method spent countless hours observing horses in the wild.
They watched the way stallions communicate with the mares in their heard and the way horses train their young. You see, for a heard animal like a horse, being able to follow their leader can be a issue of life or death.
Through this study, they learned how horses communicate with each other. And they took those skills into training horses in a way that works with the horses natural way of communication.
Similarly, we try to “fix” ourselves on the physical level without actually taking the time to look more deeply at the processes that govern our movements.
F.M Alexander and my teacher Don Weed have done a remarkable job at studying how we move. The understanding they developed gives us the option of having an influence over our movements that is less about dominating ourselves and more about taking advantage of the who we really are and the way we are made to move.
Which is so exiting. Because it means we are working with our true nature and expanding our innate capacities.
Many people breathe a big sigh of relief when they come into contact with this way of working.
I had a student recently who suffers from major chronic pain and disability.
After her first lesson she sat in the chair absolutely stunned.
She said:” I never considered the questions I was asking of my body. I feel like I have just opened up a kind and thoughtful line of communication. I will never be the same again.”
And this is true. Once you get a glimpse of how incredible you really are, you will never be the same again.