Does your head really lead all movement?

In the Alexander world, letting your head lead and your body follow is one of the key principles to, well, pretty much everything. Everything you do has a body involved. The device you’re using to read this was built by other people and the software written by yet more people. Each person had a body. So getting a set of principles that lets you have a life AND a body must a good thing right?

Well, it is. But there are some subtle gotchas that get in the way. Daniel Kahneman, an Economics Nobel Prize winner and a renowned psychologist wrote an essay with the title:
“Nothing in life is as important as you think it is while you are thinking about it.”

It’s one of the key problems about being human and being conscious. The moment we start to think about something, even as great as ‘head leading’, we start to over do. To interfere. That’s why it often takes years of practice before an Alexander teacher can effectively teach. We’re all overdoers – but only on what it is we’re thinking about.

So what might lead us to overdo the thought ‘head leads, body follows’?

We’re hardwired to belong to a social group. So, in our efforts to be part of the Alexander tribe, we might over do. Or the opposite, we’re so into being independent, we resist or rebel
For most people, paying attention to their body is fraught with anxiety. We have scary stories about our body. That little niggle? Oh no! It’s definitely the start of something serious. So we over compensate.
Then there are sensations, feeling and thoughts that arise after we have the intention to let our head lead and our body follow. We are sensation addicts, constantly looking for the next body high and desperately trying to avoid any feeling we might find difficult. Being in neutral place with regards to feelings is something that takes practice.

So, bear in mind: head leading and body following is the best idea ever – except that it might not be as important as you think it is while you are thinking about it!

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© Kevin Saunders, Yogaground 2017

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