Workshop results, Computers, Yoga and the Alexander Technique, June 2018

We started out with some Alexander directions as a way of warming up connection between mind and body. Alexander directions are invitations to your body to release, usually they are words but sometimes they can be images. We did negative directions, paradoxical directions and then freedom directions. Negative directions are in the form of ‘I’m not compressing my neck’. Paradoxical directions are saying something that is contradicted by what you’re doing. If you say ‘I’m not walking’ while walking, it can free up the habitual part of you that gets involved in walking.

We did some head / spine body mapping by finding the contrast between head pulling down on spine and head leaving spine and head resting on spine. Then we did some mapping of how our pelvis was aligned within our body by doing dog tail (tail tucked under), duck tail (tail pulled back) and dinosaur tail (pelvis in neutral). These terms come from Robyn Avalon’s Living in a Body series of workshops.

Normally, I’ll leave at that for my initial set of ideas for body mapping. However, all of the class were my regulars so we could go deeper. In this case we went into the interior of our head and I showed how brain and eyes worked together with the scarves as the optic nerves. Was very interesting in how that worked out.

I talked about learning the skill of differentiation. How to become more sensitive to the things that cause us problems closer to the moment they kick. I also talked about the skill of keeping directions light, of putting in the order and then waiting for the result to come back.

The yoga part of the class was a reasonably leisurely sun salutation. We lots of Eyebody line movement practice with back bend and forward bend to integrate brain, eyes, vision and the environment. All the people in the class noticed that sometimes they were really in their bodies, sometimes in their eyes or brain but rarely in everything all at once. That is a skill that takes some practice.

Ended the yoga part with a great restorative pose for each. It was really peaceful and quiet.

Then on to the computing part of the class. This took a bit of setting up but after a while we had a set of functioning computers.

I asked the participants write an email to someone easy, then someone difficult. I timed them while they were doing it. It was interesting that everyone completely underestimated how long it took to type the email to someone difficult. Most people assumed that it would take a similar amount of time. They were very surprised when they found it took twice as long.

We did some more body mapping with forearm rotation and flexion at the elbow. It turns out that how your elbow moves as your hand comes to type on the computer is really important.

Then I did a bit of individual work with each person. One person wanted to work on checking data. It involved lots of head rotation between one screen and another. We worked on slowing down the rotation so she could take in the information she needed between one screen and the next.

Another person wanted to work on being really hunched over the computer, knowing that it was bad for her but somehow not doing anything about it. I worked with getting her more comfortable where she was at. Then I got her to come slowly out of it.

The participants said they enjoyed the workshop and said that they found the work with their upper body on the computer particularly helpful.

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© Kevin Saunders, Yogaground 2018

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