11.07.24: AT Lesson: Invitation to Release

We were both quite relieved to have another Alexander lesson, and I was in rough shape when we started. Wendy checked in with us and when she found out the state I was in she whisked me upstairs to the table to begin. I filled her in on some of the details since our last lesson several weeks prior. I filled her in on our adventures down to North Carolina, my great ride for my lesson and the pain I ended up in today due to some sort of bad step while out romping through the woods attempting to set a new trail route.
She put me on the table to start with, and laying down in the active rest position with my knees drawn up and my head resting on a few paperback books I became hyper aware of the tension laced across my back. As she began to work with me and I took time to be more in the moment the tension and pain associated with it began to fade. She worked to help reset my body and bring awareness back into my neck, back and limbs. As she worked gently lifting and positioning first my shoulders, then arms, and then legs, she gave me words to begin to develop an association that would create a response somewhat like a mantra can evoke a certain feeling. I invite the muscles of my neck to release, to allow my head to move up into its delicate position of poise, and my back to widen. Taking the time to pause, to take just a moment to return into one's senses and then to be aware and repeat the statement and allow the body to find the posture and position that it innately knows is correct.
By the time she was finished and I got up off the table, the residual pain in my back and knee had gone away. I moved around the room for a few moments as she guided and worked on helping me to find the best position again. We discussed the challenge of the fact that this modality is all about doing nothing, because one can not force any of it to happen. Nothing is everything when working on this technique in the same way that nothing is everything when riding a horse. Less is more in the greatest degree of truth. We worked for a few moments more before going back downstairs for her to work with Jim. I noted to her that I wanted to work on stairs some time soon since they are a pretty big challenge for me.
We returned to Jim relaxing in the parlor (an old Victorian house always has a parlor after all...) reading his magazine. She checked in with him and found that he was doing pretty well, so she began to help him align himself better working with him standing up. Using the same words and phrases she helped him to find a greater degree of straightness and relaxation which resulted in even less pain. She helped him experiment with how to step forward, and helped him to find a much more comfortable way to take the first step. Rather than stepping forward with his left foot, if he shifted his weight onto his left and stepped forward with his right foot it reduced his pain level by a large degree. He experimented with that, and we all laughed when he got tied up in talking and accidentally stepped forward in his old habit and cringed. She helped him to find more comfort in reaching for objects using the monkey stance to help reafirm the position that gives him the greatest degree of comfort.
These reminders can't come often enough, and I wish we had the ability to take lessons more often for it would do us both a lot of good.
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11.07.30: Ride Out Again