Travelling lightly, freely and easily is an art.
If you are lucky enough to be going away, what will you be taking?
Passport, money, sun cream… But have you thought about what you don’t need to take?
We are often laden with lots of emotional baggage, as well as excess tension in the body. This can result in feeling like we are dragging ourselves around, as well as our luggage.
We allow events and stories from our past to filter into the present, making our journey less colourful, vivid and exciting. The past doesn’t allow for spontaneity, freedom and living on the edge, so there is not a sense of enjoyment, exploration or freshness and space for new possibilities. We prefer to play safe, so we feel comfortable and secure. Stress and tension also make the journey more bumpy and difficult.
If we apply and practice the simple tools of the Alexander technique, we learn to become more present and travel with lightness, ease and freedom. We can leave our problems and fears behind, or at least carry them in such a way as to feel lighter.
This reduces the stress that’s associated with travelling. We learn to give ourselves enough time so we respond with a sense of calm and preparation. There is less hurry and worry. We are more aware of how we carry our luggage, be it emotional, physical or mental.
If I find I am stuck in queues such as airports, traffic jams and seats, I can call upon the Alexander technique tools. I love this because it is like a friend keeping a careful watch on me wherever I go, wherever I am, the tools are always there giving me a reality check, calling me back to the present, back into my body, expanding my awareness. I remember I can exercise choice, even if I feel stuck I don’t have to turn this into a stressful situation. I make a subtle shift in my thinking and being which allows me step back and evaluate the situation, this means I am not automatically reacting, but being responsible. I can choose to move, breathe or smile. Moving myself from feeling stuck, cramped, stressed and compressed. This choice gives me a space to create a new possibility, which usually results in being happier, lighter and present.
One of the principle tools of the Alexander Technique is to maintain an awareness of what is going on with ourselves, particularly the region of the head, neck and back. When we are stressed, one of the first places we tighten and restrict is the breathing, which then tenses the neck, shoulders, and back. I have a simple strategy (that takes practice), to help maintain balance, poise and equilibrium in my body/mind/emotions/spirit. I ask myself, “am I aware?” This brings me back to the present moment, and back to my body. I then ask myself, “Is my neck free?” “Is my head releasing upwards?” “Is my back lengthening and widening?” “Am I breathing, smiling?” Asking these simple questions is often enough to make a shift to a new place, where I am aware and can exercise my will to move to a place of ease, not dis-ease.
Another valuable tool of the A.T you can practice – is to find a quiet place and take 20 minutes to stop and lie on your back, with the head slightly supported the legs elevated, feet on the floor. This is a very simple yet remarkably effective way to release stress, compression and tension in the body, resulting in being calm, at ease and balanced. The “constructive rest” demonstration will guide you through this very healing therapeutic process.
Have a great summer with love, light and delight.