Shoulder Pain and Tension
I came to Hilary two years ago when I developed an intense shoulder pain playing the violin. I simply had not noticed how much tension I was putting into my playing. Hilary also helped me to notice other postural quirks and tensions that were affecting my sitting posture, computer use and many basic daily activities. Like many people I have a tendency to “power through” any problem by redoubling effort – my body was finally rebelling at age 40!
Since taking lessons with Hilary (initially regular weekly lessons, then occasional) I have noticed improvements in many areas:
- Almost immediately my ability to sit still in meditation for 45 minutes improved noticeably – I became able to release aches and pains as they developed, without having to change position
- I learnt to approach the violin with patience, whereas before I had been “rushing” at it and tensing up
- In my running club I improved my pace, core stability and breath coordination
- I became aware of unhelpful posture habits: twisting my body at the computer, collapsing onto the sofa, clenching my right hand whilst texting, or leaning my hips against the kitchen sink whilst washing up.
Body Awareness and Co-ordination
Even more than these specifics though, the greatest benefit has been the overall improvement in body awareness and coordination. This has been sorely lacking all my life (pun intended) as I have always had hyper-mobility in several joints. I had not previously realised how much it affected me and limited my choices. Since working with Hilary on improving my proprioception and kinesthesia, I am now much more confident in how I use my body and am constantly improving my basic coordination skills, leading to stability and strength rather than frustration and injury. I feel like my mind and body are friends again now.
The New Family Game: ‘Posture Police’!
Lessons with Hilary have always been fun and relaxing, she listens every carefully and adapts her lessons to give precisely what is needed that week. I always leave her beautiful house feeling refreshed and buoyant. The only down-side is that I’m afraid I am a bit of an Alexander-evangelist now, and have roped my whole family in as “posture police” – with noticeable improvements in all of us! By “posture police” I mean my kids are now in the excellent habit of saying “nice straight back, Mummy!” to me (or “ooh, your back is really curved when you’re putting your shoes on, you should bend your knees!” Also to each other, and they are more easily aware of their own movements and postures. (They do know it’s not supposed to be a stiffly-held straight back.) I have the feeling they are so much more aware of their bodies than before.
Having done plenty of martial arts, my husband Marco has better posture and balance in movement than I do generally, but he is not immune to “laptop and couch slouch” – now he has three pairs of eyes ready to remind him. It’s become quite a family game. We’re all helping each other take care of our bodies better.