Use the Alexander Technique While You Walk
Winter brings rain, fallen leaves, ice and sometimes snow on
the ground, which can make our footpaths very slippery and treacherous.
Icy Newington Green
You can see how quickly snow compacts into slippery ice, here on Newington Green – making it so easy to skid, slide and lose your balance, if you are not careful.
Observe Your Reactions and Walk Mindfully
How do you cope with slippery surfaces and paths? If you are aware, you can notice your reactions as you think of going out into the cold – do you start becoming tense at the mere thought of icy conditions? Perhaps you can say ‘no’
to bracing and choose not to do that, so that you can avoid building up unnecessary tension. Observe how you walk on slippery surfaces and experiment by relaxing and being thoughtful about how you move – and you may well experience a different, easier way of walking on slippery surfaces so you feel more secure and confident.
Try Ice Grippers on Your Boots
Adding ice grippers to your footwear is a practical aid to helping you cope with icy condititions. They make it much easier to balance and to avoid tensing up if you have a fear of falling.
I know from my own experience that it is
very tempting to tighten up our legs, feet and ankles, the muscles
around our hip joints and even our neck and shoulder muscles when walking on slippery surfaces. Most of
the tightening is the result of anticipating a possible fall and this can
be tiring plus restricts our movements and circulation – and it’s a waste of energy!
Say ‘No’ to Bracing!
We really don’t need to brace ‘just in case’ we might slip and fall. This
doesn’t serve us. In fact, tightening our neck muscles reduces the
information we can obtain about our balance, and locking our ankles and
hips also interferes with our ability to fine tune our balance. A recent Research Trial
concluded that Alexander Technique lessons aided older people with their balance and fear of falling, so that they felt more secure.
I remember an occasion when I was walking tentatively on an icy pavement and I was gradually getting very tight muscles around the tops of my legs – then a teenage girl sprinted down the icy road in front of me with beautiful grace and freedom of movement. Seeing her easy running skills reminded me to keep freeing up
my neck muscles and my whole body as I moved and I felt a lot more comfortable as a result! When we do this, we are able to obtain more information about our balance, not only from the structures in our ears but also from the tiny movements our heads make as we walk and the AT can help us to do this. It is always helpful to walk mindfully but it is particularly important when paths are slippery.
STAT Conference ~ Brighton University 9 – 11 July 2010
I shall be going to this year’s STAT Conference and AGM in Brighton, so please note that I will be unavailable to teach in Stoke Newington at this time.
As well as the AGM, there will be a number of interesting Workshops to attend. I also look forward to hearing the Annual Lecture, which will be given by Vivien Mackie, Alexander Teacher and author of ‘Just Play Naturally: An Account of her studies with Pablo Casals’ in which she links Casals’ cello teaching with the Principles of the Alexander Technique.
The Annual F M Alexander Memorial Lecture on Saturday 10th July is open to anyone interested in the Alexander Technique.