My home is located just steps away from what I consider my own park. It’s small yet private – me and my neighbors walk – with or without their dogs – bike, run and alas, during the dark hours when the weather is warm appear handfuls of teenagers doing illegal things. Of course, to an extent, these are rights of passage for many teenagers. Full disclosure, I was a Mom who was shocked that my child was one once. But now I am grateful that this was (probably?) the worse shenanigans under my watch.
But I digress….
There is a small lake with a gushing water fountain and this newly sprouted young willow tree:
I love the movement of its wispy leaves wafting in the breeze, a once barren stick now usefully providing the spine to its appendage leafy branches, moving freely through the wind.
It is probably not lost on most of us that our bodies are much like this willow tree. Our spine gives stability and support so that our arms and legs can extend both up, down and widen outwards, filling up the external space because our center is organized, strong and free at the same time.
One of my students is introducing the willow tree into his kinesthetic experience by observing habitual holding patterns that restrict the spirals, oppositions and free breathing that our bodies seek. The concept of non-doing is not yet a consistent new habit, but he is most definitely learning the well known adage, work smarter, not harder. Pause and think to challenge assumptions about what is required for us to move.
In the Alexander Technique world we are identifying the interferences (working harder) that we can then give up, opening the door for thinking about how we are approaching a new movement, dance style, or daily activities that are unavoidable in order to feed ourselves, walk, brush our teeth, comb/dry our hair, et cetera. Can we do what we are doing with less doing? Less muscular effort that serves to free our skeleton to move with an economy of effort?
If you want to see uninterfered with movement, watch a 4 year old pick up an object and look at it. They will flex their joints and lengthen their torsos away from their lower body. This is what we did when we were 4, 5 ad 6 before the longer hours of sitting at desks encouraged us to compress and pull down.
But our 4 year old selves can be re-awakened and re-educated, reminding us of how we used ourselves in life before sitting, trauma, both emotional and physical and poor emerging habits caused compression, pain and discomfort.
Learn to waltz like a Willow tree!
I can help you.
If you want to find out more, book a lesson with me, either on zoom.com or if you are in the NY/NJ area at my studio in Montclair, NJ. Please use my contact form, tell me about yourself and leave your availability. I will respond within 24 hours.
Happy Dancing! If you know other dancers who may benefit from reading my blog, please forward.