Where intention goes, energy flows
Descriptions of Alexander Technique can often include the dreaded p-word (Posture!), which can bring up a maelstrom of ‘shoulds’ and ‘shouldn’ts’ for many of us. But what is posture really? A few weeks ago I listened to ‘On Being’ host Krista Tippett talking with physicist Carlo Rovelli. The episode is titled: All Reality is Interaction. One of his phrases really stuck with me: “the huge wave of happenings which is a human self.” One aspect of that wave is our interaction with gravity. We are made for gravity: we meet its presence with our own wave of anti-gravity. We’re so elegantly designed that we don’t have to exert direct muscular force to do it.
Here’s how I think about postural behavior these days. It’s a dynamic flow of response:
To our focus…
To the environment…
To bodily sensation…
We can turn the focus of our attention to our advantage.
We cannot directly feel or control our anti-gravity muscles, but they respond to three things: 1) gravity; 2) our being awake (not unconscious); and 3) intention. The third is our access portal.
So: which way is away from gravity? Which way is up, relative to gravity? Can my attention invite me there?
Here’s some more great brain food, one of my favorite episodes from ‘The Liberated Body’ podcast:
How we form and move, with Joanne Avison
What is posture, really?
It’s a dance of counterbalance, opposition and flow ~
How do you think about posture? I’d love to know what your current postural attitude is!
wave: AbelEscobar on pixabay
fischer: Myriams-Fotos on pixabay
“Where intention goes, energy flows”: thanks to Iris
Additional thanks to goddess of podcast links: Liz
The Heart Sutra is the gateway to realizing emptiness, from which all things derive and by which all things are marked. In other words, its all one big changing thing, from form to emptiness and back, etc. Unfortunately we ordinary folks have to the deal with the arthritis and everything, so posture really matters while we are figuring all this out. Intention (volition in Buddhism) is also not other than emptiness, so its a moving target too. It does want to go someplace other than where it believes it is, but it is no more unitary or field independent than anything else, and is really just another wave within a sea of waves.
Yes, every single aspect of ‘ourselves’ and our ‘experience’ is just another wave within a sea of waves. It all moves.
I am in a perpetual — never-ending, from now until I’m dead — fight with gravity.
I have neuropathy in my feet, very little feeling. Yet I’m able to notice where my feet are at all times. Except when I fell, on my back in my house, at the end of March. I have no idea how that happened. It seems like a dream.
Your blog reminds me to pay even closer attention.
And how did you get my email? I am familiar with the Alexander Technique.
Hi Nancy, thanks for your comment! It looks like you subscribed to my mailing list at some point, which is why the invitation to see this blog showed up in your inbox.
What kinds of things have you tried to address the neuropathy in your feet? Has anything helped? A student of mine with foot neuropathy discovered that after a bit of walking on a foam balance beam* (a squishy, curved surface which gives a bit of challenge to our whole balancing-orienting system) he had more feeling in his feet; they seemed to ‘wake up’ a bit. We are designed to process gravity, but there sure are many factors that can get in the way of that system. And strategies to get back out of its way.
*Something like this: Healthstar Foam Balance Beam 6″ Blue