Whether you are paddle boarding in Hawaii or exercising at your local gym, optimal balance, flexibility, and coordination are at the core of how you perform. Learning to maximize your whole body balance and coordination to adapt to every changing conditions, whether on land or water, can be a new approach to fitness. Learning to expand your awareness of ourselves in all your activities and also rethink how you move in your activities can bring about an improved state of overall coordination and performance. Applying the Alexander Technique in activity is a simple process which brings about instantaneous results. It is as simple as beginning all of our activities with the awareness of your whole head and whole body. You can learn to access natural balance through “moving in the direction of ease.” Thinking these words actually allows our nervous system to access the natural movement of our head moving delicately upward and our whole body lengthening. The freedom of movement in our head/neck relationship governs our primary reflexes affecting balance, muscular tension and coordination. You can bring about an overall lessening of tension in your whole body by thinking ease in your neck. The words, “moving in the direction of ease,” allow us to free our necks so that our whole head can move forward and upward. What results is improved overall flexibility, freedom of movement, and biomechanics.
If you begin your yoga, “Salutation to the Sun”, with the thought of your head moving delicately forward and upward, your whole body will lengthen as you go into your positions. This opens your joints for greater range of motion. Without trying to put your head in any position, but rather trusting that your thoughts will direct your body, you will move with greater fluidity and freedom. This is your natural coordination at work.
The same applies to swimming, or diving, thinking of your head moving delicately in the direction of ease and your body following, you free your head and neck to move more easily. This frees your breathing and adds more efficiency to all of your movements, conserving energy.
I have found that on a spin bike, if you I focus on my head moving forward and upward, which allows my whole spine to lengthen, this eases my neck and frees my hip joint and legs. My whole torso lengthens on the bike when sitting on the saddle or in a climbing position. My breath is reflexes, my hip joint is free for me to bend forward and the action of my knees are free of excessive downward pressure. One of my students reported how much less tiring she found this approach on the bike. This definitely applies to road biking as well.
So try out some of these simple directions for improving the efficiency of your movements when exercising. We can add enjoyment and increase our energy while walking, skiing, dancing or any activity. This is one of the best investments you can make for your overall fitness program.