Last week I set a challenge (Don’t Wait For The Teacher). Not just to use less force in one single activity, but to seek out for yourself the tasks you can use less force on.
Easy to write, but not always an easy skill to learn. In fact, for most people it involves thinking in a completely different way.
How? Well, most people – at least before they’ve had a few Alexander lessons – assume that they are doing things in the best way possible. If they’ve ever thought about it. They’ve never really looked for unnecessary force.
And if you’re not entirely sure where to look, it’s a lot to ask.
So this week, my advice to you is: Mind Your Language (no, I don’t mean swearing. You can use as many rude words as you like, it’s fine by me):-
1. Describe, in words, how you do a task.
2. Take a careful look at the verbs you just used.
That’s the really important bit, the VERBS (or “doing words”). That’s where the action is, and that’s where the unnecessary force hides.
There are generally two categories of verbs. Firstly, the really obvious ones, like:-
These sound like hard, energetic words, ones that need lots of force to do. But check them out – you’ll be surprised at how often you need less force than you think.
Then there’s the second category – the sneaky ones. These sound like you need hardly any force at all (which is true):-
The trouble is, people are seduced by these lovely words. The word is light, so they assume the movement is light. Of course. It must be. Surely? Isn’t it?? Well – usually not. Check it out. Chances are you will find your muscles working hard, creating loads of unnecessary tension.
Go ahead, swear like a navvy, just watch the doing words.