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Head Away from Knees Away from Worries on the Beach

Enjoying glimpses of freedom more than the long slog

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    Alexander Technique, Back Pain, Other Thoughts, Our Swimming Lessons
02-May-2017 /  written by Ian Cross
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Head Away from Knees Away from Worries on the Beach
“ A clear direction, a wish which hit the target with a whoosh. In a heartbeat, everything opened up and for a few moments I was free."

Bank Holiday Monday, I went for a long walk with my friend and we got a bit lost when we decided to explore and ran out of footpath signs. Trampling through boggy fields, avoiding cows, untying and tying knots holding gates, walking on a road with Gordon pulling on his lead and impeding my stride. Sweaty and unwashed, wet feet, lacking sleep, away from the forest path I know so well. Sagging into my lower back. Two hours instead of one. That kind of walk doesn’t seem to do me much good. It’s energy sapping. There’s no freedom in it.  I like to move easily, my arms free to swing as I stride along a clear path, uphill with my heart pumping.  I like my dogs to run free up the forest banks, where there’s nothing for them to chase.  

But I made it to the pool in good time to meet a new pupil who told me that previous attempts at learning to swim weren’t good because teachers tried to get her swimming rather than feeling happy in water. This was music to my ears. She’s already letting her head go to find the support of the water, breathing, doing well. 

In the evening I went for a quick stroll on the beach with Cheryl and our daughters.  Some friends in their wetsuits and caps were setting off for the first Monday night swim of the year, from Poppit Sands to Cemaes Head. I wondered if I should be with them but it looked cold and I get a rash if I wear a wetsuit. Many jelly fish lay dead on the sand. As I walked a few yards behind the others I was worrying about all this. 

Then I gave a direction to myself as I walked, Head Away From Knees. A clear direction, a wish which hit the target with a whoosh.  In a heartbeat, everything opened up. As my body started to breathe and my head led me towards the clouds on the horizon, for a few moments I was free, really walking, part of my environment. Then I took a photo and decided to write a blog, about how the Alexander Technique is, for me. Mostly, that’s what it’s like: moments of freedom. But moments which do make it all worthwhile.  

This was posted yesterday on tumblr, for Ian's new Alexander Technique website  One thing to add here is that it's true for me when swimming, as with walking, that glimpses of freedom coming out of a clear thought are probably more likely to happen when bobbing around not going anywhere than when swimming some distance to a destination. 

Also see:  A Timeless Swim / It's all Right Once You're In / Transform Your Day In 10 Seconds / Tame Swimming /What are you Training for?

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