A wonderful invitation to reassess, plus a daily meditation practice to slow down regularly, by resident Alexander Practitioner, Sarah Warman
Where do we go from here?
How much better would your life feel if every single thing you did and each decision you made, came from a place of deep self-care and nurturing, and contributed to building a sustainable nourishing life for yourself and all those around you? What difference would that make? And how would your life be different?
Well it can be.
We are at a pivotal and unique moment in time, personally and collectively. We have each moved through our own forest of tests and challenges over the past 14 months, when the world as we knew it came to an abrupt halt. And whilst the past months have been different for many people, most of us have moved through grief and reflection of our pre-corona lives, having been afforded the experience of an alternative vantage point – and that is our golden ticket, to make different choices now.
I have had the privilege of working with many different people over the past 10 years as an Alexander Technique and Wellbeing teacher – in private one to one sessions, workshops, courses and retreats – helping people move from pain and stress to freedom and flow in their mind and body. But I’ve also experienced significant challenges – most poignantly 13 years ago I found myself in a metaphorical clamp – overnight I developed extreme RSI in my left arm, which quickly spread down my right, and then I was in immense pain everywhere – hips, knees, neck, back. Everything was physically and emotionally painful and I had to STOP. I had to literally stop working in a job I had worked so hard to get to. I felt like my life was crumbling around me before it had even really gotten started. It was an enforced stopping point. And I didn’t know it then, but it was the bridge to creating a much more nourishing, aligned, healthy healing and sustainable existence for myself.
In this state, I met my teachers and was told clearly – I have a choice: I can either do nothing differently, carry on as I am and, at best I would stay in the same amount of pain and turmoil, and at worst, it would all escalate in intensity. Or, I can choose to be open to another possibility, learn how to heal myself, and create a different more joyous existence. I believe we are collectively, and individually, at a similar turning point right now, and we all have this choice.
We are the sum of our habits: how we move, how we sit, how we eat, how we feel, how we work, how we play, and how we survive.
Habits, by their nature, are mostly and usually unconscious and learnt from those around us, who learnt from those before them, and those before them. They are a result of the stresses and strains we have experienced and perhaps have helped us to survive until today. But perhaps they no longer serve us. This exploration is the work.
Habits are changeable. We can learn how to move, think, feel, express, live in a different way. We do not need to just survive: we can thrive. And by laws of nature, if we are truly thriving, then so will life around us – both the people and the environment. So are the ripple effects of the impact of our day to day habits.
The first step to CHANGE and transformation, is awareness – which comes only through slowing down and stopping. This is what we have been experiencing: a worldwide stopping. It has been painful for many in numerous ways – mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually and financially. In the same breath, it has afforded us insight, and opportunity.
So, where do we go from here?
As corona restrictions come to an end, and we re-enter life closest to something resembling pre-corona than it has been for some time, we find ourselves at crossroads. We will be exposed to the same triggers, the same stresses, the same daily demands, responsibilities, challenges, and opportunities.
And also, there is an invitation to you – there are two paths, you can continue doing what you have done before and continue to experience the same – including the same aches and pains and stresses as before – perhaps at the same level or the intensity may increase.
Or, there is another path: a path to greater healing, a fresh opportunity for a new beginning, on a scale like never before. There is an invitation at the start of this article, to begin to create in reality your vision, where every single thing you do and decision you make, comes from a place of deep self-care and nurturing, contributing to building yourself a more sustainable nourishing life.
So where do you begin?
This choice emanates from the smallest of movements and most innocuous of decisions. You do not have to build a new world overnight. You can start by continuing to choose to slow down. As you slow down, your habitual reactions to stress and tension will begin to be illuminated to you, and you will then have the possibility of CHOICE. The choice is there in every moment, to continue to let triggers and traumas from the past unconsciously control you, by playing out in your movements, thoughts and behaviours; or to choose a different way to be, to move, to think and act, from a place of greater freedom and flow.
A 20 minute daily practice – building your slowing down muscle.
This is the best tool for your toolkit: lying down in “semi-supine” for 20 mins every day. And here is a brief intro on how to do it, to get you started:
Lie down on a firm surface but with a rug or mat underneath. Place a couple of books under your head for support (maybe an inch or two). Bend your knees and have your feet flat on the floor, roughly shoulder-width apart. Rest your hands either on your abdomen, or spaced out by your side, facing up. Let yourself feel fully supported by the ground coming up beneath you. Let go and trust the floor to support you. Have panoramic vision, remember to breathe, and bring your awareness to the space all around you: space above, space to your left, to your right, and beyond your head and toes.
Give yourself 20 mins, if you can, to lie here, meeting yourself exactly where you are. Notice your thoughts, emotions, physical experience of your body and awareness of yourself in the room – using all your senses. You do not need to empty your mind – just acknowledge what is there and meet yourself there. If you can’t manage 20 mins, that’s fine, just acknowledge the part of you that is struggling with that today.
When we lie down in semi supine, aka “constructive rest”, we are lowering the level of triggers so we can be less reactive, yet we are still awake and alert – something is required to keep eyes open and knees up. This will help you to build up your self-care muscle, and to bring this quality of quietness, awareness and physical embodiment to more challenging and testing experiences, that perhaps previously have pushed your buttons and prompted reactive habits. By slowing down, you are creating space, awareness and choice, and inviting the opportunity for recalibration, and new possibilities.
This of course is just the tip of the iceberg. For those of you that feel ready to dive a little deeper – I am here to support and guide you on this journey back to yourself – a reimagined nourished version of yourself where you can move, think and act with greater freedom and lightness.
For everyone reading I am happy to offer you 20% (£15) off your first consultation with me throughout the month of June.
A one to one consultation is a great way to dive deep into how this work can support you to thrive and give you a relaxing, therapeutic and insightful experience into what that looks and feels like.
The session is 75 minutes, giving us time to explore your challenges and your passions, and giving you a visceral experience of the connection between mind and emotions. The session will include hands on work lying down as well as in movement. You will leave feeling calmer in your mind and body, with greater clarity and perhaps a little taller!
I hope to meet you soon! Warmest wishes, SarahEmail Sarah to find out more