5 Stages of Creating Change in the Body

More notes and thoughts from the Tom Myers "Body Reading 101" seminar.

These 5 stages work equally well if you are applying them to yourself or to a student/client. In some ways, this process is easier when working with someone else, as you will have greater perspective than when working on yourself.

1. Skeletal Geometry

Assess the position of the body. Determine the imbalances and holding patterns that need to be worked with. If working on yourself, use a combination of internal and external self-assessment, being aware of your poses from the inside as well as analyzing yourself in a mirror.

2. Soft Tissue

Determine which soft tissues are creating and maintaining the body position you are seeking to adjust. At this stage this is going to be conjecture, unless you are working on yourself and the tightnesses and holding patterns are especially clear. This will may give you a general idea of what's going on, but don;t be complacent. The Alexander technique has a concept of "debauched kinesthesia," when the body is so used to one particular habit the sense of what is "balanced" becomes skewed.

3. Story

Put everything you see into a story. If you are taking a history from someone, it can be helpful to make your observations first, without knowing the history. If you go into the assessment with preconceived notions, you will "see" things through that filter, which can potentially throw your assessment off. If working on yourself, you do not have the luxury of ignorance. It then becomes important to let go of the story and see what is actually there. This is a good practice in general. I have known students who have defined themselves according to their injuries. You ask them about themselves and you get a litany of the things that have happened to them. They have limited their lives by focusing on the insults committed against their bodies. The question then becomes how much have they limited their prospects of healing.

4. Strategy

Devise and apply a strategy based on the information you have derived from the first three stages.

5. Look Again

This is a recursive process. Go back to stages 1 and 2 and see what change has taken place and go through the cycle again. Very often a superficial pattern is there as a response to a deeper layer of holding. It may seem like you fix one thing and then something else goes wrong, but really you have just uncovered something deeper.

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