March 04, 2009 @ 02:38 PM Filed in: Web
My dear friend and co-conspirator in yoga, Kristen Davis, has been interviewed over at the very entertaining and eclectic Ashtanga-based blog Elephantbeans. Kristen’s ideas on integrating Alexander Technique with Iyengar Yoga have had a great influence on me:
“My teaching comes out of my own experience, the dialogue between my mind and body as I practice. This dialogue comes out of all my years of Alexander Technique and the way I apply it to my yoga. The mind and body have a symbiotic relationship. The mind must coach and cajole, the body responds, and the mind is rewarded with an incredible sense of peace and serenity.
Step 1. The mind must observe, simply see what’s there, as is, without judgment. Be willing to meet the body where it’s at, in that moment.
Step 2. The mind must put an end to any nonsense—inhibit or stop any habitual pattern, any negative action, any effort that is misplaced.
I say that with a certain strictness, but really this is where there’s a lot of coaxing and cajoling. We are often dependent on these habits in very deep ways (on an emotional level); they don’t release easily. Knowing this, the mind can guide and imagine, but ultimately the body will respond in its own time, on its own schedule, so there has to be a certain looseness, playfulness. You can’t be tied to the fruits of your labor; you can’t take yourself too seriously .
Step 3. Then the mind must tell the body what it WOULD like it to do, direct the actions it wants (the actions that will better organize the body and take it deeper into the pose). There is a cooperation between the mind and body –the action cannot be forced, but must come out of an integrated sense of ease. Again playful, exploratory.”
Check out the whole interview for more yoga goodness.
(Interestingly, there’s a short piece in Fityoga Magazine about this very subject this month. I’d post a link to their site, but it’s kind of a crappy magazine and they haven’t updated their site since August, in any case.)