The other day at my Alexander Lesson, my teacher was helping me to move my balance point from forward and scrunched down to up and over my spine. Because I so often have my head reaching toward my computer, it puts a lot of my weight forward too. Then other parts of my body have to move backward to compensate so I don’t fall over.
It’s rather comical to think about the fact that here I am a grown woman relearning how to stand, sit, and move.
On this particular day, I was especially forward and down, as if I was planning to use my head as a bowling ball or something. (By the way, do you have any idea how much your head weighs, and how much strain it puts on your neck? About 11 pounds!) Elizabeth was guiding me to direct my head and neck over the rest of my spine, which was considerably farther back than I was standing.
All of a sudden, my weight was on my heels and I had to take a few small steps to catch my balance. Why? Well, there were several reasons. And the biggest reason was that I had locked my knees.
Elizabeth recognized this right away, and said, “Why don’t you try relaxing your knees so you can find your balance?” Of course! That’s the logical solution. Yet because I was so focused on the upper half of my body, I paid no attention to what the lower half of my body was doing. And because I was concentrating hard, I did what I often do when concentrating – tensed up.
Then I thought back to my ballet lessons. When we were about to jump – we bent our knees. Just before we turned, we bent our knees. In fact, bending our knees was the preparation for almost every major move we made.
The same is true with so many sports. Watch an outfielder preparing to run. He bends his knees. Watch a diver preparing to dive. Knee-bending again. Gymnastics, jumping, running, speed skating. All start with bended knees.
Don’t want to pass out on stage? Keep your knees loose. Going for a high note? Same thing. It brings life and breath and energy into your body like almost nothing else can. It keeps you loose and ready for whatever comes next…whether you know what it is or not.
What if we virtually bend our knees as we go through life? Stay loose and ready for whatever comes next. Bracing for the storm doesn’t help you weather it. It simply knocks you over.
So the next time you’re tempted to lock your knees, don’t. Take a deep breath. Let it expand your entire torso. Then feel the energy spread all the way to the tips of your toes. Feel the warm tingling that comes from bending your knees. And prepare to jump.
Are you trying to do something and feeling stuck in place? Where can you bend your knees so you can jump? Add your voice to the discussion.