Sunday, September 16, 2012

Observing ourselves in the chair - 1

How we view ourselves
You might be surprised if you pay a little attention occasionally. See what I mean by trying the exercises below.

Why self-observation is important
Old habits repeatedly introduce unnecessary tension in how we sit and move our bodies. These habits are often very comfortable – for a time. We all know about crossing the legs or slumping in a chair, but perhaps you have other habits that escape your attention.

I’m not against such habits, provided you are aware of them and consciously ‘plan’ them.

Try my test to find out how conscious you are about your habits.

Test yourself
Don’t change a thing about how you are now sitting. Try not to respond physically to what you notice.

Here’s a checklist.
·         Points of contact with the floor, chair and desk
·         Any tight or sore spots
·         Your breath
·         Your jaw, tongue and eyes

You might spend 2-3 minutes on this list.
Only now, ask what change is possible – without muscular effort.
Can you let go of something?

As I typed this blog, I noticed tension in my wrists – see what happens if you simply ask for release.

Here is another small checklist for you to try.
·     Your posture in relation to the computer screen
·     Where the ceiling and walls/partitions are
·     Your emotional state
·     Where other people are in the room

Recent classes
I have guided participants in recent classes through similar tests. They have been amazed at how much escapes their conscious attention.

Will you remember to do this?
Is there a good time in the day to check in on yourself? Perhaps just before each major break – say lunchtime.

Constructive rest
Self-observation really makes sense when lying in semi-supine position. You have no reason to be tensing muscles unnecessarily. 10 minutes will reveal to you much about where you are holding tension. See my blog about Resting the Back.

Sustain the practice
Improving your self-awareness, and consequently your daily habits, will require sustained effort.

Consider a series of private lessons, my group classes, or discuss with me options for an activity in your workplace.

This is not medical advice. Consult your doctor if you are suffering a medical condition.

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