Learning New Movement Habits – a How-To Guide
We’ve created a 4 part series to support learning new movement habits. In this series we will cover:
Part 1: Emerging from not knowing – seeing your habits
Part 2: Consciously exploring new pathways
Part 3: New Normal Emerges
Part 4: New Habits formed – celebrate the wins!
Part One: Emerging from not knowing – seeing your habits
New habits are learnt, new habits need practice.
To learn anything new (guitar, yoga, software programs, sports etc) you are often uncomfortable in the beginning. Genuine attention and focus are needed to forge new pathways in our nervous system. It is wonderful how we now understand the “neuro plasticity” of our brains.
Habits are powerful as they work in the background, running on automatic. To create changes in our habits we need to disrupt our regular routines.
The first key stage in the learning of new habits is appreciating when you have NO awareness or knowledge of your present circumstances (posture, movement patterns, habitual responses to stimulus etc). The only option you have to function in the world is to run on your regular, known nervous system pathways. This is most often the place where people start their BodyMinded learning journey.
Some need has brought you wanting or seeking change. Perhaps it is pain, discomfort or you want to be more confident, have less headaches – whatever your motivation, the first step is looking very carefully at what you are doing. I call this emerging from your ‘not’ knowing place.
Often in a class or in a private lesson the first part of the learning is to become aware of what you can’t currently see or feel.
So many times I’ve heard or seen people say “I’m not really leaning back all the time, am I?” (when exploring where upright-ness actually is spatially). Each person has blind spots. We all do. Even those people that have been doing BodyMinded/Alexander Technique for a long time – everyone has ideas that need updating about how we move and respond to the world.
If you are in the place of wanting to change something that you know is not helping you be healthy and happy, the first step is to find a method to get external objective information about yourself.
The easiest method is to work with a professionally trained observer of movement aka an Alexander Technique teacher or a BodyMinded coach (We work in Sydney and would love to help you!) If this is not available to you then start using mirrors, or your smart phone to grab photos or video of yourself. Carefully looking at your movement, seeking external objective information is the key to seeing what you actually do when you move!
Remember, we are focusing on movement NOT any specific position.
Seeing your movement is not an instruction to add more tension or try to ‘fix’ something; approach your observations with buckets loads of self-kindness. Our thinking and moving are woven together, change one and the other follows
Today’s practical task:
Reflect on what and how you will gain external objective feedback about your thinking and moving. Working with a trusted source is important.
Work towards cataloguing what you are really doing when you reach for a cupboard door, turn your head when driving, lifting your child, begin playing the piano etc.
Want some professional help?
- Join one of our small group classes with a professional coach
- Book a series of personal lessons with one of our professional teachers
- Book a Skype lesson with us if you don’t live close to a BodyMinded Practitioner
Stay tuned for part 2 – Consciously Exploring New Pathways