Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Sleeping on Sandwiches - Day 8

Sleeping on Sandwiches - Day 8

The Posture Police Blotter has been on hiatus for awhile and I'm bringing it back with a daily blog that will run from June 20 through September 22. This daily edition will have a different focus to it and the gem in all of this is that what I'm going to be writing and what I've written about posture and the Alexander Technique are all related. Follow along and learn how!
Efficiency and Gravity 
Last night my partner stayed up until the wee hours of the night trying to fight gravity with a child-sized bicycle.  (No, he was not riding a kid bike outside in the middle of the night.)  Unlike adult bikes, kids bikes are generally quite heavy relative to their size and he spent several hours affixing the bike to the side of a shelf unit.  I should say "shelf unit".  The shelf unit is a former display from Rite Aid pharmacy across the street that he thought would be a perfect shoe, mail, and bicycle rack.  Rite Aid tossed it out, he brought it in, and we cleaned it up.  It's a pretty clunky thing.  Too clunky in my opinion to really have the sort of "hipster" found-on-the-side-of-the-road appeal that he was going for.  I was amused by the plastic sign at the top though that reads "Don't Forget Batteries" (It was a battery display unit.) and curious to see what he would do with it.  The kids seemed to dig it too.  It sat in the kitchen for awhile doing nothing much other than being something that the kids would occasionally climb on and we'd have to make sure they didn't knock it over.  
A few days ago though, some developments began as he hung a bunch of Ikea cloth pouches from it attached with carabiner clips.  I really started to take form as a sort of Christmas tree.  Last night he spent several hours attaching the bicycle to it with caribiner clips and a variety of hooks and later warned me that if anyone hangs on the bicycle, the whole thing will fall over on top of them.  I suggested that he just keep the bicycle somewhere on the floor.  He said that he'd pick up some canisters of salt to weigh down the other side.  I suggested he put the bike on the floor.  He then considered that it might be a good idea to secure the opposite side to the floor to counterbalance the weight.  He may have been kidding.  This attempt to do something "cool" had just turned into National Lampoons Multipurpose Rite Aid Display.

So what am I getting at here?  Gravity.  It's something we all deal with in terms of the objects that we manipulate and how we interact with gravity in our own bodies.  We naturally have an excellent relationship with gravity, but we tend to get in the way.  Our heads are heavy (about 10-12 lbs.) and most of us are chronically tensing our necks, which pulls on our heads and throws them off balance.  We then respond by tensing and pulling every which way in our bodies below our heads all the way to our feet to deal with that downward pressure.  Then it feels like gravity is dragging us down, but we're actually dragging ourselves down.  We may try a lot of things to try and fix ourselves, but they may not be too successful if we don't deal with the tension in our necks that pulls our heads down into us.  Going around like that is a pretty inefficient way to interact with gravity and we just complicate things by trying to fix it.  We generally don't fall over easily like the display unit  with the bike attached because we have the ability to compensate and then we become accustomed to the problematic ways in which we compensate.  We might be better off if we just fell over once and then realized that it's not so great to tighten our necks.

My partner spent a lot of time attaching that bicycle, but he may just let go of all of that work to create a safe environment and do the simple, efficient thing of putting it on the floor.  Similarly, many people benefit from Alexander Technique lessons because they learn to stop trying to fix themselves and  to instead deal with the root of the problem, which starts up top at the head and neck.  

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