The question of energy levels is an important one to many of my students. Perhaps it is important to you, too. Life seems to be so busy, and there always seems to be more that needs to be done. Some of my students have had the experience of struggling to maintain energy levels through a busy day. And what makes it all the more galling is that colleagues or friends may have similarly stressful, action-packed days, and yet apparently breeze through them unscathed.
How can this be? Are those of us who struggle with energy lacking stamina? Short of tearing up our To do lists, is there a way of improving our energy levels? Can the Alexander Technique help us to have more energy and vitality?
Why the answer is yes…
It is a common experience of Alexander technique students to feel more ‘alive’ after a lesson. They often report feeling more awake, more alert, lighter, and somehow more able to concentrate on tasks. So why does this happen?
The secret lies in the stuff we do to ourselves – unnecessary muscular activity.
FM Alexander noticed in himself, and subsequently in others, that it was something that he was doing in the way he went about activities that was causing his problems – the problems that led him to create the work we call the Alexander Technique. He noticed defects in the way he was using himself.
And in his first book, Alexander noted that when defects in the poise of the body are present, “the condition thus evidenced is the result of an undue rigidity of parts of the muscular mechanisms … Which are forced to perform duties other than those intended by nature.” In other words, if we are experiencing problems, it is likely that some of our muscles are working far too hard, and probably in ways that they are not designed to do.
So it makes sense that if we are using more muscular activity than we need, and using the wrong muscles anyway, that we would start to feel fatigued.
This is why feeling an increase in energy is a common experience in Alexander Technique lessons. Students not only decrease the work done by their muscles, but they work out for themselves (with the teacher’s assistance) the most effective way of carrying out the activity they are working on. They work out which muscles they need to use, and then experience using just those muscles, doing just the right amount of work.
2 things you can do to improve your energy levels.
Here are two simple things you can do to help yourself improve your energy levels.
1. A bit of brainpower. Have a think about the activity that is causing you fatigue. What is involved in the activity? What is the least number of muscles and joints you need to use to carry out the activity?
2. The 50% less game. Pick an activity, and try using half as much energy as normal. For example, can you use half as much energy to type on your computer? Hold a pen? Click a mouse? This is a great game to play. My students usually discover that they don’t need to use nearly as much energy for most activities. Just pick the activity wisely- holding a kitchen knife or a steering wheel might require a little caution!
Are you willing to give these ideas a go? Tell me about it in the comments!
Image by Richard Styles, stock.xchng