Saturday, November 22, 2014



 Dates


- 22/11/2014
- 1/12/ 2014
- 3/3/2015
- 18/3/2015
- 7/4/2015
- 15/4/2015
- 14/5/2015
- 21/6/2015
- 25/6/2015
- 9/9/2015
- 9/9/2015
- 16/1/2016
- 8/7/2016
- 1/11/2016
- 22/1/2017
- 16/3/2017
- 4/7/2017
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Felt dizzy today for about three short intervals. Must be at least a couple of years since I had a dizziness episode. Must be due to my 'taking my head back' initiative. No harm done. Lay on the bed for a few minutes and had to sit in a chair for a short time.

Quite clearly my Atlas and Axis alignments are not OK yet. Substantial improvements taking place in my stomach muscles as the head shifts backwards.
Selvaraj
22/11/2014

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Find no ill effect from the earlier episode. The nature of posture correction is such that you are bound to feel deep discomfort at times, as nonlinear changes take place.

Unfortunately the world of posture correction does not as yet seem to appreciate that when posture is collapsed the distortion of the musculosketal system is deep and profound and we need to have our wits fully about us if we are to correct it. The plasticity of the body is such that we can compare the situation to making a figurine out of dough and then deforming it; it will be very difficult to figure out the earlier non deformed shape from the deformed one.

The idea of toe to heel movement is helping to produce very positive changes in my complete body balance. I feel less lumpy and more lean and strong. I have been pursuing this idea since I came across Dr. Lieberman's website in March 2014.
  
Selvaraj
01/12/2014

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Making good progress. Recently experienced a sudden release in my lower spine, accompanied by some pain. This release was definitely a culmination of all the changes that I am attempting to make, especially 'toe to heel movement' and getting my head back.

With the 'release' in my spine I feel greatly improvement body balance, and movement which is less hurried and harried.There seems to be improved 'flow' starting from the toes.

Running toe to heel has made it possible for me to run barefooted inside our house. I am naturally (without premeditation) increasing the number of times I run (a distance of 1 Km). The other day I felt some pain in my right knee.  My feeling is that it should be possible to run barefooted on a hard surface if we run toe to heel. If any pain is experienced there must be some problem with the musculoskeletal system which will need sorting out. I see running barefooted on a hard surface as a tool to improve posture. I have got over the pain in my right knee.

Good body balance should make it possible to remain in 'present space' more easily - a requirement for free and easy movement. I am testing out this idea.

Whenever possible I try to sit cross-legged - I must be sitting this way for maybe 90% of the time. I also either wear flat slippers or am barefooted.


Selvaraj
3/3/2015

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 - I find myself totally committed to the ideas expressed in http://headbalance.blogspot.com/ and http://useofpillows.blogspot.com/ . So far I have not discovered any down side. My posture - including my general physical shape - continues to improve at a rapid clip. Because of my Mechanical Engineering background I am able to see past temporary discomfort. I can only wonder how people without my background are going to understand the whole issue. Also, I use the concept of 'Present Space' continuously. Since no one has provided me any feedback on this subject I have no idea how others are progressing or likely to progress.

Since most people are likely to hold the view that footwear and tight clothing around the waist will not pose any problem, conceptually, I could well be on another planet.

... People trying to correct posture should become aware that the process of correcting posture is likely to alter their elimination process, and one may have to figure out how to deal with temporary difficulties. Since this is a sensitive topic to deal with, I will leave the rest to people's imagination :-)

Selvaraj
18/3/2015

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Experienced some sharp momentarily pain over a few days in my lower spine, as a consequence of major postural readjustment in this area. The whole pelvic area is readjusting mainly as a consequence of toe to heel movement and balancing the head in a more backward position.

Readjustment of muscles and bones in the pelvic region so that they operate in a particular way to give greater mechanical advantage seems crucial to effectively connect proper toe to heel movement with better balance of the head.

Got the feeling that with stronger muscular engagement the idea of 'inhibition' becomes workable. As a rule I have depended on the concept of 'Present Space and Thought Space' to engage the mind in the absence of a strong 'muscular feel'. Now it may be possible to work with both, the concept of 'Thought Space and Present Space' as well as 'Inhibition'.

It is worth mentioning once again that correcting posture is not child's play. Amazing amount of focused attention is required, and we must get our facts right.

Selvaraj
7/4/15

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Sudden improvement of muscular function in the upper thighs, bringing major relief to the abdominal region.

Selvaraj
15/4/15

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Once again must express my gratitude to Dr. Lieberman for bringing to our attention that barefoot runners run toe to heel. By extension my conclusion has been that in walking too we must walk this way. This line of approach has completely altered 'the wave form of motion' over the entire length of the body!

Combined with balancing the head such that the back of the head is 'behind the line of the spine' when leaning slightly forward, I notice a dramatic alteration in the shape of the body, with better definition in forefeet, back of the feet, relaxed calf muscles, separation of lower pelvic and upper pelvic regions, narrowing of the waist, widening of the shoulders and lengthening of the neck, and, much more relaxed movement of the eyeballs. When we see a skeleton of the human body, we get the feeling that it should be very flexible. I am beginning to now visualize this flexibility.

(Proper balance at the 'Atlas' seems to be some way off.)

Selvaraj
14/5/2015
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Not fully comfortable yet with toe to heel movement. Observing major change in the way in which the combination of thigh,pelvis and lower spine articulate. Hope to achieve a strong, relaxed, well balanced and fluid configuration of the body.

Selvaraj
21/6/2015

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Diary, this is to report major changes. Yesterday, over a two hour period I felt dizzy four or five times over a two hour period. Since I was on the move and had company, I had to manage as best as I could without calling attention to myself. Fully recovered after this two hour period. Lying in bed in the night I realized that major changes had taken place. The front of the ankle which seems to have been a dead zone so far appeared to have come alive. My thigh bone to pelvic connection seemed to have improved flexibility and I felt the cervical vertebrae to be relaxed and more lengthened. Overall a feeling of lengthening of the body.

One issue that will come up when we look at ourselves in a mirror, is what is our body type? Can this also be influenced by the way in which we hold ourselves?

Reflecting on all the changes that have been taking place of late, the maximum change beyond doubt is close to my eyes and nearby scalp, driven by my attempt to improve my head balance. Toe to heel movement is surely an important integrating factor.

Selvaraj
25/6/2015

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The Accordian Mechanism: 

An accordion mechanism may help us to understand the important characteristics of good postural balance.

The characteristics of an accordion mechanism are:
1. Movement is equally distributed at each pantograph linkage.
2. If one joint is locked the entire mechanism gets locked.
The human body is not precisely like an accordion mechanism, yet the message is clear:
1. Movement should be distributed uniformly throughout the body.
2. Locking at any joint is likely to cause unease (which we will be ill equipped to analyse).
AT may be unique in recognising the above fact through emphasis on 'Alexander Monkey' and 'Alexander Supine'. The only weakness could be in not adequately defining the movement of the feet and the head. Could toe to heel movement help to unlock the mechanism? Should head balance be movement as described in http://headbalance.blogspot.com/
If the accordion mechanism is representative of good posture (even say 40% true), it will help us understand why the postural problem is so critical and so difficult to solve.

Putting it another way, if movement is not free over the whole length of the body, locking must be taking place at one or more joints (or group of joints).

My fear is that a lot of stretching exercises that are being done, are done by locking parts of the body and then stretching contiguous parts. Should we do such exercises?
Children in general, to start with, distribute their movement quite uniformly. The challenge for parents and our educational system is how to protect this harmony at least till the age of ten, so that the idea of a healthy mind in a healthy body is not just an empty slogan. 

Selvaraj
9/9/2015
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The Genius of Alexander:
It is interesting to note that put on a 'taking exercise scale' AT would score almost zero!
Taking exercise scale:
A..............Y..............................M.....
I........................................................I
o%.................................................100%
A - The Alexander Technique
Y -  Yoga?
M - Modern physical culture?
I have been quite clear in my mind that aligning the musculoskeletal system correctly must precede strengthening it. Yet, my trial and error method has depended on 'getting a feel of STRENGTH and FLEXIBILITY and BALANCE'.

My fear now is, that I could have made a mistake. Once we think in terms of STRENGTH, it is very simple to lock the system in a hundred different ways!! (I have become conscious of the fact that my spine is likely too stiff .... could people adopting the classic yoga pose be holding their spine too stiff?)

I am now keeping strength out of the picture and  focusing just on balance and flexibility (allowing the body to become relatively limp).
A balanced and flexible system will automatically be strong (become strong).
Selvaraj
9/9/15
P.S. I have just started reading THE USE OF THE SELF (Reached page 26)

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Making great improvement. Shape of the body changing to accommodate toe to heel movement, better shape of the head, improved musculature in the pelvic area, calf muscles, thigh muscles, Etc.

Selvaraj 
16/1/2016

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Hello list,
Part of the problem could be due to athletes being in a hurry to cure themselves, and doctors offering instant cures. Rest and relaxation would probably cure the problems naturally in the long run. However with billions dollars at stake ..... ?
(Incidentally, twisted my left knee badly while going up the stairs in our local railway station - left me wondering what margin of safety was left before the knee gave way completely. A day later also experienced HUGE ache and readjustment of muscles in the pelvic region. Problems should be sorted out in a few days.)
Regards,
Selvaraj
8/7/2016
....................

Hello all,
In my Alexander Museum I have a two pan balance to help explain the relationship between balance and relaxation.
If we put a 1 Kg weight in one pan and 0.5 Kg in the other, the system tilts to one side. It is not at all responsive. With 1Kg in both the pans the system is balanced - it will dance. The system can also be kept nicely balanced if the weight in each of the two pans is 0.5 Kg.

Once we can sense this position of balance, tension can be increased or decreased at will. The trick is to find out in which orientation of the parts of the body a state of balance is achieved - this cannot be done overnight, sigh!
(I think I am closing in. I was finding it difficult to bring my stomach muscles into proper play, this is changing. The head balance, the alignment of the spine and the way the feet work is crucial.)
Regards,
Selvaraj
1/11/2016

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Dear Friends,

My strategy to correct my USE-Posture, has reached its point of diminishing returns.

My present strategy largely consisted in (1)taking my head back, by sleeping without a pillow and gently nudging the head backwards; (2) solving the problem of excess lordosis (a tough job); and (3) realising that if toe to heel movement of the feet is correct, it is not helpful to walk heel to toe. My present strategy also consisted in (4) trying to balance my body as the child is doing in my blog http://headbalance.blogspot.com

The latest development in my USE-Posture correction has been the pain I have experienced in my left shoulder, which lead to release in tension in my 'hump' region. Just as I was getting ready to figure out the relationship between my 'hump' region and 'Atlas-Axis', strangely enough, on auto-mode, my attention was shifted to my pelvic region, and then the general shape of my chest - related to breathing?!

Clearly the whole ecosystem has changed. What I am realising is that while my earlier activities helped to loosen very many tight muscles, this strategy is no longer helpful. While I earlier treated the body as different parts joined together, it has now become important to treat the body as a single unit.

The whole concept is best illustrated in this Patrick Macdonald :: 1966 video. Observe from 1:00 to 1:25.

The following facts stand out:
1. The head does provide 'primary control'. The head is adjusted back to a 'proper position' before other adjustments are made. 
2. The subsequent movements help to relate the muscles in the back of the body to the muscles in the front of the body.
3. The starting point for support of the whole body is transferred to the head - not the shoulders as it is likely to be for some persons - without making the neck stiff.
4. The intention is to make the body fluid, without any locked joints.

( Most adult humans are going to lock their bodies in various places. The challenge is to use the body as one integrated unit from head to toe, without being too conscious of the mechanics.) 

Regards,
Selvaraj
22/1/2017

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Hello List,

All the meddling in my pelvic region appears to have freed my spine, also altered the nature of my gait for the better. Observe considerable improvement in my breathing, both at the abdomen and the chest.

It looks as if the spine can be made very free - in a way difficult to describe. Observe that most adults are locking it in places.

(Correcting USE for me has been like looking through a kaleidoscope - impossible to predict what the next pattern will be like.)  

Regards,

Selvaraj
16/3/2017

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Hello List,

Free movement of the shoulders (as indeed free movement everywhere) is important for good use. I am finding that free movement of the shoulders has considerably improved my head balance. 

My stiffness coefficient has come down considerably. Stiffness coefficient can be defined as:

How stiff the body is
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Quality of USE

We can also define a comfort coefficient, which would be defined as:

Quality of USE
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Stiffness of the body

Feeling more genuinely relaxed than ever before. Look forward to the time when I will be maintaining my USE, not correcting it. 

Regards,
Selvaraj
4/7/2017
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