Grandma Bertha stitched quilts with her Ladies Sewing Circle. Grandma Irene made quilts on a large wooden frame next to the living room picture window. As a young girl, she did linen cutwork with my Great-Grandmother Rachel. My mother sewed most of our clothing, and following a cancer diagnosis, she began a fall scene crewel piece which I finished after her death. And so, the women in the family keep me company as I stitch, as does Mr. Alexander and his Technique.
Handwork is detailed and cross-stitch requires minute stitches a thousand times over, creating color blocks of designs. It’s the perfect activity for Self-Awareness, Inhibition and Direction, the Big Three of Alexander Technique practice. Observing my Self, the following are noted: arms pulled inward, gluteal muscles contracted (yep, who knew the body/mind would attempt to use gluteals to make a neat stitch! Shout-out: It doesn’t help), gripping the hoop.
On to Inhibition: it’s often enough to simply quit with the Habit. Merely stopping what I am doing, whether it be clenching gluts, gripping hands, or contracting arms, means the body (and mind) can then go about their business unencumbered by all the extra effort.
However, if needed, there is always Direction. ‘I allow my head to move away from my spine.’ ‘Long legs, feet on floor.‘ ‘I allow my spine to lengthen and my torso to widen.’ Thoughts only, not a ‘DO.’
Happy Mother’s Day to all—–