Tempo

dancer-23825_640
thanks to pixabay

Adagio. Slow. Chesapeake Bay Alexander Technique Teacher Training mornings always began leisurely, with students working in pairs or small groups.  Our director, Robin Gilmore, a dancer with a signature kinetic energy, would call out, ‘Good use does not have to mean slow use!’ But, a slow pace can be a good choice, as it has been for me this January.

Andante. In-between. This tempo is best described as a walking pace, a steady stroll that gets the heart pumping. Not-too-fast, not-too-slow. It’s the pace of my daily neighborhood jaunt.

Allegro. Fast. Susan Petry, another dancer in my life, mixes up tempos in her choreography; fast and furious dancing with an adagio accompaniment or vice versa. If I could simplify her body of work with just one word, it would be ‘playful.’

And this is the invitation:  let’s play with tempo in our lives.  Mix and match adagio, andante, allegro. Or choose a tempo for your day and observe its effects on your Self. The practice of the Alexander Technique is all about choice in the moment.

Make a dance of the daily!

 

The Slo-o-o-o-w Start to a New Year

winters-1930981_640

January 14, 2017. It’s dark out there.  Sleet, a whisper of snow, and a freezing rain advisory for the evening hours.  Dinner guests arrive soon.  Hoping they travel here without mishap. (Postscript:  They did!  And we enjoyed corn-and-cheddar-cheese-potato soup, warm-from-the-oven bread, firelight, a late Christmas gift-exchange AND the annual play date with our combined collection of wind-up toys.)

How do I often begin a new year, arbitrary though January 1 may be?  What else, but with those culturally sanctioned, confounded resolutions.  Here are a few of my former commitments:  weight-loss diet, strength training at the gym, less time on social media, more time walking, earlier rising.

2017?  Zero resolutions. On purpose and loving it.

Instead, I’m listening to the Body/Mind, the Self,* which has been telling me for years that my January is a hibernation month. Yes, there is a teaching studio to run, there are meals to prepare and friends to see but NO add-ons to the basics.

I encourage you to do the same.  Body rhythms align with the seasons, and the best season for new, for fast, for resolutions, is spring or fall in my book.  January is the perfect time of year to cook a pot of beans, bake cornbread, read a good book, write a few lines, and recover from December festivities. Self-improvement can wait.  Speed can wait. I’m choosing slow.

(With thanks to fellow wordpress blogger,  Greer Oharah, who inspired the writing of this slow start post.)

*the Self: “Alexander refrained from using words which imply a separation of body and mind…Instead, he spoke simply of ‘the self’ and its use and functioning.” Pedro De Alcantara, Indirect Procedures: A Musician’s Guide to the Alexander Technique.