After studying body awareness for awhile through the Alexander Technique, I embraced the health and balance of my body not as something to get other things, not as a physical object to be purchased by the acceptance or praise of others. Physical health and poise are not an ends in themselves. Instead, they determines quality of giving I can offer to the world. My body is the instrument of my living Spirit, a prize possession to be shared and cherished.
Like any instrument, if you play it long enough out of tune, without practicing or refining the quality of its freedom, you are likely left dulled and numb, disconnected from the vitality of Life. I see my body instrument as a necessary indulgence to a vital Spirit.
At the same time, years of low self-esteem and self-doubt have taken a toll. Habits which start in the mind or spirit set into the body and become embedded, literally, on a cellular level. To overcome this, I have learned to watch others for cues on better body use. Many men seem to have a disposition toward physical exuberance in their bodies. They appear naturally un-self-conscious in their gestures. They are free to be physical, outwardly expressive. A man in motion exhibits an extroverted physicality.
I often notice joggers as I walk or jog myself. Just glancing at the healthy poise of another jogger boosts my own. Noticing his gait and alignment, I see a “map” of how my own might feel while that free. My head lifts, freeing my neck and back. My torso frees so my legs and hips can follow. My breathing becomes more fluid and deeper. It feels as If I’m hanging in midair, with the ground moving under me. However, as soon as I think about the whole thing, try to “know” it, contain the “idea” of that poise, I lose the flow.
As you can tell, it can be dicey process to regain poise without becoming discouraged or blocked. The important thing is to be gentle in your attempts to learn any new physical attitude.
The goal is a free, supple, light physical poise. From there, your spirit is bound to follow likewise.