I was first shown how to do Active Rest (also known as Constructive Rest) in about 1986 when I lived in Adelaide, Australia. I had gone to a little workshop in the Alexander Technique and came away with an efficient, simple and beautiful way to chill out and give an opportunity for my spine to rest in its natural shape/alignment.
My memory is this: the bloke (Australian for guy) said, lie down in the same way as if you were going to look at the stars or gaze into the blue sky. It worked for me and I did it often. It was so natural and I loved doing it in parks. In Adelaide there were are lots of parks full of eucalyptus trees and plentiful blue sky days. I remember it relaxed me. It was a magical and simple tool I used to help deal with my crazy life. After all, I was 21.
Thirty years on I’ve created this video and I hope you get inspired to get down on the floor, the grass or on the beach and give yourself a 5, 10, 15 or 20 minute time for Alexander meditation. It can function even better than a 2-hour nap. And you never know what you’ll discover.
I offer one-on-one Alexander Technique sessions. Let me tell you more…
What is it? The Alexander Technique is an awareness practice concerned with exploring how we inhabit our bodies. We discover how our physical and mental habits and stories affect how we “use” our bodies and how we “posture” during our daily life. Through myo-fascial release and re-educating structural patterns we touch back into our innate birthright design. What emerges is natural poise, ease, presence, a sense of lightness. We become more comfortable in our body during our activities and even in our thinking. It’s a fascinating process of rediscovery.
Why try it? Some motivating reasons are to relieve pain and tension; improve posture; relieve headaches and TMJ; feel more comfortable in your body; develop more awareness; improve performance whether it’s playing an instrument, singing, playing sport, public speaking; find more comfort while chopping vegetables, meditating, writing, doing yoga or working at your computer; relieve fatigue; regulate anxiety or depression; relieve pain from conditions such as arthritis or repetitive strain injuries; or to try something new because nothing else has helped your problem.
What is a session like? When you arrive for your “lesson” (you see, the idea is to learn something) first you tell me a little about your story or your day. Then, depending on where I’m drawn to by my observation or by what you tell me, I will start the hands-on work by gently placing my hands somewhere on your body — perhaps your neck, shoulders, or back. Or, I may begin somewhere else, perhaps at your feet. I continue using my hands, my observation and my whole self to listen to what your system tells me. I may ask for your feedback and you can give me feedback or ask questions at any point. We begin to have a dialogue listening with our non-verbal kinesthetic awareness as muscles and fascia release, joints begin to move more freely or your heart and mind become more quiet. We might work while standing up, sitting down, in movement, or while you’re lying on the the table. We might take it into an activity such as reading, writing, working on a computer, playing an instrument, or driving a car. As your system responds we might put words on what you’re sensing or noticing.
My goal is to help free your body of excess tension so that you experience more integration and support. You become more in tune with the natural intelligence of your system. There is more being and less doing. I will provide you with tips and techniques on how to tap into more of that goodness during your daily life. I will suggest ways you can explore the work between lessons. I’m an anatomy nerd so I teach you something about that, too.
About AT jargon. There are a bunch of principles within the Alexander Technique and I will slowly introduce them to you. Ideas like primary control, directions, the inhibitive moment, non-doing, end-gaining, pulling-down, debauched sensory appreciation. Yes, I just used the word debauched. Some of the language that F.M. Alexander used to describe the discoveries he made during the early 1900s is pretty awesome.
One final note. The Technique supports you to explore new ways to inhabit your body. This will require you to lessen your commitment to habitual patterns and ways of being. You start to say no to habitual ways of using yourself that may be creating pain and dysfunction. You discover new choices available in your body and mind that will help you feel better as you go about doing what you want to do in your life. You say yes to new possibilities. Amazing things happen including one of the most well-loved benefits of all — you stand taller.
Making an appointment. Sliding scale $90-$65/hour. Though one or two sessions can be useful, having a series of lessons over a period of time generally results in more lasting benefits. My schedule is variable and flexible. Email or text to set up a session.
email@example.com | 617.877.1700
Last few of details. Just wear your comfortable clothes. My studio is in my home In Lincoln and there is plenty of parking. We have two cats and eight rabbits. Lastly, please avoid wearing scented products including clothes washed in highly scented laundry detergents and softeners. I am sensitive to chemical scents and they often induce a headache.
Thank you. I look forward to working with you. Peace.
A Few Past Workshops:
- March 1st, 2015, 1-3:30pm, Yoga and Tensegrity: A new perspective for your yoga practice at Borealis Yoga a beautiful studio in Medford Square. Discover the amazing strength and resilience at work inside your body while you do yoga –- something called tensegrity, a word coined from “tension” plus “integrity.” It’s like learning about anatomy without the boring science teacher! Join Wendy Cook on an exploration of this unique perspective on how the muscles, connective tissue, and bones relate to one another. Then, Wendy leads you through practical exercises, a yoga practice, and meditation that together will bring more buoyancy, ease, stability and wholeness to your body and mind.
- Yin Yoga and Meditation at Borealis Community Yoga, Sunday February 5, 2017, 1:00-3:00pm. Surrender to the quiet of a nourishing yin yoga practice. In this session you will be guided into floor postures that you hold for a longer time thus creating a deep, slow stretch and lively sensations. The practice is to stay aware and present, watch your experience change and do less as a way of letting go of holding patterns. This is the space from where you cultivate qualities such as strength, tolerance, patience, insight and peace. Rejuvenating energy naturally results. Pranayama, deep rest and meditation complete the practice. You will leave feeling refreshed, brighter, a little taller and with a softer heart. All levels and bodies welcome.
$35 – Borealis members 20% off.
- Yin Yoga and Insight Meditation at Kurukulla Center, Sunday March 27, 2016, 2:30-5pm. * An afternoon of quiet and grounding yoga and meditation in the shrine room. The session will include long-held yin postures which are explored staying close to the ground. This will lead into seated meditation practice, sharpening our attention towards a clear and precise awareness of the mind and body. All welcome. No prior experience in yoga or meditation necessary. Suggested Donation: $40. All proceeds go towards supporting Kurukulla Center.
- Chakras: Balancing Your Body’s Energy Centers at Borealis Yoga, Sunday April 3, 2016, 12:30-2:30pm $35 In this workshop, we will demystify the chakras, help you realize you already know more about them than you think, and give simple tools for bringing more balance into them. The afternoon will include discussion, asana (postures), relaxation and pranayama (breath work).
- Awaken, Energize & Balance: A day-long Yoga and Meditation Retreat, Saturday, April 23, 2016, 10:00am – 4:00pm at Historic Bemis Hall in Lincoln, $80 * Join Wendy as she offers a day-long yoga and meditation retreat in beautiful Lincoln at the historic and fabulous Bemis Hall. It’s the time of year we can breathe in the sweet, warm air of the woods and let our eyes feast on the budding green all around. We’ll reconnect to the grass, the moist soil of the earth to awaken, ground and recommit to our sense of place and purpose. Morning and afternoon yoga sessions will include asana, pranayama and meditation. Morning will be a stronger flow; afternoon more quiet and grounded yin practice. A lovingly prepared home-cooked vegetarian lunch will be served. $80. Preregister necessary
Send check to PO Box 636, Lincoln MA, 01773
I’m Wendy and I teach yoga, the Alexander Technique and meditation. I do other stuff, too. This is my first post. 🙂