How many photos of yourself do you delete because you don’t like what you see?

I should have been strapped to my desk doing admin, but it is a lovely sunny day and I am a past master at distraction techniques. Googling the tide-table for Hayling Island is far more interesting than spreadsheet entries…

Low tide soon. Perfect!

Dog, ball, picnic, swimmies. An hour later I’m on the beach.

I confess… One of the many pleasures of the beach for me is people watching. I just can’t help it. As a professional working with natural movement, balance and co-ordination, it is just so interesting.

Some people look at clothes, others figures. For me it’s – Where’s Your head?

Is it dropped forward – Hangdog? Is it forward with your chin up – Tortoise? There are so many variations as to where we hold it.

The snap above is probably one of those photos that won’t make the family album, because you don’t like what you see.

How many photos do you delete from your phone/camera because of this?

Whether we admit it or not, our body image is important to us, particularly as we age. Stooping with rounded shoulders reminds me of the “Elderly crossing” road sign. It makes us look old. This is likely to happen when you have a forward head posture.

So is your head in the right place? Don’t know where it should naturally be?

It is never too late to find out and change poor postural habits. Come and join my 4 week course starting 1st week in July.

  • Find a good support base to stand tall and sit well
  • Be more co-ordinated in activities such as bending and lifting
  • Get a lighter, easier stride making walking less effort
  • Improve your body image and reduce pain issues

Click here for more details – Course dates and places

Email me for more details… or Phone Jane – 07775 618 822

Empty nest syndrome…

I spent a chilly weekend near Stratford upon Avon before heading to Coventry to attend my youngest child’s university graduation ceremony.

A weekend of milestones as well as mixed emotions as he has also landed his first job and taken the keys for his first flatshare.

As a parent you want to get them to that point of independence, and I do feel proud and elated for him and his successes, as I did for my other children. But when the last child heads into their future a hole is left.

They term it “empty nest” syndrome.

How does it feel? Physically I feel tense, emotionally I am a bit all over the place. Unsettled sums it up.

I know these feelings will be fleeting, but until they pass I shall do my usual and head to the hills.

Walking gives me peace, it gets me back in balance both emotionally and physically.

When I get into the rhythm of walking and start to get more co-ordinated, balanced and aware of myself, I can then begin to let go of the physical tension. It takes the weight of the world off my shoulders. Let’s me be in the moment and stops all that mental chatter. It creates quiet in me. Quells uncertainty…

Events in our life, whether they are positive or negative can throw us off balance. They create inevitable change.

If like me you are feeling tense and out of sorts for whatever reason, then let me keep you posted on my forthcoming new year course to create balance in your life, both physical and mental and help you manage change.

Remember your posture is you, emotional, physical and mechanical…

Look forward to hearing from you, Jane.

Autumn thoughts…

 

I was thinking about a colleagues blog regarding the sensitivity of feet as I was walking at Waggoner’s Wells over the weekend.

My thought train went like this… Which do I prefer, the greens of spring or the browns of Autumn?

A tough call, nothing in it really, as I love spring in anticipation of summer, but I love the calm and mellowness that I feel in Autumn.

But then I started to listen to the sound of the leaves as I waded through them. Such a unique sound. A carpet of beech, sweet chestnut and oak so thick that there is no way to determine visually what is under foot. And this is where the sensitivity of our feet becomes apparent.

I know that there are many exposed tree roots, uneven ground and holes, but there is no point looking down for obstacles to avoid, as the mass of crisp earthy coloured leaves are obscuring the terrain.

Instead I begin to listen to my feet, allow them to perceive the ground, feeding back information about it, so that I stay balanced and upright.

The bottoms of our feet are very sensitive to touch, they have as many as 200,000 nerve endings in each sole. So it is no wonder when you get a small stone stuck in the tread of your shoe you are instantly aware of it even through the thick sole of your shoe and sock.

So, no need to look down and disturb my balance. Instead I can enjoy the scenery around me knowing that my feet will keep me upright and because my head is not forward and dropped I will be working with my centre of gravity making walking so much easier.

Then my next thought was the Nancy Sinatra song – “These boots are made for walking, and that’s just what they’ll do. One of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you…”,

Which stayed in my head throughout the rest of the walk as an earworm…

Funny where your thoughts flit!

Best wishes, Jane

p.s. I f you would like to receive tips and hints on walking well, then sign up below and any comments are always welcome..

Hills don’t have to be a slog!

At the beginning of the week I took advantage of a clear, bright morning and swapped the office admin for a walk through Kingley Vale up to Bow Hill. Kingley Vale is a National Nature Reserve and home to one of the finest examples of ancient Yew forest in Europe. Bow Hill has the Devil’s Humps (Bronze age burial burrows).

The vista when you get to the top is spectacular. At 206m it gives panoramic views of the surrounding area overlooking Chichester harbour, Isle of Wight and The South Downs National Park.

The walk up Bow Hill can seem a bit of a slog as it is a steep ascent. I had those familiar thoughts at the bottom,  “Head down” and go for it”.

If you think about it “Head down” makes no sense. If you are looking down at your feet you have a forward head posture. Not good, especially as your head weighs 4 – 5 Kg. This will round and narrow your shoulders and make your torso collapse forward. When this happens it is harder to breathe and it also makes the body heavy.

“Go for it” is not a helpful thought either. When you try to get there in the quickest way possible, there is often a price to pay. Your technique suffers, injury is more likely, you tire quicker.

You want to be light on your feet to get up a hill, so my post-it reminder for this week will read –

Think about the process of going uphill and be aware of your body in movement…

  • Lean slightly into the hill and have the thought of sending the crown of your head up to the brow of the hill (this will stop you collapsing forward and pulling down)
  • Look ahead rather than down
  • Shorten your step, it will make it easier.
  • Walk at a steady pace and get a rhythm going.
  • Let your arms swing and have the thought of heavy hands. This will help stop you hunching and rounding your shoulders, which will allow your head to be balanced and keep your torso lengthened, not bent.
  • Every now and then give your head a nod to free off any tension in your neck and shoulders.
  • If the going gets tough, try counting your steps – It helps!

The above photo of the view from Bow Hill does not really do it justice. This link will give you more information about Kingley Vale it is well worth a visit.

 

 

 

 

 

What do a wild orchid and a sore neck have in common?

The answer is – Me.

I have been walking with a mission to spot my first wild orchid of the year. I always gauge it to be when the bluebells have finished and the wild garlic is starting to die down.

Since Sunday, I have been walking with my head down, scouring the verges for sightings. Consequence – A sore neck!

I should know better than to walk along looking at the ground with my head and neck thrust forward, but old habits die hard.

I can hear you thinking – Surely it makes sense to be looking at the ground so you can see where you are going and don’t stumble or tread in something unsavoury!

Well, no. The reason being that the weight of your head is 4 – 5kg or 8 – 10lb. So if you hold your head forward and look down at the ground right in front of you there will be undue tension and strain on your neck muscles as your head is un-balanced. A pain in the neck! Much the same as your arms would get sore if you held 4 bags of sugar in outstretched arms on a walk.

So my post-it reminder for this week will read – Look ahead, don’t look down…

By taking your gaze out slightly further, you will still see what is in front of you but you won’t hold your head forward and there will be no need to look down at the ground to see where you are going. Your head will be more balanced and so will you. Less tension, less discomfort and much easier walking.

So if you are near Havant Thicket  there are Broad leaved marsh orchids and Common Spotted orchids to be found. Just be aware of your head and Look ahead…

Improve your posture and improve your health and performance

Is poor posture causing health problems or impeding your sports performance? Then the Alexander Technique can help.

The Alexander Technique is a skill to take into your everyday life. Better posture improves health and well-being – Look good and you feel good.

The Technique promotes better awareness, both physical and mental. It also looks at improving natural movement – A great aid for sports performance.

I am running a New Year offer of £110 for three sessions. So do contact me if you would like more details on how A.T. could help you.

Best wishes for the New Year, Jane

A stress free Christmas

The festive season is upon us again, which is lovely but can be very stressful.

Stress = Muscular tension

  • So be conscious of your shoulders around your ears
  • Pulling your head back into your body, tortoise like
  • Shallow breathing
  • Rounding and narrowing your body

These are just a few of the physical signs of mental stress, which also cause pain and headaches.

The Alexander Technique has excellent “tools” to help you combat the above, to make you more aware of tension building and how to release it, to help quieten the body and the mind.

So, why not treat yourself or a loved one to my Christmas gift voucher – 2 sessions for £60

Best wishes for the festive season. Jane

p.s. If you do already have presents sorted then look out for my January offer instead!

Sport, your stride and looking good…

The Alexander Technique encourages good and easy alignment in the body, which is so important in sport. By improving balance and co-ordination and encouraging more natural movement you can gain much more freedom of movement in the limbs and create lightness in the body. This can raise performance and reduce injury and make you far more aware of the process rather than the only goal being a better result.

So whether you participate in sport, amble or just wander around the shops you will look better and feel better without that heavy step that pulls you down. The Alexander Technique encourages you to come up to your full height and have a lighter stride.

Do call to find out more or to book a session.

Best wishes, Jane

Look good… Feel good

It’s time to break out the summer wardrobe… For this week at least!

Do you find yourself trying on clothes in front of the mirror and pulling your tummy in, pulling your shoulders back and pulling yourself up to be as tall as possible? The problem is that you can only maintain this stature with effort and for short periods of time. However with The Alexander Technique good posture and poise can be achieved naturally.

Among other things, we look at improving balance, co-ordination and muscular tension. When these improve we stop being so narrowed and rounded in the shoulders, so pulled down and slumped. The body becomes more opened out and we come up to our full heightWalk tall.

To find out more or take advantage of my summer offer of three lessons for £96 then drop me a line.

Enjoy the good weather while it lasts…

Jane

Spring is here….

Put a ‘spring‘ in your step… Now that Spring does at last seem to be here it is time to shed the layers of winter clothing, stop the hunching and huddling against the cold and to restore good natural movement and posture – Get that “Bounce” back! The Alexander Technique can be really helpful in achieving this by making us more aware of how we move and how to make the core of our body more stable and centered – restoring good, natural posture to all activity. This has the effect of giving more freedom of movement in the limbs and adds a lightness to the body rather than the usual pulled down, hunched and narrowed posture that we tend to have through the winter months.

So become more attuned to your body, improve your balance and  co-ordination and get rid of those bad winter habits of ‘tensing’ and ‘holding’ by taking advantage of my 3 lesson ‘Spring Special’.

If you would like to find out more, then please do get in touch to see how the Technique could help you.

Rgds, Jane