One of the central principles of how Alexander Technique works is based on the concept of a domino effect. Small actions, tiny routines pile up and become powerful influences. “You become what you repeat” is one way of expressing this often skipped-over super power to affect change in yourself.
A studied ability to perceive subtle foundation movements is what seems so magical about how an Alexander Technique teacher can pull the rug out from underneath apparently self-caused difficulties.
An example comes from the situation of professional performing musicians. At what age did the musician learn to hold their musical instrument? How big was it – and how big were they as kids when they first learned to make sounds with it? Height might be a factor; certainly hand and arm size; what sort of reach was possible? Put the answers to these questions in perspective, and issues with repetitive pain injury can sometimes be solved with practical ergonomic adjustments.
Because of the power of our self-confirming misconceptions, humans will move the way we imagine that we are able to move. How to approach this bias? We can change this effect through questioning and insight as in the musician example above. We could used hypothesis, comparing by remembering what our situation was like for us in our past. Then we can craft experiments with what we uncover. This might lead us to even better questions, such as: How far across was that goal post area when we first got played in a standard sized soccer field when we were kids? How high was that basketball ring when first learning compared to how tall we are now?
Another way to influence change is to design many different ways to practice whatever we have discovered. If it can be counted, it can be made into a game, right? But be careful what you count, because this focus is what will quickly jump out for us in being priorities.
Another technique for sifting out an unwanted effect from an already learned routine is to slow down. Varying the rate of the activity will reveal formerly unnoticed differences. Once these often crucial differences have been revealed, they can be incorporated into a faster paced action.
Best chance for change needs about three weeks of commitment to install new habits. It takes around seventy repetitions to make a new skill reliable; although after around seven or eight times even the most awkward and strange movements will begin to feel “normal.” Perhaps collect game pieces that symbolize achievements as “rewards?” Logging practices has been shown to be effective.
Even a book has numbered pages that are in sequence, so you can tell how far you’ve gone into the story and when you expect resolution. Imagining there will be a secret revealed at the end or sometimes in the future is an enticement to continue. It’s called “Sunk Cost” when a viewer invests time; that is used in marketing those long-winded video sales presentations.
To wrap up – piled up tiny actions can become exponential. If you’d like to reveal these mysteries, you can go slower, you can examine your foundation assumptions. Once you sense what is happening underneath your assumptions, you can redesign a way to practice your desired new improvements, given you can do partly what you imagine is possible. If you cannot, work on your foundation mannerisms as a whole, ask for help from an observant coach or Alexander Technique teacher. Once you have ways to practice, you will uncover perceptual discoveries. Reflect on these surprising discoveries to put them to best use. This is how you’ll get more benefits from practice as never before – Share those discoveries!