It’s not so long since I bought a new chair for my Alexander Technique teaching room. Well, it’s not actually a new chair being around 250 years old, but it was new to me and with a good clean, antique waxing and a new cover to it’s gently padded seat, it looks perfect in my teaching room.
However when I started using it during Alexander Technique lessons, I found that as I worked on my pupil while he sat in the chair, the chair back was high enough to slightly hinder my movement so it felt strange and awkward. And then I realised that it was only affecting the way I had ‘habitually’ worked and maybe the chair isn’t wrong at all. I just need to change ‘how’ I work, then it would be fine.
I remember Walter Carrington who trained me, saying to me, “Noël, there isn’t an ideal chair, you know. You will sit in thousands of chairs in your life so you have to make the most of the situation.” If we look after ourselves in terms of poise, balance and direction, we can sit in a great many ‘unsatisfactory’ chairs, but still they won’t harm us and we won’t suffer. It’s up to us to look after ourselves. And thanks to the Alexander Technique we can do just that!
Being adaptable means not being stuck in one’s way of doing things. It means being open to new opportunities, to not being stuck in habit, to adapting to the circumstances and situation that we find ourselves. It’s when we rigidly stick to ‘our way of doing things’ that we end up getting into trouble.
So my chair is a little high in the back, but perfect for my pupils. So, I adapt the way I work around what was the obstacle and I now find I’m teaching the Alexander Technique with hands-on guidance, in a slightly different way. It is now no longer a problems and indeed has helped me improve the way I work. How refreshing! It’s always good to be open to possibilities….