Finding Strength/Accepting Limitations

Posted by Jeanne Barrett on May 8, 2009 in Uncategorized

As a formerly strong and fit person, the challenges of being currently wobbly and weak are dismaying to say the least.  Thus, I was eager to return to some sort of exercise beyond my extensive daily PT assignments.  The use of the entire self interests and motivates me, with respect to, but not total focus upon, my injury.

I returned to Gyrotonic Seattle studio today, after an absence of nearly 3 months, with the careful and attentive guidance of my wise instructor Lindsey.  Together, we explored what I can do to strengthen my overall self, and to renew a balance of elastic response, with good use always in mind.

The Gyrotonic approach is very Alexander compatible as it takes thinking with the entire self into active form.  Lindsey guided me through a series of spinal movements to renew a fluid response through my entire torso.  All of my former habits of shortening through one side are much more apparent with the guarding habits resulting from injury.  I have the opportunity now to address these long held habits of shortening because I have to in order to recover a balanced condition of self once again.

As compared to my workout prior to injury, I could do very little, but even minimal motion was a wonderful experience, especially with attentive guidance to overall awareness.  The inherent imbalance implied by one very weakened leg affects the entire muscular response.  We are, after all, designed to be mobile with two legs.  My entire self wanted to distort to protect the injured leg, but this reaction is no longer useful.  I had to work very diligently not to distort, and to allow an overall response even when this felt wrong and scary.

The PT exercises address the specifics of needed strength and flexion.  The Alexander Technique and the Gyrotonic approach include the entire tone of muscular balance, and of intention and attention.  All are necessary, I am finding, in the journey toward total recovery.

I am learning to go from undoing to doing without doing too much, and to activate from thinking in an entirely new manner.  I can’t (yet!) do what I could some months ago, but I can use available tools to resume full strength in activity eventually.

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