About our integrated whole

Because how we think is how we move, it’s important to think of ourselves as an integrated whole.

  • It’s impossible for an individual part of our body to work alone.
  • When we attempt to separate or work a part independently, our system will respond by getting tight because it tries to do what we ask. Since separating is impossible, the tightening adds extra work to the action.

This excessive work limits breathing, limits the movement of the limbs, may hurt, and limits potential action—all of which limits our thoughts and our expression.

Here are some other thoughts on “The Whole”

“I also believe deeply in approaching life as a whole. For me, that means my physical body, my mind, my spiritual life, my family, my job, my poems, etc.  Life is one cloth, and if we try to pull the strands apart from the whole, it will do damage to that cloth. Most of the world encourages us to compartmentalize.”
—Todd Davis, poet, from an interview in Crab Creek Review May 2011

“(Mark Morris) has repeatedly set his regular dances to singing. Like many other modern-dance people, notably Martha Graham who said, “Movement never lies,” Morris has an obsession with candor. The body seems to him the prime carrier of truth, and the voice is part of the body. “When you have a person . . . playing the violin,” he once said, “you have the sound of that, but it’s one generation removed from the body. Singing is like dancing. It’s the body, the body in the world, with nothing in between.”
—The New Yorker, April 5, 2011, page 78,  “Girls’ Varsity, Mark Morris Brooklyn season”

“F.M. Alexander discovered something essential to all vertebrate coordination, something that scientists have also studied. The relationship between our head and spine in movement governs the quality of our coordination. When there is excessive work in that relationship, causing the head to pull down towards the body, that excessive work throws the whole coordination out of its optimal balance. What I am talking about here is not the everyday work of moving your head about, but a kind of work that compresses the spine and surrounding parts.

—Cathy Madden, exert from “Embracing the Psychophysical,” 2011, on F.M. Alexander’s principals

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