I just take a log of the discussion in the facebook group called “Alexander Technique Global” about my youtube movie “Fixing head forward posture nice and easy way”.
Teaching something has always risks like they do it with the way different from the way they are taught. What I seek is the suggestions which help them to do it as close to the ideals way as possible.
Feeling of pushing the floor
(Quote) “the instruction to “push the floor with the feet” could stop someone from trying to straighten up, but there is quite a lot of risk that the person will tense the legs”
Maybe so, but the way without mentioning this “feeling pushing the floor” may give excess muscle tension in their upper body (especially the abdominal muscles and the neck muscles) when they make their head upward. That’s worse, I think. People also may not be able to specify the true upward, and their head may go a little backward.
Rotate the head forward
(Quote) “1:55 “rotate the head forward”. It is not said how to do this. Most people will pull the chin down and not just release the muscles at the back of the head to let head rotate forward by itself.”
I explained more detail about the angle of the head later in the video, so too much chin tuck problem can be covered by it. I think “release the muscles at the back of the head to let head rotate forward by itself” is somewhat more difficult intention in moving the head. You are giving order directly to the muscles. Someone who has already know the released condition of the muscles of the back of the neck (like us) may reproduce it, but for beginners it will be difficult practice.
People may give excess muscle tension in the head’s forward rotation (movement), but they can release them after they have moved, I mean in the head’s resting state after the rotation. If it were impossible for us to release the tension generated in the movement process after the movement, we would need to manage them carefully. However, it is not. How we rest the head after is more beneficial factor. Giving too much information makes pupils puzzle. I think you know this. Pupils will puzzle more if the order is somewhat difficult for them to practice.
(Quote) “You fail to mention the very important fact that the head is slightly heavier in the front.”
I mentioned a suggestion in relation to this in the head’s resting process.
Turning the head right and left
(Quote) “2:35 “Make some small turns right and left” – This will in most cases NOT change anything because the person is using their muscles in the same way as they always do. (You could instead ask the person to look slightly to each side, Combined with knowledge of the movement potentiality of the neck (Body Mapping) and letting the eyes lead, will normally induce an easier movement than when asking the person to perform the head movement directly. Indirect procedure is always preferable)”
You may try turning the head with breathing easily. You may ask pupils to try turning the head with breathing easily. This attempt also helps us to release excess co-contraction in the neck. I suggested the breathing out before the turning process, so this could change their breathing pattern and it gives more possibility for people to avoid excess co-contraction in the neck in turning process. Leading eye movement (or maybe sight movement) could be another good choice to take.
Feeling the weight of the head at the frong side of the neck
(Quote) “2:39 “Feel the weight of the head at the front side of the neck”. This is NOT a good sign. If you feel the weight of your head in the neck you are most probably doing something unecessary, either by collapsing or by tensing muscles. If you feel the weigth on the front part of your neck you are most probably pulling you chin down. ”
If someone who has experience of this state few times, they can reproduce the ideal state. So, I need to produce another movie for having them experience this state with more explanation. I just add this for this video, because some people can practice this state by themselves.
Without this process, there is no sign or indication for our head’s advantageous position. If we know it, we can have confidence that we support our own head in certain advantageous condition. I know it. I am now relieved with this confidence, because I don’t have to puzzle around about the head position all day long. (I can feel like “the problem has been solved so that I can think of something beneficial.”) Before I found this, I don’t have such confidence. I got some through the training of the AT. But, honestly speaking, it was not as much as now.
I think that most teachers don’t use this feedback (sensory appreciation), but it is very valuable idea. This is something missing in the AT teaching, and I want to share it with the teachers like you.
Mark something at the level of eyes as a guide
(Quote) “From 3:30, finding neutral by looking at object at level of eyes. Although one will definitely get some factual information from doing this, it has potential problems. One problem is that nine out of ten would think that “this is the correct position for my head” and then try to hold the head in a fixed position. The other problem is that you can only find true neutral by stop doing what takes the head away from neutral.”
For avoiding the pattern of holding the head in a fixed position, I suggested breathing out like sigh and turning the head in the movie. It would not be perfect, but I didn’t ignore it. This holding pattern will also happen even when we don’t show the ideal position. It could happen more when we don’t show it, because they puzzle about what to do.
Asking people to do something
(Quote) “Here you ask people to do something, and this something they will do in their habitual way. The chances are that they acquire an additional habit. You haven’t done anything to unlearn the habits that cause them to end up with “head forward position” in the first place.”
Can’t we ask pupils to do something? FM asked us to DO “the head forward and up”, didn’t he? “Inhibition” is also something to DO, isn’t it?
Using the term “unlearn” is OK. However, in reality they almost forget about what their original use was and may not be able to recognize it, since people have spent so many years with their disadvantageous pattern and they get used to them. The original pattern will be totally new to them. Thus, they inevitably feel to “DO” something when they change the pattern, even though the direction is an inhibiting direction (or just an inhibition).
Some movements with certain intentions have power to cancel out disadvantageous patterns. I think that something we seek is what are effective movements and intentions.
People who get used to be in “head forward position” and want to fix it need to learn the new movement patterns which help them to be in advantageous condition. For them they need to make the head upward (do something). This movement cancel out their habitual pattern to leave their head in head forward position. Their “upward” could be a little bit backward, so it’s better for them to feel pushing through their feet in their head’s upward process (do something). This movement and intention cancel out their head’s backward position tendency at least. They may have skipped their head resting process in their usual way so that they keep giving excess muscle tension in their neck. So, they need to add their head’s resting process after their head’s movement process (do something). This movement and intention could cancel out their tendency to hold their head with excess muscle tension. (There are a little more things in the movie.)
Well, it’s not perfect, but I don’t think the movements and intentions in the movie have learners change some disadvantageous patterns to more advantageous ones. So, your claim “you haven’t done anything to unlearn the habits that cause them to end up with “head forward position” in the first place.” is too strict.
In order to unlearn the habits we need to learn new advantageous movements and intentions. The concept of “unlearn the habits” is OK, but trying to unlearn the habits is not enough in practice. The head won’t go up by just releasing the tension in the neck.
(Quote) “But, of course, some people might get lucky and get the right result.”
I hope more people get lucky and get somewhat prefarable result.
You can see other discussions here
Here is the link to the post in the facebook group. There are some other discussions.