Second Manchester Meeting
Lucy Ascham reports on the
latest Friends Event in Manchester
Activities whilst Sitting.
The second AT Friends workshop took place on a rainy night in
mid-March in Manchester. There were a dozen of us in total
and even numbers of teachers and pupils, which made for an
intimate and informal group. We started by offering hands-on
work as people arrived.
I received mixed feedback about peoples' comfort levels on
being offered hands-on work when they first arrived. Some
were uncomfortable with the idea of hands-on with a
different teacher than they were used to and enjoyed some
space as they arrived. Others were grateful to be engaged
immediately and participating in a familiar way. After 15
minutes Jan Dames presented a variety of explorations into
'sitting' as an integral part of an activity.
We brain-stormed about some of the less usual times and
places when we sit -on a hillside, on a park bench, a horse
and the loo.
Jan encouraged us to actively slump and sit up to attention,
and discover these as part of the range of being out of
balance and notice what happens to our sit-bones when we do.
Then we were invited to hold the slump. When we fixed our
muscles into the slump, held it and tried to move out of a
chair -we gained around 20 years! There was a lot of
laughter mixed for me with horror at seeing people age and
stiffen so quickly. Fortunately for us we thought our way
out of this and up into a tea break.
The second half of the evening saw all teachers offering a
chance to explore sitting as part of the activity of
driving, reading a newspaper, using a computer, sitting on
the floor and playing a musical instrument. Kay Proudfoot
brought her bike in for people to sit on as well.
I am grateful to Jan for his work in preparing and hosting
the workshop -the amount of material he shared was for me
both abundant and creative. I enjoyed the chance to learn,
play and explore all the 'wrong things' in a way I found
liberating. I have used several ideas from this workshop in
my own work since and enjoy the growth the workshop gave me
and my pupils too.
The number of participants was less than last time, a fact
that I found disappointing as it is helpful to get a sense
of the relationship between the energy put in by AT teachers
and the degree to which this is seen as helpful within our
community; one way of getting a measure of this is by the
number of people who attend. However I heard from a handful
of my pupils that they regretted that previous engagements
and family commitments had kept them away from the event and
that they are looking forward to another opportunity in the
future. I'm pleased to hear this and am encouraged to say we
will have another session within the next 4-6 months. If
anyone has any particular requests for a topic for next
time, please tell your teacher and we'll use it in our
planning at our monthly Teachers' Meets.
I would like to add that I have a real longing for more
people in the world to know that it's not an inevitable part
of aging to fix and stiffen and struggle -as we explored.
And I'd like to be able to contribute to more people finding
ease in themselves. I wonder if you'd be willing to tell
two friends or family members this week about your
experiences and encourage them to take care of themselves
the Alexander way?
© Lucy Ascham 2008