My March 26 Friend
I approached the labyrinth at Grace Cathedral where Sarah was just finishing up the walk. She asked me if I was going to teach a fitness class due to my yoga pants, sweatband and water bottle.
Flattering but alas, I wore these yoga pants all day for work — the Zoom attire really hasn’t gotten that creative.
Sarah asked me how I was doing and having come off of a particularly taxing week (both emotionally and physically), I was pretty candid that this week was tough.
What Sarah asked me next was so simple but so important. She asked me “why” — she cared enough to know what made my week so stressful.
And today I leaned right into it. It’s funny because usually I meet people and ask a few questions and they do most of the talking (which is awesome!) but today Sarah led with a keen curiosity about what made me feel low in the past five days.
I actually opened up to her — being on the other side, I totally do understand how it might be easier to open up to strangers sometimes.
Having gotten that all off my chest, Sarah empathized and told me about how she studies the Alexander method, which is a practice of listening to our bodies. It’s an alternative therapy that postulates poor posture can be a cause of many physical ailments.
Basically, harmony of the motor system comes from understanding balance, movement and postural tone.
She does this labyrinth walk every day to track how she is feeling and if she is improving in aligning her central nervous system.
Sarah moved here from Iowa many years ago as a Broadway actor in experimental musicals and found herself learning more about this technique because she was so tight and tense all the time.
She told me to be aware of my posture but also my breathing. When I asked her what the “proper” way to breathe was, her answer was different from any other answer I’ve ever heard:
Sarah said “Just breathe out. Your body will tell you when you need to breathe back in so just worry about breathing out.”
What an interesting perspective to noodle on. I also noticed her observing my body so I asked her if she normally notices people’s alignment. She said yes and that I tend to lean a lot — perhaps I need to learn to balance on my two feet better.
I decided to prod and inquired if that was supposed to double as a psychoanalysis but Sarah wasn’t interested in hidden metaphors. She encouraged me to decouple the objective fact that my posture needs to improve from any other extrapolation.
I loved that. She also shunned the terms “mindfulness” and “lifestyle change” because she thinks they are so over-used.
I asked Sarah what she thought about me crossing my arms sometimes and she joked, “I don’t know — maybe you have an attitude.”
Sarah offered to teach me some of her Alexander Technique meditations in a class she will be hosting and I was eager to join.
I wonder what it must be like to walk through the world wearing the perspective of posture and body alignment when you observe those around you. Today I got a tiny peek into Sarah’s view of the world.
She shared that she is grateful for the sun shining today.