Last week I went rowing after nearly a whole summer off.
Our new ‘head’ of our Rowing group, who knows how my mind works, kindly offered to take me out in a double, so I could ease back into things without stressing that I was holding others up because I had got unfit.
We soon realised that I was causing us to row to the right. I was dropping my right shoulder and doing something that created more power on my left. Neither of us were quite sure exactly what it was I was doing, or why – it could be that I think my let leg is longer than my right so it was putting down more power, or it could be that I am left handed, though interestingly I use my right hand for most things that require power rather than dexterity (like tennis).
The point is though, that I knew how to sort it out, using my Alexander Technique Principles:
1. I needed to make sure I had my competitive ‘power at any price’ switch in my brain switched off.
2. I needed to use Conscious Mental Instruction to tell my body what I wanted from it, which was this:
- Upright stance
- Relaxed neck
- Balanced head
- Centred body and shoulders
- Maintaining this stance throughout the drive of the stroke
I was able to achieve this fairly easily! One of the reasons being that I have practised for many years giving my body conscious instructions, and the other that my rowing partner gave me permission to ease off on the power so I could concentrate on technique. So I had no pressure of expectation, or particular fear, both of which generally override any conscious instruction I might give myself.
These principles of changing attitude/thinking, combined with relaxation and conscious thinking, can be applied to all sorts of problem solving!
And PS, thanks Darren for being such a great rowing partner and understanding coach!
And PPS no it’s not that cold yet – these are photos from last winter!