How to Change Your Trajectory

Do you want to hear a surprising truth?   

You don’t have to take a 180-degree turn to make a change in your life. To change all you need to do is move one degree away from where you are right now and you will be on a new trajectory.

This is important. Many people think that change has to be radical like a total make-over, a do-over, a transformation from a cocoon to a butterfly.

It is hard to change radically. Humans like consistency and change needs to be subtle or else it is too overwhelming.

We live in a culture that places enormous value on extremes and because of this often times the complex is heralded and the subtle is overlooked or even dismissed.

For instance, you may think that the only way to get rid of back or neck pain is with strong medicine, a shot of cortisone or surgery. All of these options are extreme.

There are alternative ways that are more subtle and very effective.

Perhaps just changing the way that you sit, stand and walk could lessen or eliminate your pain and change your life for the better.

As an Alexander Technique teacher, this is what I do. In very subtle ways I teach you how to change the way that you move and even the way that you think.

Here is a testimonial from Rosemary who had watched a short video I had made about the importance of releasing unnecessary muscular tension in her body.

I often tell people to think about not clenching their tongue and jaw.

Clenching your tongue and jaw is harmful to the head/neck/spine relationship and this compromises the way that you move and live.

Mary, I just wanted to let you know how much better I am sleeping since watching your video a month ago.

You said to unclench your teeth. I didn’t even know I was doing that until you pointed it out.

Now, as I am dozing off, I tell myself “relax your jaw” and poof off to sleep! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!

So, for Rosemary, here was a simple and subtle solution to address a common problem. Releasing the jaw to calm down so as to be able to easily fall asleep.

This is how the Alexander Technique works. An Alexander Technique teacher gives you cues either with verbal instruction or with their hands to

teach you how to release unnecessary muscular tension and to redirect yourself through space.

This excessive muscular tension interferes with the way that you use yourself or in other words the way that you move and even think.

As a result with less clenched muscles, you move more freely, with greater ease and very often with less or no pain.

Why don’t you give it a try!

There are many ways to study and learn with me. I teach privately in Little Compton, RI. Or you can purchase my Amazon bestselling book Agility at Any Age: Discover the Secret to Balance, Mobility, and Confidence here. Very soon I will be starting an online video course. You can send me an email at maryderby1@gmail.com and I will send you more information. Get in touch! I would love to hear from you!

Photo: Unsplash, Sean Stratton

What is this sign, What is the Alexander Technique and Why Does it Matter?

Earlier this summer my name was included on Primary Care Partnership’s sign.

See! That’s me on the bottom shingle Mary Derbyshire, M.AmSAT.

It is such an honor to be included on the same sign as these other practitioners! Dr’s Cathleen Hood and Karen Ottenstein have selected a few allied partners to provide alternative methodologies alongside their traditional allopathic practice. It is not unheard of traditional doctors reaching out to acupuncture or massage therapy but it is highly unlikely that there are doctors who would reach out to an Alexander Technique teacher. Most doctors haven’t even heard of the technique and that is a real shame.

For those of you who do not know about the Alexander Technique, it is a mindfulness based practice that teaches you how to move better. Most of us habitually bring way too much muscular tension to our activities. This muscular tension interferes with the way that your body moves.

Often times pain and stiffness and poor coordination result from this excessive tension.

An Alexander Technique teacher teaches you how to prevent this unnecessary tension and as a result, you move more freely. Pain and stiffness are decreased or eliminated. Your balance and coordination improve.

You feel better in your skin!

And because your mind and your body are a unified whole what you do with your body affects the mind. Your thinking improves. Your clarity improves. You feel whole and connected.

I first met Dr.Cathleen Hood a couple of years ago. I will let her tell the story of how we met.

“I first heard about Mary from a patient. The patient’s story is remarkable. At an advanced age, she suffered a fall and fractured her neck, resulting in what the neurosurgeon deemed an unstable situation. He offered a surgical fixation so that slippage would not cause quadriplegia, but the patient declined.

She did not want to be impaired by the side effects of narcotics, so she called her friend Mary, who through the Alexander Technique gave her the tools to control her pain.

She was also regaining range of motion, and it was healing slowly by itself. With no drug side effects, she was mindful not to trip or fall again. I thought I need to meet this person!”

This story is so important for many reasons.

First, the Alexander Technique is not only effective at getting rid of pain but it can also be very effective in controlling pain. In these times of opioid addiction, there is an alternative to drugs and their extremely harmful side effects. For some, The Alexander Technique (AT) can be that alternative and should be taken seriously by the medical community.

Years ago I had an older student who was scoliotic and had severe pain her entire adult life. AT got her out of that pain. Her husband a rheumatologist at Mass General Hospital was so impressed he said that “every Dr. should have access to an AT teacher in his or her practice.” I am thrilled to be the Alexander Technique teacher for Primary Care Partnership!

Secondly, the Alexander Technique teaches you about self -care. A series of lessons will teach you the tools to be mindful of how you move. I love it when students return for their second lesson and remark that they are so much more aware of how they are moving.

Self- care is health care and self -awareness plays a part. How can you change and improve if you do not recognize what you are doing in the first place?

Thirdly embracing the Alexander Technique represents a paradigm shift. It says “Use” matters. What do I mean by “Use?” (Use is pronounced as loose) Use is the way that you use your body and your mind. How you sit, how you stand, how you walk, how you run, how you think it all matters to your health and well being! A LOT! And here is the thing- only you can change your use. I can help you or another Alexander Technique teacher can help you, but your use will only change and improve if you attend to it.

What do you think? Are you ready to change for the better? Click here to schedule an appointment https://app.acuityscheduling.com/schedule.php?owner=12624320 

Click here http://amzn.to/2fsZsnQ to purchase my Amazon best-selling book Agility at Any Age: Discover the Secret to Balance, Mobility, and Confidence 

Feel free to email me with any questions! maryderby1@gmail.com

Joy, Why You Need It!

Check out this photo of Gary surfing. Look at the size of that wave!

This is January in New England folks! Cape Cod to be exact.

There is no stopping him!

Surfers are a rare breed.

Living in a town that is considered a surfer’s paradise, I have worked with many over the years.

No matter what the weather, when the waves are big they surf.

They surf when the air is frigid. They surf when the winds are howling.

They surf when the rain is lashing.

On days when you or I wouldn’t dream of venturing outside, they surf.

And here’s the thing: they relish the wild weather that creates their waves!

From a surfer’s perspective the bigger the waves the better, and the storms that deliver those waves are celebrated.

I know Gary- he loves to surf. He might even say there is nothing on earth he loves more. He finds joy in surfing.

You can see the joy in this photo. Look at how light and open he is on his surfboard. Look how balanced he is on that wave! He is one with himself, his surfboard, the wave and the universe! He has found joy!

Joy is a motivator. Finding joy makes the impossible possible. Joy can be a new point of view!

In Born to Run author Christopher McDougall introduces us to the Taramahura tribe. These people can run barefoot 100 miles a day in the soaring heat of Mexico’s Copper Canyon.

McDougall determines that this feat (no pun intended) is due to joy!

Yes! To them running 100 miles is an act of joy.

“Glee and determination are usually antagonistic emotions, yet the Tarahumara were brimming with both at once as if running to the death made them feel more alive”1

Gary surfing off the New England coast in January, people running barefoot for 100 miles in the sweltering heat, these feats could never be accomplished if they were considered a drudge.

The one element is joy!

But you need to find joy. You need to be open to it. You need to welcome it! You need to cultivate it!

For the past decade, I have taught an exercise and movement class to the same group of people. We meet twice a week. We are committed to each other as much as we are committed to taking care of ourselves. We find joy in the movement. We find joy in the music and we find profound joy in our friendships with each other. For us exercise is not a drudge. It’s a laugh and a smile!

Like Gary, like the Tarahumara we too find joy!

You are welcome to join us!

 

  1. Christopher McDougall, Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen, (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2009) p.91