Saturday, 1 February 2014

On 14:03 by Victoria Stanham   No comments
Let us start today with a little demonstration.

Image courtesy of Ambro /

Imagine you are holding the end of a piece of elastic between the index and thumb of your right hand (or better still, go get a little piece of elastic, rubber band, or other stretchy material and actually do the experiment).

Now move the hand that is holding the elastic left, right, up, down, in circles, watching the elastic wave and flap about as you do so.

Now grab the other end of the elastic between the index and thumb of your left hand, or place it under a weight so that it is fixed, stretch the elastic until you feel some resistance from it, and repeat the hand motions of your right hand.

You will notice that this time the elastic does not flop around but is an active participant in the hand motions: by offering you resistance it establishes a sort of limit to your hand motions, it displays its erstwhile latent capacity for stretch and length, in other words it has come into a conversation with your hand. Your hand sets the tone/tension by deciding on how far you will stretch the elastic: too little and it remains passive, too much and motion becomes too tense or can even snap the elastic. The elastic, when working within any length of its stretch-potential, gives your hand information about what is going on at its other end (your other hand or the weight), it creates a system with you by closing a circuit of information, and you are both able to find out about yourselves and your potentials by this little act of antagonistic pulls.

Antagonistic pulls are a key element in the Alexander Technique, as in Life at large. They manifest in everything we see. We can even say that Life manifests because of antagonistic pulls. Every thing that would be a protagonist in Life needs and antagonist to help it manifest its potential, otherwise it remains unmanifest. We need to actively come into the conversation in order to find out who we are. Our antagonist is no more than our mirror, and what is reflected in the space between us is our own potential.

I shall delve deeper into antagonists, mirrors and the space between in following blogs. For now, I challenge you to start looking at Life from this perspective: what is my antagonist in this situation and how does it help me manifest my potential?


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