I've become somewhat obsessed lately with the idea that our movement and functioning is a byproduct of our environment. It adds context to the Alexandrian principle of non-doing. In this video I discuss that in relation to gravity.
An edited transcript is available under the video.
Hey there, so today we're going to discuss experiencing gravity aiding your posture.
Now, I've done two previous videos on gravity, which I shall link to below, and probably on screen at the end, but for most people it's quite counter-intuitive still, the way gravity
works, it doesn't pull you down it pushes you up. And I think people might academically kind of agree with what I say, you know, the nature of Einstein's General Relativity, but I think from an experiential level, a belief level, it doesn't always click, so we're going to look into that now.
My name's Adrian, I'm a teacher for the Alexander Technique, and if you'd like online lessons do get in touch.
Okay, so as I just said, gravity actually pushes you up, and people find that counter-intuitive because they can't see the movement of you being pushed up, and I think that's that's fair to expect people to be confused by that. It's just the nature of physics being a bit strange to be honest. Just to recap, we have 9.8 meters per second squared of acceleration coming up under our feet. 9.8 meters per second squared is what we typically call 1G, that's Earth's gravity, and that sensation you feel under your feet, or because I'm sat on my backside, is the chair coming up under me, not me down onto the chair. Now that is counter-intuitive, so in order to rethink this you have to realize you've experienced this before so that you can realize it's a trueism, and think, well of course it's that way, because I've had this experience.
Now where will you most likely have had this experience of an acceleration coming up underneath you? An elevator, a lift, elevator in America, or lift as we tend to say in the UK. When it first starts going up, do you know that feeling you get when you suddenly feel pulled down? You get "heavier". Well, you're not being pulled down are you? If you were to be outside of the lift, let's say it's a glass lift, or it's one of those fancy glass lists that you see on an outside of a building, you can watch people go up it. You would never say they're being pulled down, you can watch them, you can see as it first accelerates that they're getting pushed up. Of course, once it reaches steady speed, that acceleration pushing you up, you don't feel that anymore and then all you're getting is only the acceleration of the earth coming up underneath the building and through the the structure into the building structure into the lift itself. But while it's accelerating you're getting additional gravity in a way, additional support, additional thrust up underneath you, and we we feel that often as feeling heavy, like they've been pulled down. But we're not being pulled down, that's how we sort of frame it in our mind, it says "oh", as the lift goes up initially, that first second or two, but you're not, and you know you're not. You can sense it as an outside observer, seeing someone in the lift, that's not happening, and you know from your own experience that feeling, you can go, well there's something happening, maybe I need to reframe what I think is happening there. Well of course, what's happening there is you're getting greater up thrust, a greater gravity effectively.
Because we're a wobbly structure our postural muscles have to do a bit more work to keep refinding that support, because effectively we're trying to be tipped over. If, let's just say, we're leaning slightly, as you get pushed up it kind of tips us over. So all our postural muscles have to do more work, and I think that is what we equate in our mind as feeling heavier, because it takes effort. It does take more effort, greater gravity, higher gravity than one we've evolved for, we notice it's harder work. But it's also more support, you really need that support in higher gravity because you'd naturally get tipped over, so we have to really try to find that through our structure, to "surf" that up thrust in a way that takes less effort. And the way to do that less effort in higher gravity is basically being more skilled by having better "posture" if you like, so you can reroute that support upwards. And you really need to believe that because your posture is a behavior, and your behavior is in accordance with your beliefs. If you believe you're being pulled down you'll behave pulled down. You must believe you're being pushed up in order to behave pushed up, so you can use that support.
So that's what's happening. Imagine if you were swimming and your belief was that the water sucks you under. Can you imagine how you'll fight that? Fight being sucked under instead of using that support to keep you buoyant. Buoyant meaning up, because the water's pushing you up as part of gravity. It's just, obviously, liquid being fluid as it is, it tends to flow over us, around us, so it doesn't work in quite in the same way, it's more unstable than say a hard floor. At what point would that water, if we added some something to it to make it more and more viscous, thicker and thicker, at what point would you stop and say your floating on it? Well, you never stop floating really, so we're even floating on a hard surface, but pushed upwards. But going back to this idea that if you thought, in your mind, that you're being sucked under by the water, think how that would change your behavior, the belief would change your behavior to fight being sucked under.
If you believe you're being pulled down by gravity, you will fight to resist it. There is no fight, because you're not being pulled down, you're being pushed up, and all you have to do is use it to aid your posture, to push you up. Now it's easier said than done to change a belief, it takes time , but work on it, keep thinking on that, keep thinking that idea, because ultimately we are evolved to take maximum advantage of our environment. We're only this form, this human form, so we can use the environment the way that we do. I mean a fish doesn't need to do good buoyancy, it's a byproduct, buoyancy is a byproduct, and our posture is a byproduct. We can now allow it to happen, you don't do good posture it does you , you will be breathed, you will blink, you will be poised, if you allow it. Food for thought and I shall see you next time.