I tried recently to translate negative directions into positive directions, and just couldn’t come up with easy equivalents.  It was obvious to me immediately after I started saying “I’m not tightening my neck,” to say “I am not tightening my jaw” whenever I found my teeth touching each other, which was frequently.  When my tongue got so terribly sore from biting it in my sleep I added, “not tensing my tongue”, and it seemed obvious after that to go with “not tensing my face.”  (Which reminds me of a tai chi workshop in 1978 when Ben Lo was telling everybody to “relax” and he came up to me and said “relax your face!”  Not a new problem!)  These all seemed easy to figure out, intuitive and effective directions.  And I do not see the point of trying to translate them to less intuitive forms.

But I can’t help but notice that in classical AT teaching there is a procedure which incorporates all these factors elegantly and effectively.  It’s called the whispered Ah!  It is a favorite of mine and I am not sure why I do not practice and teach it more but I suspect it is the difficulty I have relaxing my face which is mediated thru the little smile at the thought of something silly.  So for now, on a day to day basis it is negative directions with the thought of more whispered Ahs in my future.

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