I am just back from a vibrant residential workshop at XXG Sanctuary in Snohomish. I am grateful to the organizers, the participants, and those who made the Sanctuary such a beautiful place to host an event!
All Alexander Technique lessons, classes, and workshops are what I call “deep play”, and my experiences last week renewed/confirmed the transformations possible when we –as adults- choose to give ourselves time to play outside the bounds of our daily lives. (The term, deep play, comes from a Diane Ackerman book of that title.) Following are excerpts from an article I wrote about it:
Above all, play requires freedom. One chooses to play. Play’s rules may be enforced, but play is not like life’s other dramas. It happens outside ordinary life and it requires freedom. (Ackerman 1999, p. 7)
Deep play describes my preference for creating a learning situation that calls on the desire to learn, inviting curiosity to lead the enquiry. Deep play is full of trial and error, full of finding out that one thing accomplishes desire better than another. The teacher provides the learning environment, the feedback, the information, the model, etc.; and the emphasis of deep play is on the joy of discovering the new, more skilled way to do what you intend.
…Play is how we – and many other animals – learn to perform our daily tasks. It is how we learn to survive, to socialise and to improve skills. Dutch Historian Johan Huizinga who was interested in the play element in culture, defines it:
Play ‘is an activity which proceeds within certain limits of time and space, in a visible order, according to rules freely accepted, and outside the sphere of necessity or material utility. The play mood is one of rapture and enthusiasm, and is sacred or festive in accordance with the occasion. A feeling of exultation and tension accompanies the action’ (Ackerman 1999, p. 3).…
If we use this definition of play … every Alexander Technique class, workshop and lesson is play. “Deep” play emphasises that play can facilitate significant, i.e. deep, change.
(Kentauro posted (and probably took) this picture from the Residential on Facebook.)