Means and Ends, Part 1: Running

One familiar quotation you may have heard is this: “The end justifies the means.”  Or maybe it is in the form of a question: “Does the end justify the means?”

In the Alexander Technique, we could firmly answer, “The end does NOT justify the means if the means causes us to distort ourselves psycho-physically [F.M.’s term for the mindbody].”

In fact, by choosing NOT to ignore the effect of the means as we work toward a goal, we can inhibit harmful patterns of thought and movement while allowing a new way of doing the activity to arise—usually one that is less harmful. Not only do we lessen the risk of harming ourselves, but we actually get to and often exceed our goal!  Who knew?

We don’t know this way of doing things because our culture is obsessed with goals (ends) and “getting there.” For example, if you want to lose weight and get fit, then exercise is one part of that formula for success.  Many take up running, and most run in ways that do more harm than good. If your bodymind cannot co-ordinate itself well in a walk (most often the case), then how do we expect running not to be even more detrimental to joints?

When I began teaching the Technique, I held several workshops for runners.  Although these workshops could only offer a mere “taste of the Technique,” most participants felt positive changes during the workshop.  One runner carried it over into his daily run and moved up a couple of levels in his running club! He was willing to radically alter his concept of how to run.

In short, he was willing to take into account the “means whereby” (as Alexander called it) and not just focus on the goal (the end).  Yet in the process of paying attention to the means (how he was running), he achieved a goal, almost unexpectedly!

If you are a runner who would like to explore how running could be less harmful to your joints and connective tissue, please contact me for a free demo. Then you can decide whether or not you want to change your thinking and moving patterns toward more pleasure, less pain or discomfort.

Blessings,

Sally

Leave a Comment