Teaching Alexander Technique for 20 years, I learned and believed that in any movement the head leads and the body follows; that thought precedes action. This concept made a lot of sense to me for a very long time.
Then I took a freestyle skiing class, and suddenly my kinesthetic world was turned upside down - literally and figuratively speaking.
My head got in the way of the action that I was performing. And when thought became an interference, it got me in trouble.
Being used to leading with my head I actually did a full on belly-flop face-plant off a jump. I was leaning forward too much and ejected out of my bindings. I experienced the same trajectory of movement on the trampoline. Asked to jump from one trampoline to another, clearing a 4 foot high mat, my body wanted to follow my head because of my training, moving into a dive which caused another face-plant on the trampoline on the other side of the mat.
“Feet first” I kept hearing my instructor say. It makes sense now, since what I was learning was how to land on my feet - again literally and figuratively speaking.
Yet my lack of trust and my overthinking kept running interference. I cleared the jump on the snow but kept stumbling over the soft obstacle between the two trampolines. I now understand that this movement, like any movement, asks for complete presence and trust.
What I realized is this:
When exploring new movements it’s not really helpful to think about the head, or to think at all.
Forget the head. Forget thought. Forget to learn. For fluid, natural movement, it’s your heart that must lead. Everything else will follow, if you let it.
Ease and flow are really physical laws, not intellectual ones. I keep going through the motion of feet first, trying to show up with my core and heart.