Despite the Toyota news today about the brake design problems - extraordinary form, function and flow are demonstrated in the new 2010 Toyota Prius. There will be resolution on the brake issues. To me this is a temporary challenge. I’d like to highlight some of the incredible features that would be good for humans to learn from and implement to increase their quality of life. We recently purchased one and have been impressed with the tracking technology, fuel efficiency and overall smart designs incorporated throughout the Prius. Last week my husband even declared, “I feel so wasteful when I am driving our other vehicle (another 4 door sedan, 27 mpg). When I put my foot on the break, the car loses all the energy that could be used to refuel the battery. Why would anyone not want to improve energy and recycle waste?” This is also the question I ask my students who choose to study human efficiency with the Alexander Technique. Optimizing efficiency in humans and in cars is more essential than ever with the fast pace of society. Just as the Prius demonstrates suburb efficiency with cars, The Alexander Technique opens the door for better human efficiency for people to improve their daily Form, Function and Flow.
The most obvious feature of the 2010 Toyota Prius is the incredible energy efficient shape. Its Form allows it to be one of the most fuel efficient vehicles designed to date. Just like the Prius, people are designed with an extraordinary details that allow us to perform an amazement of tasks to live, work, sing, dance, garden, golf, play, run, swim, bike, ride, hang glide, create, invent, explore and infinitely more… Toyota has capitalized on the Form of the Prius with a $1.7 billion profit for its October-December quarter. Have Humans thought about their Form to increase their standing in the world? http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100204/ap_on_bi_ge/toyota_recall
Most humans tend to think about their Form/shape only as it relates to size. When the pants stop fitting the Form is getting flabby. Or they may admire the height of the basketball player or the mobility and flexibility of a gymnast. As most of us will not fall into the later two athletes, isn’t it time that we work with our human design to our benefit? One man studied our design in great detail for his lifetime, Frederick Matthias Alexander. He discovered an incredible aspect of humans. We have the choice to compress ourselves into a ball of tight muscles and knots or we can release tension and improve how we Function and Flow in relation to our very unique design and Form. Alexander discovered that we can move differently despite our height or weight. I imagine that Toyota is feeling pretty heavy burdens right now, but they will find their way through the recall process.
Toyota has too many great features to not bounce back. Lane keep assist is better than sliced bread. This little feature lets you know if you have wandered or started to cross into another lane. A little bell rings and the steering wheel actually pulls you safely back toward the middle of your current lane. Now what would happen if humans used this feature more when they started getting off track in meetings, or when shopping, running, swimming or planning projects? People seem perpetually pushed and pulled in multiple directions. What if we could count on being able to observe our midline and engage in a clear direction? The Alexander Technique offers improved direction with forward and up thinking. As one begins to observe themselves in activity, they notice if their neck muscles are tightening and if their head is heading in a back and down direction. This is similar to the head going off in a different lane. Alexander students learn to notice what is their Form like and how is it functioning? Yes, many people swerve into other lanes while driving cars, but is it generally healthy and safe? Allowing awareness to let your neck muscles release keeps your head from going in a back and down direction and lets you drive more comfortably in your body. This creates a far more comfortable carriage letting your body Flow without holding tension patterns and allows you to be more on-track with your daily life patterns.
Radar control cruise control is another favorite feature. The car comes equipped with cameras and radar to detect how far someone is in front of you and how fast they are driving. If you set your cruise at the speed limit of 70 mph, but you have a turtle in front of you at 62 mph, the cruise control will automatically adjust to their speed as long as you stay behind them. If you jump in the next lane, your cruise will take you back up to your desired 70 mph that you set it for. The car actually analyzes conditions present and adjusts as needed. Noticing conditions present and being able to adapt to changing circumstances has infinite potential for people too. How many times have you found yourself doing what you did before, just because you did it before? Shopping for the same foods, sitting in the same place in class or a meeting, throwing your back out again while golfing or gardening?
Adaptability to ever changing stimuli is a primary principal of the Alexander Technique. In fact F.M. Alexander referred to his work as the study of human reaction to stimuli. The Prius responds gracefully to the changes of all the traffic around it. With the Alexander Technique individuals learn to respond without tightening and tensing muscles. Think about all the people you encounter in a day, particularly the closest ones like family, co-workers and friends. Do you get tense with some of the conversation triggers? Learning to adjust to their various stimuli, by driving your own body with less tension can be the ultimate radar detector in human relationships and the beginning of improved quality cruising connections.
Keyless driving and entry is the ultimate car convenience. All one has to do is have the key in their pocket or purse to get in the car. So if you do not want to have to set your kid or groceries down to dig through your purse to find the ever buried key, you do not have to do that tedious task with the super smart keyless entry feature. You just reach for the handle and magic, it knows you want to get in and you open the door without hassle. Lesson here is certain. We all have keys in life. How do we want to use them? Knowing that we have keys available, and in fact that humans are equipped to move with more efficiency and grace is a huge step forward for the human race. As the Prius sets new benchmarks for the car industry, the Alexander Technique is driving humans to new levels to be more present to the conditions around us, respond to stimuli in new ways, keep our heads from swerving off base and yes even move and engage with more grace. Cheers to the improved Prius and People Form, Function and Flow with the Alexander Technique.
Internationally Certified Alexander Technique Teacher
Optimizing Human Efficiency and Performance
Free Your Flow… www.FormFunctionFlow.com