The missing componentOctober 28th, 2012
Most people agree that relaxation is key to everything – if you’re relaxed, you’ll be able to function more effectively.
No rocket science here, the question however is, how do you achieve it?
There’re probably as many answers as there are teachers and performers.
For me, there’re three basic components to relaxation.
Looseness, lightness, and release.
Looseness has to do with your body state, lightness the quality of your movement, and release focuses on its dynamic nature.
If you do these three things, you will never be tight.
Over the years, I’ve read and become acquainted with other methods of achieving relaxation.
Most of them, I’ve noticed, deal with the obvious – keeping your body relaxed. That’s easy to say, of course, but how do you stay relaxed in the middle of action? How do you stay relaxed when you’re moving at ten actions per second?
Release — that’s the missing component from many of these methods.
The key to staying relaxed in the middle of action is to release all tension as soon as the action is completed.
In guitar terms, the instant you strike the string, you must release all tension in your finger and allow it to become completely relaxed again.
This crucial dynamic component of relaxation is often missed, I suspect, because most of these relaxation experts are operating in the theoretical. They have little understanding of the fluidity of the moment, when actions are occurring at dizzying speeds and when you have to constantly exert and release tension at split second intervals.
Perhaps the most bizarre of these theoretical approaches to relaxation is the so-called Jorgensen technique.
According to advocates of this technique, to achieve relaxation, you must first tense yourself up to the max, and then release that tension.
The rationale behind the approach is that if you understand what extreme tension feels like, you’ll be better able to avoid it.
Kind of like asking someone to gorge on food so he/she can better lose weight.
No, I’m not knocking these methods. They will work perfectly fine at attaining relaxation – if you’re lying on a beach somewhere.
For everything else, however, you’ll have to have a more sophisticated approach, one that factors in the dynamic nature of performing.