I bought a new chair for my Alexander Technique teaching room at home in Dorset at the weekend. Well, it's not actually a new chair being around 80 years old, but it's new to me and with a good cleaning, antique waxing and a new cover to it's gently padded seat it looks the bee's knees.
However I found that as I worked on my pupil on Sunday, the chair back was high enough to slightly hinder the way I worked so it felt strange. And there I realised that it was affecting the way I 'habitually' work and maybe the chair isn't wrong at all. I just need to change 'how' I work, then it would be fine.
I remember Walter Carrington who trained me, saying to me, "Noel, there isn't an ideal chair, you know. You will sit in thousands of chairs in your life so you have to make the most of the situation." If we look after ourselves in terms of poise, balance and direction, we can sit in a great many 'unsatisfactory' chairs, but still they won't harm us and we won't suffer. It's up to us to look after ourselves. And thanks to the Alexander Technique we can do just that!
Being adaptable means not being stuck in one's way of doing things. It means being open to new opportunities, to not being stuck in habit, to adapting to the circumstances and situation that you we find ourselves. It's when we rigidly stick to 'our way of doing things' that we end up getting into trouble.
So my chair is a little high in the back, but perfect for my pupils. So, I adapt my working around the obstacle and I now find I'm teaching the Alexander Technique with hands-on guidance, in a slightly different way. I now let the chair teach me. How refreshing! :-)