Eutony is a somatic discipline intended to deepen the entire range of expression and creativity as one experiences unity. Offering gentle, easy steps, one becomes cognisant of the body’s workings allowing for an improved wellness.
Gerda Alexander, originator of this holistic discipline, calls it the western approach to obtaining unity of the total person, freeing creative powers and achieving a profound knowledge of self in relation to others.
Eutony refers to well-balanced tension; eu meaning good and tony signifying muscle tone. Eutony can be an aid to improved health and wellness regardless of your age or fitness level.
As a young woman, Gertrude Alexander, (1908-1994), was a Danish teacher suffering critically from Rheumatic fever and Endocarditis. Seeking movement that would not complicate her maladies, Alexander researched herself, learning daily about what we are in the body. These observations lead her to formulate the movement forms of self-growth called Eutony.
In accord with her peer, Moshe Feldenkrais, rather than focus on physical exertion,
emphasis was placed on intelligence, sensitivity, and self-awareness. Instead of promoting physical modifications via exercises, Alexander concentrated on movement itself, using lessons and experiments; she sought ways to heighten personal comfort, independence, and wellness.
The methodology of Eutony affirms to produce a harmoniously balanced state as one develops the ability of self-awareness and competence to regulate muscular tone in adapting to the activity of the present moment.
To assist the student to reclaim the fluctuation of tone several principles and tools are put to use in the sessions held. Such principles include awareness of the body skin, perception of the internal body, and bones. Other tools involve conscious contact, movement techniques (active and passive), control positions, evaluation of muscular flexibility, and voice and bone vibrations.
Focusing attention and awareness on movement only produces increased circulation and complete beneficial changes to small muscle tonus.
Working with “intention of movement” rather than actually executing the stretches, gliding the bone towards the edge without disturbing the skin and other muscles is most effective in freeing arrested development in deep muscle tonus, balancing muscle tone and producing optimal circulation. Lactic acids and waste by-products resulting from metabolic demands and motor innervations can be avoided when the tonus is prepared for movement.
Circulation, hypo and hypertension troubles are benefited with this technique as well as paralytic conditions in the back and limbs.
During a Eutony session, which lasts 60-90 minutes, a student, through various “control positions” and self-examination gains understanding of his/her present muscular tonicity. The eutonist will then guide the student, incorporating the use of objects such as balls, pillows and sticks as well as contact between student and guide, to an understanding of the principles. Repetition of the initial control positions complete the session letting the student observe the differences in awareness and muscular tonus.
Eutony varies widely in length and treatment for students.It is claimed as a successful treatment of muscular skeletal disorders and maladies related to psychological enigmas and has a good report among doctors who have become familiar with Eutony.
In the early 70s, while giving seminars in Buenos Aires, Gerda Alexander introduced Eutonia to the Latin American culture. An educational professor and participant of one such seminar, Berta Vishnivetz became interested in Eutonia.
Pursuing her interest, Dr. Vishnivetz graduated in the School as Eutonía de Gerda Alexander. In 1974 she joined and assisted Gerda Alexander becoming a direct collaborator until 1985. Attending the University of Copenhagen Vishnivetz acquired a masters degree and a doctorate in psychology. The university in the Center of Audiologopedagogia currently employs Vishnivetz.
Berta was the founding director of the Latin American School and Argentina de Eutonía, extending to forming eutonistas in three countries. Outgrowing activity from these formations is gaining social recognition as having the capacity and direction to institutionalise this new methodology. Thus it is being duly noted and accepted in the areas of health, art and education.
October 18th, 2008
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