I started using the word throughness in my teaching several years ago. I didn’t know if it was a real word or not, but it was the best word I could come up with to describe what I experience and what I observe happens when we are free and directed. There is a sense of openness and of the flow that goes through the body without resistance from gravity to the sky, from the sky to the pull of gravity, from body part to body part, and so on.
I finally looked throughness up in Google and found that it is actually a real word used in horseback riding. It is where the rider senses the ground through the horse. Wikipedia defines it as follows:
“In equestrianism, throughness is an absence of resistance in the horse to the rider's commands.”
Click on this Wikipedia link to see how the lines of flow and energy go from the rider into the ground and back up again through the horse.
It is interesting that Alexander was such a horse person and was probably on a horse the day after he was born. He must have been aware of sensing through the horse, and I’m projecting a little bit, but I think he must have naturally sensed the same throughness in people when he started to put his hands on them during his teaching.
Finding the state of least resistance, the appropriate amount of force and pressure, easiness and an uninterrupted flow of energy, are elements we look for in our movement and activities. This applies to our thinking, internal movements and actions as they relate to our environment. Remember the lack of resistance doesn’t mean to collapse or become limp like a noodle. We need to have the appropriate amount of tone to accomplish our activities. The issue is that most of us use too much force and pressure pursing a direction that isn’t helpful. Thus, we miss the feeling of throughness which allows for amazing freedom of movement, flow, and direction.
The concept of “release into the direction” could also be “release into the throughness.”
As you move through your day, discover your throughness by thinking of your body as a whole and allowing for less resistance. This is undoing and non-doing. The directions will support you.