Skip to content

Quote of the Month: July 2015

by Ellen on July 2nd, 2015

Note: Apparently I went a little bonkers a few months ago and thought I posted this blog entry when in fact I didn’t, so here it is, for real this time.

LUKE: Oh great! We’ll never get it out now!
YODA: So certain are you? *sigh* Always with you what cannot be done. Hear you nothing that I say?
LUKE: Master, moving stones around is one thing, this is totally different!
YODA: No! No different! Only different in your mind! You must unlearn what you have learned.
LUKE: Alright, I’ll give it a try.
YODA: No! Do! Or do not. There is no try.

As we’ve seen before on this blog, Alexander Technique can be found in the most unlikely of places. For me, this week, that place was Star Wars.

Specifically, it was in The Empire Strikes Back. That master of profound statements, Yoda, is trying to impress upon Luke the ways of the Force. Luke doesn’t truly believe in the power of the Force, despite having seen small proofs of its existence – the ability to move stones, for example. When his X-Wing fighter jet sinks into the swamp, Luke begins to despair.

I’ve always loved Yoda for his zen-master-esque feel and the profound things he says, and this is just one prime example of how Yoda’s teachings are very Alexander Technique-like. Two separate comments of Yoda’s in the above exchange speak directly to the Alexander Technique.

First is Yoda’s comment “You must unlearn what you have learned.” In this case, Luke’s preconceived ideas of what can and cannot be done are preventing him from even attempting something new. He is so dejected at this point that Yoda has to prove it to him by doing something Luke considers impossible: lifting the X-Wing completely out of the swamp and setting it gently down on land, all without ever touching it.

Compare that to an Alexander Technique example: our own preconceived ideas of what we can and cannot do often impede our ability to move with ease and efficiency. A man with knee trouble who has convinced himself that he “cannot” sit down without using his hands will be shown that same proof of the impossible if his Alexander teacher sits him down effortlessly without his help. But he needs to unlearn the ideas he has learned about his own limitations before he will be able to do so himself.

The second example is also one of Yoda’s most famous quotes: “Do. Or do not. There is no try.” This speaks directly to the Alexander idea of “trying to be right.” Alexander learned that when he actively tried to accomplish a task, he only reinforced his end-gaining habit. In order to successfully accomplish the task at hand, he had to give up on the idea of “getting it right.” Yoda is able to lift the X-Wing because he has decided to do it, and so he does.

These are just a few of the innumerable bits of Alexander-esque wisdom taught by Yoda throughout the film. Go watch the whole thing again and keep your eye out for the rest of them!

Forward and Up! is a Pittsburgh-based private practice offering quality instruction in the Alexander Technique in a positive and supportive environment.

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Note: XHTML is allowed. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS