Is the Alexander Technique all about posture?
“Learning the Alexander Technique has literally taken the pain out of my life. Now I know the right way of bending my body, I no longer experience the dreadful agony in my back region when I get out of bed or when I bend to pick something up off the floor, for example. What is more, the Alexander Technique has helped me focus better on what I’m doing, as I consciously prepare my body to get out of a chair, or to start walking, in a controlled way, rather than jerk to attention which impedes correct body movement. I wish to thank Elizabeth for being my AT teacher, for her ceaseless patience and for her clear-cut explanations.”
– Alan Hinson, Open University student and retired translator
Giraffes have seven vertebrae bones in their neck. That’s the same as us only bigger!
Like all animals, giraffes exude poise, despite looking like they’ve stepped out of a pantomime.
Have you ever scuttled past a shop window having caught a glimpse of your reflection and thought: “ Oh dear!” ?
Many of us are unhappy about our posture
When anyone mentions the word “posture” people try to haul themselves out of a slump, sit bolt upright, and pull their shoulders back military style. But this position is uncomfortable and unsustainable for more than a few minutes, and before you know it you’ve sunk back down and rounded your shoulders again.
The trouble is a lifetime’s accumulation of poor posture can severely restrict our ability to move. And we become very settled in our habits so that it actually feels perfectly normal to over arch our back or hunch our shoulders.
But our tendency to hunch over our computers and slouch when we are standing puts a lot of strain on our spine and can lead to chronic back pain. It can also have a negative impact on our digestion and breathing.
The Alexander technique can help us become far more conscious of how we may be using an excessive amount of effort and tension, stiffening our back and neck and tightening our muscles unnecessarily in order to hold ourselves upright.
We often think of posture as the way people hold themselves and how they look which permeates everything they do. And all they need to do in order to change is to hold themselves in a different way.
But it’s not about finding and holding a fixed perfect position. Ideally what we want is an easy upright posture which is more to do with effortless balance and coordination as well as being able to move naturally and easily.
The Alexander Technique is interested in how we hold ourselves when we are busy or in a rush, on a crowded tube, or giving a presentation in front of a large audience.