There’s been a post stream on Facebook on what the Alexander Technique, many AT teachers see that it is something to do with posture or poise, their websites read that way so you have no reason to think otherwise. You may guess from what I’ve written in this blog already, I don’t agree with them. My view is that posture or poise is just a product of thinking.
What about the bones and muscles you may say!
Your bones and muscles have evolved with our thinking and all our organs for us to survive not only as a person but also as a species.
We’ve evolved to move to catch prey and breed, our bones and muscles allow us to move. I’m being very simplistic in my explanation, there’s much more to it then bones and muscle. We need our senses, we need to recognise what our senses are sensing, we need to convert our stored energy into movement, we need an intention and skill to catch out prey. Not just the skill of the kill but the dexterity, agility and intelligence to out flank our prey. Obviously not many of us now go out and hunt our prey, shopping for food is a lot easier but we still have the dexterity, agility and intelligence, we use these skills now in different ways.
If the Alexander Technique is not about posture, what is it about?
It’s about what you are thinking, it’s about those thoughts you have when you are confronted by a stimulus. Or rather a technique that you can use to help you to discover those annoying habits that stop you in your tracks then you can let them go and get on with your life with the dexterity, agility and intelligence you were born with.
As the vast majority of thoughts produce a muscular reaction, some of your thoughts may restrict your dexterity and agility. Noticing these thoughts can only be a good thing, letting these thoughts go is even better, this is what you will learn from an Alexander Technique Teacher.
To become an Alexander Technique Teacher you will obviously have discovered the benefits in some way to understand that the technique really works. Many teachers meet the technique because of a physical pain, maybe something to do with their posture, perhaps lower back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain etc.. Once qualified they naturally gravitate to helping people with their old condition i.e. lower back pain. They are the experts in that field after all, as they have been through it already.
To teach people, the first action is to notice what is going on, notice the way they move, speak, mannerisms and the energy they are emitting or not. This energy comes in many forms;
- they aren’t connected, their body is in automatic.
- they are nervous
- they are trying to please
- they are trying to be nice
- they are trying to understand – butting in, completing my conversation
- they don’t want to be here
- they have a resistance to change
If you are in a safe place then these thoughts may be mis-placed and can be let go of. If you are holding on to a desire or trying to achieve something then you are most probably not doing yourself any favours and inhibiting the desire you are trying to achieve.
This trying to achieve may be your belief of how your lower back works, your shoulder works and you trying to get rid of the pain.
The pain could also be your fear of performing, on the stage, in a meeting, meeting strangers.
The pain could also be your fear of:
- driving a car,
- reading aloud,
- worrying about if what you write will be liked,
- being liked,
- being understood.
The list is endless
For a safe place these pains and fears can be experimented with, strategies developed and experimented with to find a new way of managing you fears and pains.
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