Alexander Technique

Posture, such a confusing word!


Posture is a contentious word in the Alexander world, just like Marmite so love it, some hate it! I’ve been listening and agreeing to both sides.

Students come to Alexander Technique teachers because of;

  • poor posture,
  • wanting to improve posture,
  • their posture is giving them pain,
  • they know we can do something about posture.

The evidence is there in the writings and videos that Alexander Technique teachers have produced and what their friends and family have also said.

Conversely the argument is true, the Alexander Technique is nothing to do with posture, it is about how you choose to think;

  • having a great awareness of yourself and your surroundings,
  • with an intention to do something,
  • then you are available to move freely and life becomes freer by each second.

Being free by the second, pain can evaporate without you being aware that is has disappeared; this is what the Alexander Technique is without a mention of posture!

Free by the second

The catch with posture is that it can be a noun or a verb! Prefixing an adjective to ‘posture’ makes posture a noun, I believe this is where the trouble lies.
The noun definition from google is ‘the position in which someone holds their body when standing or sitting’. Clearly this fits in with the first argument; “my poor posture is the cause of my back pain”, there’s little thought of where poor posture comes from, this is because posture in this sense is a noun, it’s therefore a proper thing that other things can be attributed to it and posture gets the blame for your;

• lower back pain,
• frozen shoulder,
• neck pain
• etc.

The noun generates a vicious circle of posture and pain that is very difficult to get out of as it’s not postures fault!

The verb definition from google is ‘behave in a way that is intended to impress or mislead’. This clearly fits in with the second argument, behaviour comes from thought, whether it’s conscious or not.
People come for Alexander lessons to be free from pain, improve performance, to learn to cope with life and a host of other personal aspirations. We do look at their posture in the noun form and verb perspective.

The verb posture contributes to the noun posture.

Therefore working with then verb posture will effect the noun posture, this will lessen to side effects of both the verb and noun and pain will diminish, performance will improve, the student will move closer to their aspirations, dreams and intentions.

Behaving in a way that is intended to impress or mislead is, I believe, the crux of the Alexander Technique, having the time to pause and notice to either carry on to impress or mislead, or not to; these are your choices. This is not only when you interact with others, more importantly how you interact with yourself moment by moment, molecule by molecule. Of course you can impress and mislead if you want to however both of these need to be a considered decision.


My conclusion is posture is a good word to use in the Alexander world, it is in parlance with our students, normally as a noun.


Our role as an Alexander Technique teacher is to demonstrate freedom and aliveness without the need to impress nor mislead so that the student can develop these skills themselves.


They will then discover how powerful the opposite of verb ‘posture’ is ‘to neither behave in a way that is intended to impress nor mislead’.


This profound discovery that can be applied at any moment of your choosing.

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Alexander Technique

What is the Alexander Technique?


I’ve written what it is many times, yesterday I explained that it is teaching co-ordination, co-ordination of the whole human entity with all its boundaries, all the boundaries you care to know or think about and some you didn’t know existed.

It’s the co-ordination that you wish you can have so that you can be better at whatever you aspire to be.

Many of us spend many years and a lot of money to learn how to do something, perhaps your job, vocation, or you hobby. The list is endless; sports, musician, actor, poet, writer, doctor, nurse, dentist, lecturer, decorator, chef, hula hoop maker… . The list is endless, we are all trained in some activity that would benefit with better co-ordination.

This improved co-ordination is what the Alexander Technique teaches.

Improving your co-ordination by teaching you how to be in balance with whatever you want to do and whomever you want to communicate or interact with.

The art is noticing how you are reacting instead of being in autopilot. Taking more control of your reactions your performance will improve.

The by-products of improved co-ordination are that pain will soften and may eventually disappear, you will be happier, there will be more time in your day.

You will feel great!

Why not give it a try, if you don’t like feeling free, almost weightless, brighter and happier this is not for you but then again you will never know until you try it. Unfortunately words can’t describe the freedom and aliveness that being in co-ordination brings.

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Alexander Technique

At the Dentist


Do you ever feel light and free when you meet a someone; something strange happens, sort of lightness, some sort of connection. Sometimes it’s the other way, you get heavy and morose, maybe somewhere on you body gets more painful.

Like it or not we all need the company of others, sometimes you may get stuck in a relationship with negative vibes. It’s not nice, you are on your toes all the time waiting for criticism, evolving and developing your anxiety and depression, you may start to believe that everyone is like this and it becomes the norm!

I lived like this for many years.

Slowly I’ve changed to being on the light and free, I have positive vibes! I can quickly go negative, it was my norm for a long time, I now have tools so the I can notice and quickly turn around.

Yesterday I went to the dentist; the last appointment to fit a crown. I’d spoken to the dentist previously about helping the surgery staff with their aches and pains so this visit I brought my sales letter, its first time in action. I printed three copies, my plan was two copies for the dentist and one for the receptionist.

I was on time but the dentist was late, so I had the opportunity to pass my sales letter to the receptionist, explained what its about; noticing habits and making choices, increasing awareness in everything you do. She commented on her lower back pain, we continued talking about her previous work and other things, I quietly and consciously increased my awareness whilst chatting, she copied the awareness without knowing. After a few minutes I asked about her lower back pain, she was shocked that it had diminish.

“How did you do that!” she said, “It’s magic, can other people do this? Why doesn’t anybody know about the Alexander Technique?”

The thing is most people can have this awareness but they choose not to. It’s not a real choice as you have been steered and trained to behave in a particular way by your family, friends, enemies, colleagues and almost anywhere you can think of.

You have a particular response to a particular stimulus that is particular to you. I didn’t like paper tissues as many years ago some stuck to my face, it’s only recently, 50 or so years after the event that I can now use tissues. You may have one or many responses similar to my paper tissue response.

What changed my life is firstly coming across the Alexander Technique and then training to be a Alexander Technique teacher, which I’ve almost completed.
Learning the skills to be present and a heightened awareness, the observational skills using my senses, not just my sight and hearing, so that I can observe others habits. there is also the connection between the client or group of clients and myself, not pushy, not soft, somewhere in the middle that allows an open communication that goes both ways. All this takes time, anguish, frustration, noticing habits and letting them go is difficult, well it was for me!

Now here’s an offer, whilst I’m still training I’m offering you free sessions, firstly to practice my skills, I’ve already worked with over a hundred different clients and secondly to get the Alexander Technique out in the world. Don’t worry if you can’t see me in person, we can always work over internet with a video link.

Any takers?

Alexander Technique, Asthma

Asthma and how the Alexander Technique helped me


In 1995 I had a very bad year, some of the most stressful events in my life appeared at once, then I got the flu – asthma struck me with a huge bang.

I could only walk a few yards before I needed to stop to get my breath back, it was just horrible, I seemed to be permanently using my inhaler. On one event I was admitted to hospital, the paramedic prepared me for a drip in the ambulance, I thought I had some medicine through the drip and instantly recovered.

I thought, asthma is psychological? A needle in my hand connected to nothing and the symptoms stop!
 
I’d never really thought what asthma was, here is a definition
•a respiratory condition marked by attacks of spasm in the bronchi of the lungs, causing difficulty in breathing. It is usually connected to allergic reaction or other forms of hypersensitivity.
•from Greek asthma, from azein ‘breathe hard’.
Well, that may be true but is it always, sudden onset of asthma after a trauma could well be different; I recon it is a muscular response to stress related to the fight or flight reflex. Breathing is dependant on the muscles and skeleton of the thorax and also the muscles abdomen however with asthma caused by stress the control on these muscles goes awry.  I found that when I had an asthma attack, it wasn’t that I couldn’t breathe in but I was full of air and couldn’t breathe out, inhalers eased the effect but did nothing in the long-term. I simply wasn’t using the array of muscles available for breathing as my thorax was locked in a fright, unwilling to move, not knowing how to move. I sort of breathed from my shoulders, sucking in air by scrunching up my shoulders. My shoulders felt like they were up near my ears. I was breathless if I did too much activity, I went in to panic mode if i did too much activity, a vicious circle with no escape if I didn’t have my inhaler to hand; well that’s what I thought.
I accidentally discovered the Alexander Technique 10-12 years after I started with asthma. It just made me feel good, I enjoyed the feeling of lightness, greater ease, I was happier. My inhaler use reduced but I didn’t put it down to the Alexander Technique; I’ve noticed that it’s always something other than the Alexander Technique that has improved what has improved.
I remembered the night in the ambulance; A needle in my hand connected to nothing and the symptoms stop! 
Perhaps the Alexander Technique can help me manage my asthma. I went on  a voyage of discovery, firstly I discovered that the Alexander Technique is not a therapy but training how to use myself efficiently and effectively, in fact efficaciously.
My asthma is the output of many habits I’ve developed over my lifetime; they were all valid when I developed them but may not be valid now. The Alexander Technique allows me to stop and choose how I want to approach stimuli, say a stressful situation, instead of my habitual tightening and resultant asthma, I can choose something else.  The Alexander Technique isn’t a quick or instant fix but I think well worth the effort, why be reliant on inhalers when I can consciously control my actions.
I now live an inhaler free life, when the asthma indicators arise, I can now stop, choose and get on with my life.