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The Alexander Technique is about rediscovering your own natural balance and co-ordination, both mental and physical.
The Alexander Technique is about rediscovering your own natural balance and co-ordination, both mental and physical. When we are children we do not interfere so much with our natural poise, we allow our bodies to move freely while we learn to discover how to move through exploration. As we grow older things can start to change as our conscious mind develops and our bodies start expressing what we are thinking and feeling more. Some of these expressions can lead to postural habits such as rounding of the shoulders or protruding hips which can put strain on the body and cause painful tension. In the Alexander Technique the emphasis is on looking at how you think in relation to how you move, stand, sit and interact with the world around you. It also looks at where you think certain bones, joints and muscles are in your body as having better knowledge of these will make movement easier.
A big part of the Alexander Technique is learning how to create space so you can choose how to react in any given situation; realising that we do have more time than we previously thought. Learning this new way of thinking by becoming more conscious and aware reduces tension which can lead to pain.
The Alexander Technique keeps you in the present moment where living and life take place, it helps you learn how to enjoy living and teaches you the beauty of acceptance.
Muscle tension and stiffness
Over time muscles can become tense and joints stiff from holding certain positions for too long or having a certain kind of posture. Sitting at a computer or standing for long periods of time can cause us to adopt certain ways of sitting and standing which are not beneficial to our well-being. Or perhaps we overwork certain muscles whilst others hardly work at all causing some to be tense and others weak. The Alexander Technique looks at this unbalance and helps you gain more equilibrium in the workings of your muscles which then reduces the tension and pain.
Back pain, RSI and arthritis
Research has shown that the Alexander Technique is hugely beneficial when treating back pain, as few as six lessons can help alleviate some of the pain and discomfort so many of us suffer from today. I can speak personally about how it helped me with my slipped disk and sciatica where doctors and many other therapies could not. It is also extremely effective when treating repetitive strain injuries as it looks at how we go about doing things which could show how some areas work harder than others. The Alexander Technique then offers alternative ways which make your body work more in harmony.
Many people think the Alexander Technique is solely to treat poor posture; however, as you have probably read by now, it is not its only benefit. I like to see good posture as more of a side effect to the Alexander Technique rather than its ultimate goal. When our body works more in balance and our minds are in tune with our body, of course we will no longer hunch over and contort ourselves into painful or tense postural habits and therefore will allow the natural workings of our body to fill their full potential.
Breathing and vocal problems
Another benefit the Alexander Technique is often known for is breathing, whether you find your breathing shallow and that you can’t get enough air in or you simply feel you are not breathing right, the technique can help you feel calmer about breathing and guide you towards breathing more efficiently. Many singers and actors have used the technique to help them with singing and speaking.
Anxiety and difficult emotional states
Closely linked to breathing, anxiety can be effectively treated with the technique. The sensation of feeling anxious can often be due to shallow breathing and not getting enough oxygen which causes tightening across the chest. As well as looking at it from a physical perspective the Alexander technique will as always look at the thinking behind what is going on in the body. It will teach you to be more objective about your thoughts and help you gain a more balanced way of thinking which is how you gain a more balanced way of being, physically and mentally.
Improve your performance in music, sport and theatre
Many performers of both the arts and sport have found the Alexander Technique invaluable to their performances. Celebrities such as Madonna, Hugh Jackman, Richard Gere, Joanna Lumley, Sir Paul McCartney, William Hurt, Pierce Brosnan, Sting, Jamie Lee Curtis, Jennifer Saunders, Ruby Wax, John Cleese, Robin Williams, Judi Dench and Keanu Reeves have all found the technique useful in their work.
Move more freely and efficiently
The fact that the technique helps release tension, will allow your body to move more easily. That heavy feeling associated with tension and an overworking of the muscles will be replaced with a flowing sensation of lightness.
Ease pregnancy and childbirth
Alexander Technique always looks at the whole and how mind and body can work to its optimum level; therefore, it is no different when applied to pregnancy. The technique will help you understand the changes that go on in your body during pregnancy and how you can adapt to them. The way the technique works with the body rather than against it will ease the pain during childbirth.
Improve focus without strain
So much belief is put into the fact that if we concentrate more the better we will do; however, the opposite is actually more effective. Over concentration can cause us to strain our eyes or furrow our foreheads causing tension and potential headaches. The idea that trying will eventually get us there is a faulty belief, as trying only gets in the way of actually achieving what we have set out to do. Allowing our bodies to be free of tension and creating the space in which information and thought can flow freely will allow more focus without strain.
Heighten your awareness
The technique is all about living in the present moment and learning how to take in information about what is around you at all times as well as what is going on inside you. This may seem like a lot to take on at first, but it is simply a skill to learn like any other and it only takes practice in observation to achieve heightened awareness and consciousness where you will really experience life as it is happening now.