Alexander Technique and Posture.
I have this ongoing fantasy of leaving this as my outgoing message on my office answering machine.
“Hi. I’m Wendy. Yes, I am an Alexander Teacher and happy to meet with you for a lesson. If you are a person suffering from chronic pain (back, knee, shoulder, neck) or from depression or anxiety; a performer who would like new insights into being present on stage or in auditions; a corporate executive wanting to improve your public image; or a person just hoping to be a bit more comfortable in one’s self and plain curious about the dozens of ways this work can improve your outlook on bi-pedal life…please leave me a message.
BUT…no, I don’t teach posture. Sorry. Rest assured, I am not now, nor have I ever been, a member of the Posture Police. So. If you just want to sit up taller, save your money, push up your spine, brace your ribs, lock your jaw and there you are sitting up tall. You don’t need me for that…you can do it all on your own. Save your money and stay home! BYE!”
[beep of machine…]
Well. I can dream, can’t I?
So. Jokes aside. I hope my point is clear enough. Please don’t reduce the Technique to just good posture. Of course the Alexander Tech and improved posture are a lovely duo, a happy couple that will have long and fruitful marriage if we treat ourselves well. For sure, improved posture is a bi-product of good use. But, let’s not get over-focused or myopic, shall we? Should we put too much weight on the whole posture thing…well, we just get mush. And it’s boring. Gotta say …a terribly boring thing to 'teach'. Good Posture. BORING.
Now, Good Use. That’s a different story. I love to teach that. When we stop tensing and bracing…everything – freedom of joints, breath, thoughts, muscles, digestion, circulation …:”the Works” can really motor along nicely. Now, that’s satisfying and fun. Rejuvenating, uplifting and empowering. Very interesting thing that. Good Use.
What is Good Use to you? Don’t be quick to answer, but see if you have any ideas or feelings about this concept, Really seeing, feeling and sensing what’s happening here and now is the best lesson always. With your head and neck, your breath, your gaze, your facial muscles, your lower back, your knees, etc. Everything. What do you sense? Is your weight going up or down? Have you recognized how long your spine is today? Are you pushing up? Or pulling down? Is your head thrown back in a constant state of 'freak out' or is it balancing quietly on top of your spine? Can you feel the difference? Does it make SENSE to you? Right on the spot. See, sense, feel where you are. For now. Appreciate your whole self. And recognize that the consequences of pulling down, bracing, tensing and holding, habitual misuse that comes about from daily living, go far deeper than your posture. Just appreciate Everything about your psycho-physical-neurological self and take just a sec and notice where you are in space? Are you pulling up? Falling down? Squeezing, holding and making yourself tense all around?
You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.
You're on your own.
And you know what you know.
You are the guy who'll decide where to go. ~
- Dr. Seuss