Walking, talking, breathing, eating and digestion, sleeping, working on a computer, playing a musical instrument or a sport, and even just standing or sitting for a long time tend to be easier and work better. Performance anxiety is reduced and stress is less likely to build up. Pain is relieved and fatigue is lessened.
Self-confidence often improves along with an upright, graceful carriage; students tend to look taller, with more open shoulders, and their faces soften as they hold less tension in their necks and backs and move more freely, with more ease. Their body shapes often change for the better, and their movements are more relaxed and graceful. The ability to enjoy life increases too!
Exercise and general fitness
Most of us recognise the importance of being physically fit, and we assume that if we exercise enough we will be. But if we develop poor habits of coordination in early childhood, we repeat these habits throughout our lives in everything we do – regardless of how much we exercise. We may jog ten miles a week yet suffer from chronic back pain, frequent headaches or an inability to sit comfortably for long periods. Fitness involves more than just exercising to strengthen muscles. It means maintaining a balanced, coordinated use of ourselves in all our activities, throughout our day.
The Alexander Technique is a unique, educational method that teaches us to do just this – it is effectively a taught self-help approach. Distinct from exercise, massage or therapy, it teaches us to become aware of harmful habits and prevent them. We learn to sit without slouching, to walk without feeling heavy or tired, to move through the day without headaches or an aching back. It is a method that enables us to achieve that return to ease and gracefulness that is our natural birthright.
Identity and sense of self
Our kinaesthetic sense is not only the basis of balance, posture and movement; it is the basis of our sense of self. Although our “self” encompasses our minds, feelings and some sense of spiritual identity, we do not exist without our bodies. Because of this, the way we use ourselves is very closely bound up with who we are or who we think we are. We say, “I am round-shouldered” when it is more accurate to say, “I am rounding my shoulders”.
Many people find that as their kinaesthetic sense increases, they have a stronger sense of their own identity, almost as if they are coming home into their own bodies.
Alexander Technique can be particularly helpful for:
- Long-term relief from chronic non-specific back pain
- Alleviating the pain and discomfort caused by postural, movement or breathing-related difficulties
- Situations of undue or extended physical or emotional stress
- Stiff necks and shoulders
- Nervous tension/tension headaches/anxiety states
- A variety of medical conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, high blood pressure, asthma, non-specific back pain
- Repetitive stress injuries such as tennis elbow, carpel tunnel syndrome, etc.
- Prevention of backache in pregnancy
- Improving poise, posture and gracefulness, although not in a rigid, over-tensed way
- Improving performance/skills in any sphere: music, drama, sports, painting, etc.
- Personal growth and development, and raising consciousness and self-awareness