Teachers of the Alexander Technique wish that their pupils have at least six to ten lessons. They are keen to give their pupils experiences of movement without effort - commonly using sitting and standing as the means. With due attention to the head, neck and back (HNB) relationship, movement can be performed without unnecessary tension and the experience is of unusual ease and lightness.
What has become habitual over years of "misuse" will feel "wrong" when corrected, so there is a need over time for re-education of the senses. A typical lesson also involves a "table turn" where all limbs are encouraged to lengthen away from the body and the back to widen. You are instructed not to help in the moving of them. A small note - you do not remove your clothes in a lesson!
These can be dramatic, for instance, increased mobility in stiff joints, or can be of a slower effect. A lesson leaves the pupil with a sense of greater well-being and serenity. Improved posture, a greater ease in movement and improved health are all likely benefits. The Technique may alleviate symptoms of stress, anger, arthritis, asthma, hypertension and torticullis.
Many doctors and chiropractors are recommending the Alexander Technique to their patients for a longer term solution to their problems. Drawbacks are that lessons are on a one-to-one basis and consequently a course of them is costly. The Technique is unfortunately not acknowledged by medical aid schemes.
What can you do for yourself?
In general, think of "carrying the head", like it was served on a platter!
Note any general tendencies always to look downwards, or upwards.
Rest your spine regularly by lying flat on a floor with your knees up and your head on a book.
Nothing, however, can replace the instruction and attention of a qualified teacher.
(This article was written by Matthew Reid. For more information on the Alexander Technique or if you want to find a teacher in your area, visit www.alexandertechnique.org.za)
- (Health24, updated May 2011)
The Alexander Technique