We often respond to the demands of our life-style and environment by increasing the amount of tension we hold in our bodies. The Alexander work provides a simple but powerful way of rejuvenating our natural posture so that we can let go of these tensions without collapsing.
Lessons also serve as preventative treatment to ensure continued health.
What can the Alexander Technique be used for?
This work can be particularly helpful for:
- for alleviating the pain and discomfort caused by postural, movement or breathing-related difficulties (see link to Back Pain Study British Medical Journal – http://www.bmj.com/content/337/bmj.a884) and for a description on YouTube, see Alexander Technique British Medical Journal Back Pain Study.
- situations of undue or extended physical or emotional stress
- the unique mindfulness of body, mind and spirit interacting together
- improving skills in any sphere (performance: music/drama; sporting)
- personal growth and development, raising consciousness
- improving poise and ‘posture’ although not in a rigid, overtensed way
- stiff necks and shoulders
- nervous tension/ tension headaches/ anxiety states
- prevention of backache in pregnancy
- Parkinson’s disease
- high blood pressure
- identity and 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.
“The Alexander Technique helped a long-standing back problem and to get a good night’s sleep after many years of tossing and turning.” – Paul Newman, actor
“The Alexander Technique makes a real difference to my often tense and busy life. Its thoughtful approach has made me calmer, improved my concentration, and given me a clearer sense of my own well being. I am grateful for it.” Joan Bakewell, English journalist, television presenter and Labour Party Peer.
“The Alexander Technique gives us all things we have been looking for in a system of physical education: relief from strain due to maladjustment, and constant improvement in physical and mental health. We cannot ask for more from any system; nor, if we seriously desire to alter human beings in a desirable direction, can we ask any less.”
See also: A Neurosurgeon talks about the benefits of the Alexander Technique for Back Pain Sufferers
Dr. Jack Stern, MD is a neurosurgeon in White Plains, New York specializing in spine neurosurgery. He is also a faculty member of the Yale School of Medicine. In this interview, Dr. Stern talks with Robert Rickover about the usefulness of the Alexander Technique for people suffering from back pain who want to avoid surgery. Dr. Stern is regularly cited by New York Magazine as one of the top ten doctors in New York. Dr. Stern’s website: safespinesurgery.com