The Alexander Technique

Look at the conditions listed in the navigation bar.
There is a common cause underlying all of them.
A common cause that most people don't even know exists!

  • We use feeling (kinaesthesia) to tell us how to move.
  • We use feeling to tell us how we are moving.
  • For many of us that feeling is often seriously untrustworthy.
    (Yes, really. I give some examples below.)
  • We nonetheless rely on that feeling absolutely and implicitly.
  • Consequently, that movement is neither what we intended to do nor what we thought we did. Even the position we are in as a result is not what we think it is.

Of course it seems strange and hard to believe that our sense of movement could be untrustworthy. That only makes the damage we do by trusting it when we shouldn't the more insidious. Not realising what's happening, we do nothing to correct our debauched kinaesthesia and it is left to play havoc with our lives. If we do realise, we can then use the Alexander Technique to re-educate our kinaesthesia and return to health.

Some typical examples

  1. When we think we are standing upright, we are really leaning backwards from the hips to compensate for a forward stoop. If we make an effort to stand up straight, we end up leaning backwards even more than usual.
  2. When we think we are bending our legs, we are really bending our backs first. If we are prevented from bending our backs, we stiffen our legs and lock our knees for fear of falling over!
  3. When we think we are relaxing, we are often tightening up: a so-called "slump" is actually a tight, pulled-down state.
  4. Many of us turn our head to one side to look ahead. But we feel we are looking straight ahead as we do this. As a result, if our head is turned to face in the same direction as our body, we feel we are favouring the eye that was turned away.
  5. Although we think we are standing equally on both feet, we are usually putting most of our weight on one. If this is corrected for us, it seems to us that we have been pushed over onto the other one.
  6. In the course of our everyday activities, we routinely squash and contort our necks and backs. If we become aware of this and make an effort to stand taller, we only end up contorting ourselves more!

The catalogue goes on....

"Surely, all this can't be true, not for normal people?"
Unless you are a VERY exceptional person, it is true for you. What's more, any Alexander teacher could prove it to you in your first lesson.

"Give me some exercises to do."
Many people miss the point in this way:-
It's not just that your co-ordination is up the spout (though that would be bad enough). Whenever you try to improve your co-ordination or correct a postural defect, the greater your effort the worse it gets. Instead of trying harder, a subtler approach is needed, one that takes full account of the facts. Only the Alexander Technique does this consistently; this is what makes it uniquely powerful. No exercise program that has ever been invented could do it for you.

Remember the reason why you can't move well: as soon as you begin to, your unreliable kinaesthesia can be relied on to tell you that you are doing it wrong. Inevitably you react by correcting yourself, going back to your old ways, the ways that your kinaesthesia approves, the very ways that created your problem in the first place.

So whenever you practise an exercise, unless you can resist the tendency to correct yourself even though your movement feels utterly impossible, you will always end up doing what your debauched kinaesthesia dictates. So far from improving your posture, you will be practising your faulty co-ordination. If your movement never does feel utterly impossible that's simply because you never left the primrose path laid down by your debauched kinaesthesia.

When something is reliable, rely on it. When it isn't, to rely on it anyway is sheer folly!

Practise makes perfect: exercising to correct a problem arising from a debauched kinaesthesia is the best way to turn an occasional acute pain into a chronic back problem.

Does all this sound preposterously far-fetched? Is it too much to expect you to believe that so many people could be so wrong so much of the time?

Then, you won't be interested in the Alexander Technique.
Why not click the "Back" button and try something else.
Sorry I couldn't help.    :-)

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