Why have Alexander Technique lessons?
2nd May, 20160 Comments
Written by: L. Rosalind Green, Alexander Technique
What is the Alexander Technique? It is the retraining of the body to be used i.e. the way you move and think more effectively and to help prevent pain. It was discovered (not invented) by F. M. Alexander over a 100 years ago. It has been examined more closely by some good scientific enquiries, and one in particular which was funded by the Medical Research Council; found that the Alexander Technique did help to reduce back pain and that improvement continued over time and is suggested by the NHS on their website, http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/alexander-technique/Pages/Introduction.aspx
Describing the Alexander Technique is like trying to describe a colour to a person blind from birth. This is because it is about embodied learning. Your body will learn something new by using your mind to train it. We all know that the two are connected, that is what we call psychophysical unity. We call ourselves Alexander Technique Teachers, because we teach you a different ‘way of going’ to use horse speak. It is this different use of yourself you will learn through regular lessons. You might be super fit, go to regular yoga or Pilates classes, but this is not what the Alexander Technique is about. It is purely concerned with how you do these activities and the net result has therapeutic effects, but moreover, you will develop a ‘conscious, constructive, control’ of yourself. You will learn about weight commitment and will feel lighter and more in control of your limbs. You will feel different and better.
Why is it significant? Can you live without it? The point about the Alexander Technique is that there are plenty of people out there who have not experienced it or have had a few lessons and said yes it was quite good. We are all a bit more mind/body conscious nowadays and things like yoga, massage and Pilates are quite popular because they work to strengthen and support the musculature which in turn help the mind. The Alexander Technique stands out from the crowd because you will learn something to take away and use anywhere and everywhere, and with everyday activities, i.e. sitting and standing. It can be applied in any activity and really is fundamental to being a bipedal mammal. You could compare it to having counselling for your body, learning about it and how you can change the way you use it. It is a process.
Teachers use their hands to guide your muscles to go a certain way, and use their voices to guide you to a different way of thinking about moving. It is this moving by thinking that gets right to the heart of the nervous system and creates a fundamental and substantial change in our manner of use. With this new thinking you will have a new tool from which you will be able to use in your everyday life which will give you the correct scaffolding to support your movement in the most biomechanically efficient way possible.
That is, we are mammals and bipeds and as such, it is not enough to have good core strength, and mobility. It is fundamental and necessary to be able to lead all movement with the head, which when relearnt (we do this anyway, when young), provides ease of movement and enhances performance within any activity. It is useful to learn, and once learnt, you will wonder what you have been doing with yourself all these years...
About the author
I have a BSc Hons Psychology, 13 years of Teaching experience, seven of which are as a resident Teacher within Trainequus. My specialism is in teaching riders who are interested in learning non-violent methods of riding. I am published by Sage in well-being research in conjunction with Bournemouth University.
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