The Alexander technique: what is it and do you need it?
Fitness expert Liz Neporent discusses how The Alexander Technique can help with more than just your posture
Go to the gym and ask for help with your posture and you'll probably be given a couple of exercises to strengthen your upper back or be told to take a yoga class. Whilst yoga can help, most experts agree that the Alexander technique is much more than a posture perfecter it is a way of life. The Alexander technique teaches you different ways of moving and thinking about how you perform daily activities so that standing or sitting up straight takes less energy than slouching. It makes you think about conserving energy and relaxing with every move you make.
The Alexander technique is the brainchild of Frederick Matthias Alexander (1869-1955), an actor who began hisas a Shakespearean orator and developed chronic laryngitis while performing. Determined to restore the full use of his voice, he carefully watched himself in a mirror while speaking and observed that his voice was at its worst when his neck muscles were extremely strained and tense. Over time, he discovered a way to ease his neck muscles and, consequently, the strain on his vocal chords. And, as a result, he articulated a principle that profoundly influences health and well-being: when neck tension is reduced, the head no longer compresses the spine and it is free to lengthen.
Alexander restored his own natural capacity for moving easily by changing his mindset while initiating an action. From his personal work and practice with others, he evolved a teaching method that encourages all the body's processes to work more efficiently as an integrated, dynamic whole.
Try a sample exercise
Start by sitting in a chair. Get comfortable. Do you find yourself slouching or sitting upright? Now stand up. How did you do it? Did you place your hands on your thighs or on the arms of the chair and force yourself up?