Whatever our age, we all want to move with ease and comfort, so that we can pursue our activities and work life with physical vitality and mental clarity. Overtime, we don’t realize that we are adding chronic tension in our bodies by our habitual and and repetitive movements. These habits are often cause subtle postural distortions, as we work at the computer, play a musical instrument, exercise, or work around the house. Gradually, we gain our own “set” of postural distortions, that develop because of our movement patterns. As our physical structural support gets compromised, even slightly, we pay the price in feeling restriction, pain and problems with balance and flexibility. Events like injuries and surgeries only add more complications, adding stiffness in our connective tissue, making it harder to regain and use our natural postural support and flexibility.
Our fascia, or neuromuscular web, is being reshaped throughout our lives, through our habits. So gradually we begin to feel excessive stress and strain in our bodies and in our movements, due to our unconscious movement habits. So we look to bodywork, rolfing, massage and chiropractic adjustments, which all seem to help, but which don’t completely get to the bottom of our recurring tension issues.
We may even begin to try for a “quick fix” for postural alignment problems, by throwing our shoulders back and trying to stand taller. We then engage in a conscious battle of trying to “outwit our habits”. We also follow various advice about how to improve our posture and our flexibility, but we may still find at the end of a long day that our back or neck aches. The question remains, “How to I regain a sense of comfort and freedom in my body and movements?”
Over a hundred years ago, an Australian, Frederick Matthis Alexander, discovered that there is a “master switch” or primary control for our movement, which can alleviate postural problems and get to the source of pain and tension. Learning to experience how our primary control works and how to direct our movements conscious in our day to day lives, is what is known as the Alexander Technique. I wouldn’t have believed that a “mindfulness” practice that increases body awareness and consciously redirects movement, could have such profound results. I luckily came upon the Alexander Technique, while in my early twenties. when I was one of those people who came home each day with debilitating pain in neck and shoulders. My first week studying the Alexander Technique left me completely pain free. I was astounded and told my friends. I began learning this conscious means for changing my posture, while eliminating chronic tension and years of “poor posture”. I became fascinated with the process of living with a new “attuned sense of my mind and body”, which has served me for the last thirty plus years, resulting in pain free living. Alexander developed psycho-physical methods for learning to live with a new sense of an attuned “self”. This method is one of the very first mind-body approaches for consciously improving overall health and wellbeing. Over the last century, the Alexander Technique has provided the foundational training for professional musicians, actors and singers world wide. Now, the so called “secret” of the Alexander Technique has become part of the mainstream movement for “attuning our mind and our body” for healthful living and work. This is the only mind/body method that I have experienced, that offers a way for improving all of our activities and ways of relating, though simple and practical thoughts and actions. You can learn to attune your body and mind by consciously reducing stress, tension and pain for a more healthful you!