Would you like to learn how to live a life free from pain? The Alexander Technique provides us with a learning environment to do just that. Having been around for over 100 years, it is not some faddy treatment but rather provides us with the tools with which to lead a life in which we really learn how to take care of our bodies.
As with a lot of people, I came to the Technique in a lot of pain and not knowing what to expect. I did know that it wasn’t a ‘quick fix’ to the pain, that I needed to work at learning and applying it, and that I was attracted to its holistic nature. These days there are a lot of other treatments out there which may sound more ‘sexy’ than the Alexander Technique. Certainly the image of someone learning to get in and out of a chair or ‘posture training’ is not a true portrayal of what the Alexander Technique has to offer. Looking at the benefits of the Technique, what sets is apart from these other treatments available, what makes it the unique thing that it is?
Well, I would start by saying that one of its unique features is that it is very much something which the pupil learns for themselves with the guidance of their teacher, you are very much the main focus of the lesson. This is certainly unlike a treatment, where generally you have something done to you. What the teacher asks of you is to hone your ability to think about how you move, talk, walk etc. and to learn to stop interfering with your natural balance and equilibrium. This may sound easier said than done and certainly takes time to learn, but you will be learning something from the very outset of taking lessons. This educational side of the Technique can make lessons fun and interesting, never boring or mundane.
Another aspect which could attract someone to the Alexander Technique is the sense of balance and freedom which can eventually be enjoyed as a result of taking a course of lessons. You will become more aware of your habitual postural behaviour than previously, sensing when you are likely to be pulling down, shortening, collapsing etc and be able to inhibit this and direct yourself more into the upright. This cannot of course happen overnight, there is a degree of work which needs to be done in order to get into this mindset, but it is possible and achievable.
Certainly the possibility of coming out of a sense of pain is a big benefit which might attract someone to take some lessons. It’s not a ‘quick fix’ but then again it’s not like returning for treatment after treatment and not really getting anywhere in terms of the disappearance of the pain. With each lesson you take, you’re essentially learning the same thing but on each occasion it will appear to be different and new and you will see change in terms of undertaking your daily activities, for instance they may become easier to undertake, or you may find you’re no longer in pain. It’s a gradual process, but because it’s gradual, it’s also means that what you learn with a teacher sinks in and becomes part of you, you will find yourself dropping old habits such a holding your breath, sucking in air before speaking or singing, tightening or shortening muscles when you don’t need to etc., whilst acquiring new, improved habits such as walking tall, not tightening or shortening yourself in order to undertake simple activities etc.
One big positive attraction, for me at least, is the ongoing learning about how my own body functions. It obviously is made up of many parts which function as a unified whole and for each part to function optimally, we need to learn how to be in the upright. Learning how to be more in the upright than I was has changed so much for me, it has been a real eye-opener just how much I had previously been pulling down and the effect this had. If you haven’t taken a lesson, I’d encourage you to consider booking an introductory one or even taking a short course of lessons. Like me, you may be surprised about what you learn about yourself and how much of an impact this can have on your enjoyment of your day-to-day life going forwards. Living in pain need not be an option, here is something practical which can help in many more ways than one might at first think, the benefits of which are numerous.