How you use your body affects the way it functions. This is very much the thinking behind Alexander’s analogy of a car, which needs to be in good condition to run well. You take a car for a regular service and keep it in good order. The same applies to our bodies. If we are pulling down or even bracing ourselves to stay upright, this all causes stress on our bodies and muscles in particular. Equally, if we are constantly in a state of stress, this also puts a strain on ourselves and causes our behaviour to be one of rushing around without stopping to consider what we are doing with ourselves.
The Alexander Technique is of great benefit to those with musculo-skeletal conditions, but it is of equal benefit to anyone to whom the above applies. In fact it can bring a sense of ease, peace and stopping to anyone who seeks out a teacher. Just the very fact that a teacher works on you as you lie on a table can be the source of relief for a lot of people who might never have experienced having this space to themselves before. It also means that a teacher can work with them, giving directions about expansion and going up, something which can be a real eye-opener for many people when they first experience this.
Thinking of expanding without ‘doing’ the expansion and lengthening in stature without ‘doing’ the lengthening, that is without pulling yourself up or standing up straight as if to attention. Use affects functioning, that is how you use your body affects the way it functions. If you are tensing muscles which do not need to be tense, then this will affect you, usually affecting people with muscle aches and pains which they find very difficult to get rid of, sometimes even seeking out the work of therapists to ease the pain. However, working with an Alexander Technique, you get to respect your body a lot more than previously, looking after it as you move around on a daily basis. You start to think much more about how you move, the directions of the teacher slowly sinking into your way of thinking to the point where they become your own directions, which you can then apply yourself.