When I started learning about the Alexander Technique in 1993, I had already started to slump and jut my pelvis forward, and I wasn’t even 50 years old. And I had low back pain, my shoulders were pulled up to my ears, and all the years of wearing high heels in the corporate world (they were required!!) had made my hamstrings so tight, I couldn’t touch my toes.
I was very intrigued by this thing call the Alexander Technique, so I went for some lessons (they call it lessons, since it isn’t a therapy but an education); I was amazed at how the teacher’s gentle hands and my participation in thinking about my anatomy as I did normal everyday things, like sitting in a chair, walking, lifting a box; changed me entirely. There was a memory that was reawakened , maybe when I was a child; and I couldn’t put words to it except, I didn’t feel heavy or burdened; almost like floating, and I had no pain or stiffness. When I looked in the mirror I was much taller than when I had come into her teaching studio.
Well, I was so taken by this work, and that it was sustainable, and I was learning about “my” way of moving and changing what was not serving me well; I was “relearning” what I already knew that was buried behind habit and uncouscious reactions to “how to do things in my daily life”.
I now knew that the slumping was causing my back pain and stiff shoulders; and I could do something about it. I didn’t have to age into that shape, I had a choice and it was mine to change with some help from my Alexander Technique teacher and practice on my part. I think of it like learning a new language or musical instrument; always progressing, and learning something new, a new relationship to how I live my life.
“It is our birthright”, said F. M. Alexander, who founded this work 100+ years ago; it is the principal behind living. If we are easy and confident in our bodies and our everyday movement; we approach our relationships, our service, our self-care, our health in the way we most would like to be in the world as a human being.
Check out the video to the right of this article: