Correct posture – the magic of Alexander Technique
Your posture means a lot doesn’t it? How often do we see parents nagging their children to ‘sit up straight!’. Why do they mind so much?
We must all somehow (consciously or unconsciously) be aware that posture reflects our inner experience and the way we relate to the world. We know for example that a hunched person is not necessarily expressing great confidence..
In my opinion, the title ‘correct posture’ is very incorrect! It indicates a stagnant state of how things ‘should’ be, and that can never be right!
When an individual strives to achieve a perfect state (in this case, a correct posture), he or she inevitably creates excessive tension.
Excessive tension indicates that there is a disharmony and this means that we are likely to be moving away from structural and emotional balance. When we ask a child to ‘sit upright’, he or she are moving from a state of lack of sufficient tension to another state of excessive tension. Both express a disharmony.
I would like to suggest that perhaps we can put aside the term ‘correct posture’, so there is no more end goal in mind (phew!). Instead, we can choose to engage in a process of constant development and correction that can lead to greater ease and freedom of movement. Alexander Technique is such process!
Alexander Technique is teaching the individual the means for better use of themselves. It is not concerned with correct or incorrect posture but is rather focused on constant improvement of the way we use ourselves.
Our habit is usually to fix things, ‘do something about it’ and add more and more. But for most people, what is required is the opposite – we can learn how to do less and create less interference with our authentic self so a new harmony will arise.
When observing children, you will see that in the first years of their lives parents do not remind them to sit up straight. It is simply not necessary. They are naturally and effortlessly upright. Only later new postural habits are acquired (important to note that these habits are not only physical but involve emotional and mental aspects). As the years go by we all acquire more and more habits, some are positive and others are not. Negative habits are in a way preventing us from being true to who we are and be authentic to our original design. For this reason, it is important that the process will be of peeling and removing rather than adding. The less interference, the more freedom of movement!
I found Alexander Technique to be an extraordinary way to create such change. In order to make this clearer, I would like to share with you one process of a student who has done amazing work with herself:
When looking in photo number 1, you will see the person leaning backwards while holding her abdominal and hip muscles tightly. At the same time compressing her upper spine forwards and downwards. This was a habit that she was not aware of initially. In her appreciation of herself she felt that she was sitting upright. As she started to direct her thoughts (differently to the way she normally thinks), her lower back straightened and she compressed her upper back less The excessive tension in her abdomen and hip relaxed and she could breath more fully (photo 2).
In the third stage (photo 3), after having greater clarity about her new direction of thought, her back became more upright again. All of that was achieved without excessive effort. With time her posture will change in such a way that she will be able to be upright without having to think about it – it will be her new and healthy habit.
It is important to note that what you see in the photo is only the physical change. What cannot be seen but is a part of this experience is a sense of peace and a completely different outlook on life.
I invite you to come and experience Alexander Technique.
It is a life changing process!