Learn how to use simple Alexander Technique exercises to release tension, relieve pain caused by bad posture and boost performance. Start with standing, then move on to other daily, non-strenuous activities like sitting and lying down.
What Is Alexander Technique?
The Alexander technique teaches you how to do day-to-day activities in an increasingly effortless manner. It does this by helping you identify and unlearn negative lifetime habits such as bad posture that result in stress and tension. The end goal is to naturally boost your performance in any and every activity.
4 Key Principles
- Your movement and posture habits affect how well you function.
- The correct alignment of your head, neck and back is crucial to your functioning efficiently.
- Becoming aware of how you approach everyday activities is key to correcting your habits of misuse.
- Your body and mind function as one; adjustment to the one naturally affects the other.
Learning the Alexander Technique
The technique is typically taught on a one-to-one basis so that the teacher can focus on your individual needs. He or she may ask you to wear unrestrictive clothing during your sessions for easy movement. Set aside about 30 to 45 minutes for each lesson. The number of learning sessions needed varies. It depends on what you would like to achieve.
Having observed your movements, your teacher will show you better and easier ways of moving through hands-on guidance and verbal cues. Gradually, you will learn to recognize the bad habits that interfere with your innate sense of ease, poise, and balance. And with time, know how to change these habits by becoming aware of your nervous and musculoskeletal systems to establish good coordination of body and mind.
Alexander Technique Exercises
Active participation is essential when learning the Alexander technique. Here are some of the basic everyday activities your teacher will guide you through:
- Standing: standing starts with sitting. Begin by letting go of the tension in your neck, and you will notice your head move forward. Then feel your entire body sink into your chair. To stand, move your feet closer to your body and hinge forward using your hip joints. Next, balance your body weight over your feet and push off the floor to stand.
- Sitting: sitting starts with standing up. If your knees feel locked, release the tension. To sit down, send your knees forward and your hips backwards, then bring yourself down into the chair. Do not engage your lower back or neck.
- Lying down: this calls for a hard surface, such as a yoga mat or a carpeted floor. Use a pillow, towel, paperback books, or some clothes to support your head. To constructively rest, lie down on your back, bend your knees bent and press your feet flat on the floor. You can either keep your hands on your stomach or sides and keep your eyes closed or open. Allow your body to settle into the hard surface and let gravity take over. As you rest, your torso will lengthen and widen.
Benefits of Alexander Technique
Studying this technique has various benefits, including:
- Improves posture and mobility
- Relieves muscle tension and tightness
- Relieves musculoskeletal pain
- Allows for better stress management
- Enhances voice projection and quality
- Boosts athlete performance by improving their strength, endurance, flexibility, and speed
- Provides women with greater comfort during pregnancy, childbirth, and while breastfeeding
The Alexander technique is an investment you make in yourself. And an investment that will pay off in any situation in your life. Whether at home, work, or resting, apply the technique in your daily tasks to promote the efficient functioning of your body and mind.