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The Alexander Technique

Alexander Technique for HealthA lot of people have heard of the Alexander Technique, but not that many know what it is.  In fact, it’s a subtle process that’s quite different from other approaches, so like anything unfamiliar it can seem rather confusing at first.

The Alexander Technique is a practical skill that you learn.  First and foremost it’s an educational process.  So I call myself an Alexander Technique teacher, I have pupils who come for lessons. It’s not a treatment or therapy, although it often makes you feel great and can have therapeutic effects.

But Alexander Technique is a practical skill with a twist.  When we learn most skills like driving a car or dancing the tango, we are adding new movement patterns.  With Alexander Technique it’s the reverse.   It’s a skill of subtraction.  You are learning to take away what you don’t want.

So what sort of thing don’t you want?  As young children we move beautifully, but as we get older we pick up all kinds of unconscious movement habits and postural sets.  We may have an injury or operation and then hold protective muscular tension around the damaged area years after the damage has healed. Or maybe you were the kid who grew tall at a young age so now you stoop even though you’re an average height adult.  There are all sorts of factors that combine to create unconscious habits of tension, fixity or collapse in the body.  It’s these habits that lead to poor posture or even pain, and it’s those you learn to stop with Alexander Technique.

Many people turn to the Alexander Technique for help with posture or with back pain.  Often these two are related.  It’s also popular for women during pregnancy, when a lot physical changes are taking place.  Many drama schools and classical music colleges teach Alexander Technique as part of the curriculum to students, as it helps them with the physical demands of their professions.  Other applications are for people with movement problems such as MS, Parkinsons or stroke.  So there is a wide spectrum of people who find it useful.

About Sarah Chatwin

Sarah Chatwin helps high achievers with posture, back pain and stress using Alexander Technique.  Based in Holborn, central London, she runs a busy private practice as well as corporate workshops for companies such as Aveda and Facebook, as is a popular speaker.

To try out some Alexander Technique ideas for yourself, visit www.sarahchatwin.com/try-this and sign up for Sarah’s free e-course ‘Seven Steps to Less Pain, More Poise’

To find an Alexander Technique teacher near you, visit www.stat.org.uk

© Sarah Chatwin 2011