The Alexander Technique and Stress Reduction
In Alexander Technique lessons, I often use the words let and allow, as in allow your neck to be free, or let your head lead your spine into length. Alexander Technique teachers often say allow your entire ribcage to contract and expand as you breathe, and allow your sit bones to release down into the chair. Let your torso gently spiral as you walk, allow your jaw to release, let the Alexander Technique relieve tension and stress, and countless other examples of allowing… letting…
If we need to allow things to happen, perhaps we unconsciously disallow them from happening. The disallowing has become habitual.
The Alexander Technique and Tension
We unconsciously shorten, narrow, compress, grip, tighten, and hold. It’s unconscious because nobody purposefully lives with their necks tensed and shortened, bringing their shoulders up around their ears. Have you ever noticed you feel better in almost every way when you’re on vacation? It might not be because of what you’re doing; it might be because of what you’re not doing.
We may continue harmful patterns of tension until something or someone makes us aware of them. This awareness may occur because we notice our bad posture in a photo or video, we start to experience pain, or we take an Alexander Technique lesson.
We usually don’t allow our necks to be free. This disallowing, or tightening may occur 24 hours a day (yes, even during sleep.) It becomes “normal” to walk around (and sit around) with lots of excess tension. The good news is that with Alexander’s Techniques we can learn to form new habits. We can learn how to just be. We can learn to let go of our tightening muscles. We do it all the time when we exercise; every time we put down a heavy weight.
F.M. Alexander said if we stop doing the wrong things, the right things will do themselves. Adding extra stress and tension to everything we do is one of those ‘wrong things’.
Mark Josefsberg-Alexander Technique NYC