One of the many useful aspects of the Alexander Technique is its portability. The Alexander Technique is a tool you use anywhere, at any time. So when traveling, you can take the Alexander Technique with you. Think of it as a carry-on.
You can’t really use chiropractic, acupuncture, or physical therapy in the way you use the Alexander Technique. For each of those methods, and so many more, one goes to the practitioner for treatment. The Alexander Technique stays with you, and moves with you. You own the Alexander Technique, therefore the Alexander Technique makes for a perfect traveling companion.
When we are traveling we are usually seated, and often the sitting situation is not optimal. We are cramped into buses, planes, trains, or cars. All present a challenge to using the principles of the Alexander Technique, and a bigger challenge if you don’t know the principles of the Alexander Technique! Sitting for long hours tires us, as does the stress associated with traveling. It is very easy to get fall into habits that aren’t beneficial for us, habits that compress our spine, increase our muscular tension, and decrease our breathing capacity.
Slumping is all too easy when tired, bored, or jet-lagged. We collapse our neck forward and down, our ribcage compresses, and our shoulders roll forward. There is less room for our lungs to expand so we have a diminished capacity for a full exchange of oxygen, which just adds to the fatigue.
So how can we use the Alexander Method to help us while traveling?
We can become more aware of all that is getting in the way of using ourselves well (our posture) We can notice that traveling can place us in ergonomic hell, and therefore we need to become more vigilant regarding what we are doing with our body.
One of the first steps, no matter the seating situation, is to free your neck muscles. Let go of the extra tension in your neck and let your head rotate forward, and up. Think of your head taking your spine up with it, while your sitting bones are going down into the seat. If you are sitting on a soft surface such as a plane seat, this can be challenging. However, even if you can not actually feel where your sit bones are, you can imagine where they are. When you allow the sit bones to go down, you get rid of the over-straightening of your lower back in an attempt to ‘sit up straight’, which is just another version of bad posture. Think about your spine lengthening up and down, and let your breathing be slower, and fuller. If you have a chance to move, or stretch, take advantage of it.
When you arrive at your destination, take a few minutes to do some ‘constructive rest’. Lie down on the floor facing up, knees bent, with you head resting on a few books. Breathe fully, and let your torso lengthen and widen.
The more you know about the Alexander Technique, the more you can use the Alexander Technique in all aspects of traveling. The Alexander Technique is made for portability and traveling.
Your comments are always welcome.
Mark Josefsberg-Alexander Technique NYC