Definition: Wall Work

Wall Work is a seemingly simple procedure that may be familiar to other disciplines but it is the way that it is performed, that is the most important aspect of using it in the Alexander Technique. This procedure may be used in lessons and it is also an activity that even new pupils can begin to use, to work on themselves in their own time.

The pupil leans up against a flat surface such as a wall or door, bends the knees to slide down the wall and then straightens the legs to come back up. However, this is not performed umpteen times as an exercise in order to strengthen the legs. Using the procedure, perhaps even just once or twice, freely, in an aware, unforced, lengthening manner, is deemed to be of more value.

Wall work may be used for pupils to learn about what is going on in the body, whilst standing and then whilst moving, so that they can:

  • Begin to develop their awareness of their habits and patterns of use and mis-use
  • Learn to inhibit any urge to rush into performing an action without thought
  • Learn to inhibit habits of tension and distortion
  • Give themselves directions during an activity, so that they can bring about changes in their use and the way they perform the procedure

The wall work procedure has also been adapted in order to help people perform a squat. This moves into the realm of applying the Alexander Technique to another discipline. The procedure is performed with the back against a gym ball, which can then roll up and down the wall, supporting the pupil's back during the procedure. This is described in some detail in:

Master the Art of Working Out ~ Malcolm Balk and Andrew Shields ~ p92

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