I love these drawings by Leonardo da Vinci
The toddler is captured just moving through what we Alexander teachers call ‘monkey position’ and he is balanced and grounded with a lengthened spine, even though he is bending forwards and looking over his right shoulder.
This is such a basic and useful movement and most children use it regularly but unfortunately we often lose this as we grow into adulthood and we often gather habits of mis-use and curl over instead, which puts pressure on our spines – and squishes our lungs and internal organs – fortunately we can re-learn how to use our bodies in the way we used to do when we were children.
F M Alexander used to call this ‘the position of mechanical advantage’ and it is possible to see why he did so at it is such a good way of using body when we want to bend forwards, utilising the large hip joints in order to allow the body to fold forwards and protecting the spine as we do so.
However, FM’s students soon found a more user-friendly name for this way of using the body and ‘monkey position‘ it became from then on!