In a previous Blog entry which explored the concept of end-gaining I mentioned a very stressed young woman who had come to me for her first Alexander Technique lesson, because she had high blood pressure levels, migraines and lots of tension in her neck and shoulders, which wouldn’t go away despite trying various things, including physio and yoga.
When she came back for her second AT lesson, we were both amazed by how much she had been able to help herself by beginning to become aware of habits of tension and by practising the lying down procedure regularly during the preceding week. She was brilliant and managed to do this two or three times a day – working on herself that frequently really paid off.
She told me ‘ It’s been wonderful. After doing the semi-supine procedure a few times, I suddenly thought to myself “Ah, that’s what it’s like to have free and relaxed shoulders!”. I felt so different and was a bit calmer at work. My boyfriend said ” It’s great you have found something, at last, that really works!”.’
This young woman committed herself to the Alexander Technique and has worked on herself regularly, with awareness, so she brought about some changes in herself remarkably quickly. She also noticed habit patterns of tightening in her jaw and in her legs, which she can gradually work on as she uses the Technique more in her daily life.
This really underlines the importance of people realising that the Technique is a learning process, not a treatment. When we are willing to take the work on board and think about our use on a regular basis during our activities, plus practise lying down in the semi-supine position, we can let go of many of our habits that create excessive tension – and thus bring about profound changes in ourselves.
Three other pupils have dramatically reduced pain levels and RSI problems in their arms and shoulders, by being aware of how they use equipment such as computers and how they ride their bikes. Raising handlebars can help bring our bodies into better alignment but it is learning about the way we use our necks, arms and backs as we work, that really brings about the big changes for us all.