Caring for the Carers with the Alexander Technique
If you keep being aware of your use during activity and regularly practice the lying down procedure, your body- use is likely to improve and your movements will tend to become more free and easy than they have been for some time. It really can increase your wellbeing, so why not reward yourself.
Some people say that they don’t have time to practice this procedure, which is sad. If they allowed the time to do this regularly, they would realise just how enjoyable it can be useful it is as we unwind and come back to ourselves and they would also see just how much we can learn about ourselves in the process. We often work better afterwards, too.
When we lie down in semi-supine with a book under the head and knees bent, this allows our spine to gain maximum support and our nervous system to calm down. This wooden model would not let me bring the feet any closer to its body but for most of us, this position has the feet too far out, so they will tend to slip away. Also, the weight of the legs tends to drag on the pelvis, contributing to creating an arch in the lumbar region, the lower back, which can be uncomfortable, particularly if you have back pain. If the heels are just in front of the knees, this usually works better – unless you have a restriction in your knees in which case bring the feet in as close as is comfortable for you, without forcing the position.
Standing with Ease Using the Alexander Technique
IWD Workshop ~ Learning how to do the Lying Down Procedure
book changed your life?
‘The one the teacher put under my head during the Alexander Technique sessions at Rada. I grew an inch and a half.’ Jonathan Price Guardian Interview 7 March 2015
These intro workshops give people a chance to try out the Alexander Technique and to discover how we can begin to reduce stress and discomfort, whilst becoming more poised and increasing our sense of wellbeing. Some aspects of the Technique were explored through a mixture of experiential games, discussion and hands-on work whilst sitting, standing, walking and bending over to pick things up.
One of the procedures that was learnt in the workshop was the Constructive Rest procedure, which is performed in a semi-supine position, as in the photo which shows some of the workshop participants lying down. (Many thanks to the women for allowing me to use this photo). This is a great technique to use in order to develop self-awareness and learn about ourselves, to help us calm down, to free up and to look after our backs. It is also something that people can start using to help themselves, immediately.
When people start having 1:1 AT lessons, this procedure usually takes place whilst lying on a table, rather than the floor, whilst the teacher uses her / his hands to give feedback and to indicate to the pupil how to free up and make the best use of the process. Pupils are asked to practice this every day in order to develop the skills that make this a very powerful tool to use in our everyday lives.
One participant contacted me after the workshop and told me that she was in the middle of moving house and that ‘I had to move a vanload of stuff after the group session – (the workshop) was ideal preparation’. It’s great when someone can have an immediate realisation like this, as to how useful the AT can be, for instance when picking up and carrying boxes in a way that can protect our backs!
This IWD workshop was held in The Green House N16, which is an exciting new venue on Green Lanes and it is a co-working initiative.
My next Intro Workshop is for both Men and Women 25th April 2015
” It has been a long time since I have been in
touch with you, and I hope that you are well. I spent this evening with my
friend who came to see you for quite a while, and
that reminded me that I should write you the email that I have been meaning to
write for a while. I am pregnant – in fact I am very pregnant – 39 weeks today.
My back has been giving remarkably few major problems during over the past nine
concern about the eventuality that were I ever to have a child I feared it
would do terrible things to my back. I think that, largely because of the
miracle that coming to see you worked on my back, in a long term way I have been
spared that which I feared – though I have not of course as yet started the
whole business of carrying a child around the whole time.
The pain that I have had during the pregnancy is a lot less bad than I had feared, and it has
not incapacitated me.
I can also see the sculpture from an Alexander Technique perspective, as illustrating a common habit that many men and women have: contracting down on one side of the body and looking down with the head and neck to one side. Such patterns of contraction and mis-use can also develop when breastfeeding, writing, playing the violin or guitar, using a mouse and using a car’s gear stick, for instance.
If people habitually assume lop-sided positions, an imbalance in muscle use occurs, subjecting the vertebrae and intervertebral discs to an uneven, downward compression. This can cause neck and back pain and can eventually result in problems such as scoliosis and sciatica.