LIGHTEN UP! IT’S THE ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE / by Ariel Carson

Do you ever feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders? I remember when I used to feel that way all the time. (This is the part where I acknowledge that I totally sound like a cheesy infomercial, but I’m so in love with the alexander technique, that I can’t help it!) Even though that’s just an expression, over time most of us develop habits of compressing, collapsing, and bearing down on our skeletal systems, putting tons of undue stress on our joints. In the long run, these habits can lead to health problems like shoulder tension, back pain, migraines, herniated discs, sciatica, and exhaustion, from exerting way more effort than necessary to do even the simplest of tasks like sitting, walking, or picking something up from the floor. In general we just feel heavy, down, and depleted. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

In your Alexander Technique lessons, your teacher helps you identify areas where you are diminishing the spaciousness through your joints. Then using highly skilled, gentle touch and verbal guidance, your teacher assists you in releasing that compression and collapse, to guide you into a more efficient organization of your musculature, so that you recover your full expanded self from your head to your feet. This release of tension, and new found space between your joints, often counters the sensations of feeling heavy and pulled down, leaving students feeling lighter, more buoyant, and more up!

And let’s not forget about the mind. Whether you’re thinking negative, heavy, dark thoughts, or trying as hard as you can to solve a problem with a furrowed brow, our thoughts have a major impact on how we feel. As an Alexander Technique student, you will be encouraged to quiet the hamster wheel of mental chatter, filled with regrets about the past, schemes for the future, and tons of “I should do this” or “I should do that.” Instead you will adopt an explorer’s attitude, boldly investigating new territory in how you organize yourself and move about your daily activities. Everything you encounter is simply new information for your journey. In Alexander Technique we work to become true non-judgmental observers of ourselves, without fear of doing something wrong, and without the pressure to make sure we get all the answers right. Your lessons become a time of play and discovery. And the more you practice this way of thinking, the more skilled you will become at it, and the more you will be able to explore, play, and discover in the rest of your life.

The best part is that your body and mind inform each other. One cannot change without affecting the other. So as you release unnecessary tension, and decompress through your joints, it will make it easier for you to lighten up in your mind. And as you learn to take on an explorer’s attitude, you begin to see everything with fresh eyes, accepting things as they really are. This is where true change begins, and your body will inevitably lighten up in response. So though the weight of the world isn’t literally on your shoulders, it may feel that way. But now you know you can do something about it. Schedule your lessons today, and Lighten Up – It’s The Alexander Technique way.