You are lighter than you think: getting up from a chair

You are lighter than you think: getting up from a chair...One of the side benefits of being an Alexander Teacher is my constant search for novel ways to help my students relate to the skills we are teaching. It is no surprise to me that after almost 30 years of teaching, I can still find a new, simpler and more accessible way to describe a common,  habit that gives my students access to an easier, less stressful way to perform a task.

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Rate of Change

Rate of Change (originally published 8/8/05)

When people begin studying something new (especially if it's helping them feel better), it's natural for them to want to learn all they can, right away and be a model pupil.  Often, my clients get a great deal of relief when they first start to study, and because they have been in discomfort, they want to do all they can to hold onto the new state they are in.

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The Alexander Technique: It’s Not Just About Standing Up Straight

*This was originally posted on ACAT's Blog

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When people hear that I teach Alexander Technique, they often comment “Oh, that’s about standing up straight”, or say something apologetic or sarcastic. Then they inevitably pull themselves up into their version of “Good Posture”.

The good news is that gravity is not what’s getting you down. It’s actually your own muscles, over contracting, working inefficiently and pulling you down. When you learn to allow lengthening to occur throughout your musculature, weight falls more efficiently through bones and joints, leaving you more balanced on your skeleton.

Hours spent sitting at a computer, studying, driving a car and other such sedentary activities contribute to being habitually shortened through the muscles on the front of the body. Because we are so used to this shortening, it doesn’t register in your feeling sense as active muscle work. In fact, it probably feels effortless and maybe even comfortable. Fortunately, when you learn to release this excess effort, the natural outcome is more evenly distributed muscle tone, lengthening and more upright alignment through your spine. You can get better results with less effort when it comes to posture.

I have a couple who’ve studied with me since Fall of 2000. He reported gaining a full inch in height at his last check up; and she went from a 1/4″ to a 1/8″ correction in her orthotics for a leg length discrepancy.

Studying the Alexander Technique can help you look taller and feel lighter and easier in upright posture.

I leave you with this quote:

“I am putting into gear the muscles that hold you up, and you are putting them out of gear and then making a tremendous effort to hold yourself up, with the result that, when you ease that effort, you slump down worse than ever.” F. M. Alexander

The Habit of Dissatisfaction*

As a child, growing up in the United States, and particularly as a student in American academia, I developed the tendency to respond to my circumstances with dissatisfaction. I was inclined to focus on what needed to be changed or fixed, how to garner or continue to get approval, and to seek distraction from my habitual internal dialogue and attitude towards my life circumstances. This attitude was reinforced by the people around me, by the media, and in particular, by advertisers.

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