Upright Posture With the Alexander Technique
The average American sits for 8 hours each day. It’s pretty widely known that so much sitting is unhealthy, but few people recognize that how we sit is just as important as how much we sit. In other words, the quality of our sitting – our posture – is as worthy of attention as the quantity of our sitting. The Alexander Technique can help us to improve our posture, supporting our well being and also improving our appearance.
Whether we’re working, eating a meal, catching up with friends, or driving to the grocery store, we’re sitting much of the day. And for most people, sitting automatically means slumping. Although it might feel “normal” for us to slump, poor posture has the potential to cause serious problems over the long haul. These problems include spinal compression, diminished mobility and impaired breathing. All of these negative outcomes, in turn, have the potential to trigger pain and dysfunction. In addition to these significant concerns, many people consider slumping to be physically unattractive.
Bad Posture: It’s Not Just About Sitting
So the way we sit is a real problem, and our habit of hunching over our computers is just the tip of our postural iceberg. We carry our slumping into all sorts of everyday activities, including standing, walking, and even lying down. It’s a posture of compression, fixity, narrowing and collapse. Many people would prefer not to have this unhealthy habit, but they’re at a loss about how to stop slumping. Some people even strain upward to avoid slumping, which only magnifies their postural difficulties. This is where the Alexander Technique comes into the picture.
Alexander Technique Lessons Can Improve Our Posture
With the Alexander Technique, we can learn to sit upright, stand tall and move about freely and efficiently — all without undue strain or discomfort. The AT educational process relies on three simple principles that can guide us toward improved posture and enhanced functional capacity:
- First, we learn to recognize the habits that contribute to our pattern of slumping. We also start to understand why those habits are so damaging to us;
- Second, we stop automatically engaging in our damaging habits. We can gradually reduce both the frequency, and the severity, of the habit pattern that is undermining our posture; and
- Third, we learn new ways of performing our basic activities. We can learn to consciously direct the way we sit, stand and walk so that we cultivate conditions in ourselves that promote better alignment, integration and balance.