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|The Alexander Technique
By changing your posture you can look, move, and even breathe better, according to proponents of this century-old technique popular with entertainers.
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The Alexander TechniqueBack pain, neck tension, headaches, postural problems and repetitive strain injuries are all too common complaints of today's adults. In fact, these ailments are almost considered a natural, unavoidable part of modern life and the aging process, something we all have to put up with. Not so, say proponents of the Alexander Technique. The Alexander Technique teaches you how to release unnecessary tension, to monitor how you move and to coordinate your daily activity more efficiently so you can accomplish more by doing less.
Children move with poise, grace and a lightness that is often lost as we grow up. Sedentary lifestyles, ergonomically challenged jobs and daily stress all contribute to negative patterns of movement that become habitually ingrained in our neuromuscular systems. The Alexander Technique makes students aware of their bodies excessive slouching, tightening, compression and inefficient exertions so they can learn to self-manage their movement in a more effective, holistic manner. It's not so much learning a technique as unlearning poor habits to return to that childlike lightness our bodies were designed for.
Alexander sessions are best performed in a one-on-one setting with a certified instructor. They take place in a simple mirrored room with a table, and last anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes. The instructor spends some time simply observing how the student sits, stands, walks, reaches and performs other daily movements. After identifying issues, they work with the student to make them aware of their inefficiencies. Using visualizations, anatomical discussions, breath control and guided activity, they begin the retrain their bodies towards optimum posture, greater range of motion and improved coordination. Some time is spent on table work, where the instructor gently stretches muscles, releases tensions and helps the student move in a streamlined, more integrated manner. These physical improvements enhance one's mental and emotional states as well.
The key concepts in the Alexander Technique are:
Developed by Australian actor Frederick Matthias Alexander (1869-1955), the Alexander Technique has been practiced for over 100 years. There are currently over 2500 certified instructors worldwide with around 700 in the United States.
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