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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Alexander Technique Tips

It is workstation assessment time at work. Apparently I have bad posture and mouse habits - which I guess is true. Although, in my defence I don't sit in the one bad position all day...I have 10-12 bad sitting positions that I switch between. I also don't do any exercise, which is apparently also bad.

All this assessment made me feel very guilty. So instead of going for a run, I decided to google the Alexander Technique. Amongst other things I came across some very cool tips here. They are not all exercisey/posture things. Here are a few of my favourites:
1. Stop living in front of yourself. Almost everything we do is in front of us. Become aware of the large mass behind yourself which is your back.

18. Think a smile. Don’t do it, just think it and notice what happens.

19. See if you can think your body smiling too.

43. Envisage your life-style as being in a groove, not a rut.

45. Experiment with the idea of doing things differently. If you generally sit with your right leg crossed over your left, cross your left over your right. If you generally cross your arms one way do it the other and notice how different it feels.

46. Practice overriding automatic responses. When the phone rings, say ‘no’ to rushing to answer it.

48. Think of breathing in and out through the top of your head. See if that changes the way you usually hold your head.

50. Start treating yourself as a human being not a human ‘doing’.

Number 43 has reminded me (surprise, surprise) of lyrics to a Rush song.

Face Up
Lyrics by Neil Peart
Music by Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee
From the album Roll The Bones

You turn my head
I spin my wheels
Running on empty
You know how that feels

I'm on a roll now
Or is it a slide?
Can't be too careful
With that dangerous pride
If I could only reach that dial inside
And turn it up

FACE UP -- Face up or you can only back down
FACE UP -- Hit the target, or you better hit the ground
FACE UP -- There's still time to turn the game around
FACE UP -- Turn it up
Or turn that wild card down
FACE UP -- Turn it up

Don't complain
Don't explain
I don't think my new resolve
Can stand the strain

I'm in a groove now
Or is it a rut?
I need some feedback
But all the lines are cut
I get so angry, but I keep my mouth shut
And turn it up

You get all squeezed up inside
Like the days were carved in stone
You get all wired up inside
And it's bad to be alone

You can go out, you can take a ride
And when you get out on your own
You get all smoothed out inside
And it's good to be alone
Turn it up
I suspect the points offered above are not so much about the Technique itself, but about preparing your mind to understand the Technique.

I am not an Alexander Technique expert (but I know one), and from my few lessons I took away the thought that posture is more about the body moving in a direction (or "directing") than holding what your mind believes to be a good posture.

Your mind has been fooled by long term postural habits. What it believes is centred and upright is measured against a pattern that may itself be incorrect.

Body affects mind, and mind affects body. Learning about the Alexander Technique is a valuable life lesson (IMHO).
I wish I like Rush music as much as Rush lyrics...although I guess Caress of Steel is not hte best Rush album to start with.
I guess it is not just postural haboits that minds are fooled by. I suppose thinking habits are similar.
Spot on.
Caress of Steel is not the best Rush album to start with

No way. It's generally regarded as one of their weaker efforts. Their classic album, the one that hit biggest and is generally considered their best, is Moving Pictures.
Has anyone heard/of Neurotic Tendencies? (yeah yeah google, but I'm curious about others opinions).
Is that a band? The closest I can find is an album by someone named Rick Ray.

Unless of course you mean the mental disorder, in which case, I'm all in favor of such tendencies...
It is a band. Someone told me their name last night, so I probably misheard.
I just want to add something to point no 1: You have to be careful to not think of your back as 2 dimensional. For me it's far more helpful to think of my entire trunk, which stops me from pushing into my back. Not everyone will do what I do though.
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