Have you ever had the experience of some-one very gently laying their hands on, say your shoulder, and you reacting to that oh so gentle touch with a significant change in your posture?
Elaine Bernard* gave me a short lesson to demonstrate the principles of the Alexander Technique. It was indeed brief – members of The Society of Teachers of The Alexander Technique (STAT) embark on a three year full-time training course and must reach a standard approved by the Society.
As a pupil, you learn to appreciate the practical implications of thought and its effect on muscle activity. A teacher’s hands, together with words of instruction, encourage a specific quality of muscle tone. This helps to release inappropriate tension and allows the body to become better aligned and balanced. Most of us are aware that our posture is not as good as it should be, but do we realise the extent of the problems these bad habits may be responsible for? Back problems are an immediate thought, but we have muscles throughout our body e.g. muscles that help us breathe; even muscles that may affect a women’s ability to conceive.
Elaine* says a few lessons can make a difference for most people, but for continuing self-improvement and for very specific problems a minimum of 20 lessons is recommended.
Reviewed by Jill Poet, Healthy Life – Mind, Body & Soul Magazine issue 1.Autumn 2005
Sadly, Elaine Bernard is now deceased.