Many people with poor posture will have been told, ‘sit up straight’, or ‘stop slouching’. Anyone who’s ever tried to put this into practice, will know that it’s pretty impossible to keep it up. The moment you stop thinking about it, back you go into a slump. Even worse, when you’re trying to ‘be good’ by sitting or standing up straight, it can feel quite stiff and tiring for the back.
It’s easy to think, well is my fault. It’s not! It’s come about by habit. If you look at young children when they’re moving around, they’re a joy to watch. They move with perfect balance, poise and ease and we didn’t teach them how to do that, they simply use their little bodies as nature intended. But remember, we were all little once, so we used to move like that too.
Unfortunately as we mature, we start to develop habits that squash out that wonderful balance and poise we had as children.
Try this: fold your arms. Now try folding them the other way around. What did you notice? Did you have to think about it when you folded them the other way? When you were in the new arm folding position, did it feel awkward, weird or wrong? This is a habit in operation.
Now it doesn’t matter which way you fold your arms, but if you think how this might be if that same way of learning, by habit, is applied to how you sit, stand, bend or move, can you see where the old adage, ‘a slave to our habits’ comes from?
It would be absolutely brilliant if we could change our habits in the way we live everyday life, by simply knowing what we’re doing is ‘wrong’ and start to do it the ‘right’ way. Our highly sophisticated brains don’t work like that. We need to change the faulty software or restore the factory settings. This is where the Alexander Technique comes in. A teacher can help you identify the habits which are interfering with your posture (or balance and poise as I prefer) and teach you how to go about changing those habits.
Once you’ve learned the Alexander Technique, it’s easy to start to see that aesthetically how your stature has changed, but even better than that, the postural muscles wake up and have more tone in them which helps support the whole body. You’ve never be told again to stop slouching. What’s not to like?