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Helping Yourself


I hope you and your friends and family are all well. Knowing my clients, I am sure you are all finding your own creative ways through this unusual time.

If the UK’s release from lockdown is to look anything like the Irish model then “personal services” will be one of the last categories of business to return to work. I am missing hands on work dreadfully and cannot wait to get back to it. However, it doesn’t look like that is going to happen any time soon so here are some things you can do to help yourselves. I will cover each of these subjects in a little more depth in the weeks to come.

Do a daily semi-supine lie down. Also called constructive rest, you all know this. The key is to make it a habit – we would never not brush our teeth for days on end, so why do we neglect our backs? Most AT books have a section on lying in semi-supine. Also, I sent out Glen Park’s audio recordings to act as a background to your practice. If you didn’t receive these and are interested please let me know.

Think about your use in everyday activities. This is where it’s really at. Alexander talked about means-whereby versus end-gaining – in other words, we don’t have to sacrifice good use to get to the end of a task. So pause in the middle of any activity and, in a non-critical way, examine your use. Have you pulled your head back, tightened your neck, narrowed your back, shortened the muscles of the spine, tensed your legs? Give your directions and carry on. You don’t have to set aside a portion of your day to do this, it becomes part of your day. Do it as often as you can.

Read. There is a plethora of Alexander Technique literature out there. I always recommend “Body Learning” by Michael Gelb for those new to the Technique but if you want to go beyond that there are loads of great books. At the moment I am re-reading Frank Pierce Jones’ “Freedom to Change”, initially published as “Body Awareness in Action”, I think it’s a good book for anyone with a little Alexander knowledge.

Decide to do an activity from start to finish with good use. E.g. go for a walk, do the washing up, eat a meal. A bit like mindfulness but extending the thought process to the use of the muscle-skeletal system. Stop before you start, say no, give your directions and keep giving them all the way through.

If you have any questions, thoughts, observations then please do get back to me.

Good luck!

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