I recently had a chat with someone about the Alexander Technique, not about what it is, but what it is NOT. This person thought that the Technique had to do ONLY with “good posture and standing up straight.” This idea of “good posture,” or standing up straight, implies something fixed, rigid, and set, definitely NOT what we are after with the Alexander Technique. It also assumes a split in the person between some true self (inside) and a physical posture (outside). It’s important to realize that posture is attitude, and, because the human being is whole, posture is a reflection of the entire state of being.
We are sending out information all the time about how we feel about ourselves, and what we perceive in our outer world. We project the shyness that we want to cover up, those tensions and nerves we are trying to calm, that boredom we are trying not to show, our fears and our belief that we are not good enough, or just not enough.
When we see a very young child about to take his first steps, we see a human being totally free of all this clutter. At this age we have not learned the fear, self-doubt and perfectionism that will get locked into our bodies (our entire selves, really), leading to the distortions and patterns of mal-coordination that we will spend a lifetime fighting against. This is a state of conflict of the self and it is not a simple matter of an odd walk, or twisted hunched shoulders or a stooped back or whatever. This is an attitude, and is a summation of who we believe ourselves to be and where we see our weaknesses.
We are all striving to succeed, making great efforts to do well, be liked, find love, and “get ahead.” In fact, the way we pressure ourselves actually makes it harder to attain these goals and we often burn ourselves out “trying to be right.”
If that weren’t enough, we look very unattractive, all pulled around and deformed, slumped, lopsided and totally awkward. Walking around looking like an unmade bed is not helpful when it comes to our romantic life, is it? Alexander Lessons help us see ourselves objectively so that we can totally stop sending messages that don’t help us in life.