Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Alexander Technique, Part one.

I play a fair amount of basketball in my free-time. At a slim but strong 6''2, I would have the perfect body for the game. Well, if you didn't have 6"10 post players who could dunk with no more than a 12" inch vertical. 

I have a friend, however, who's physiology isn't quite as cut out for the game, or really any other sport for that matter.  But he plays because he enjoys the company.

At my estimate, he's around  5"9, 185 pounds.  Although he would be considered fat fifty years ago, he'd probably squeeze  into the "just not skinny" category in our supersize-me-society today.  But his movements seems like the epitome of inefficiency;  it's as if he stuck a 45 pound weight on his back and was trying to run with it. 

With that in mind, I wasn't surprised in the least when he started complaining about his shoulders and back.  When I saw him in action, he was just an injury waiting to happen, as the mere effort of running up and down the court proved dangerous for him.

Since I am a decent human being ready to help others with my newfound wisdom, I told him about the Alexander Technique.  I then asked him to stand up straight. At first I told him to reorient himself because I couldn't believe what I saw.  But my eyes were neither tricking me nor his posture unnatural.  Its was true, his left shoulder was at least TWO INCHES above his right one.  Now then, nobody has perfect posture; we all have something here or there we could correct.  But I've never seen someone's posture this bad

Yes, I thought to myself, the Alexander method is exactly what you need.  He would have none of it though.  Despite his chronic injuries and cases of discomfort, he brushed the subject off the second time I mentioned it to him.
I am constitutionally incapable of understanding this mindset.  When I have problems of any sort, I take whatever advice I can get. Heck, I actively seek advise. I search the internet for info, buy books about it, ask my friends for help, whatever.  Yet this guy has had chronic injury problems for years now and doesn't care when I offer him a solution [UPDATE: It turns out that he was more curious than I thought.  I saw him again today and he actually brought up the subject. There is hope.]

In all fairness, I didn't really explain AT all that well. I doubt he could've understood it if I said, "it's about using the processes inhibition and direction to maximize the locomotive system's efficiency," so I struggled a bit in explaining it.  On other hand, I know I could have made it more understandable and thus more marketable.So, what I couldn't do in real life I'll attempt to do online.  Hopefully it will meet more curious minds.

This is the first post in a series explaining what the Alexander Technique is, the neurobiological foundation for it, and how it can help you. 


  1. Explaining the Alexander Technique to the general project is a very worthwhile project - I'll follow it with great interest.
    One suggestion: On my Alexander Technique Podcast at , near the start of almost all the interviews, I ask the person I'm talking to to give their very short definition/description of the Technique.
    The results are wonderfully varied and might be worth checking out.

  2. Interesting. I listened to your podcast on ADHD and saw your I'm looking forward to utilizing the wealth of resources you have provided.

    One of the my primary motives in starting this series was to expand and cement my own understanding of AT. If it helps readers along the way, so much the better.

    But I am just an amateur dabbling in the field, so I would appreciate your input.