A HEALTHY BALANCE
Can better poise make you healthier, sexier, cleverer, more confident and more successful? Noel Kingsley says it can. He reckons that the tense, hunched-over posture most of us adopt is a recipe for a myriad of common health problems such as backache, headaches, digestive troubles, anxiety and lack of confidence.
If you walk tall and let go of the tension in your neck, scalp, shoulders, arms and anywhere else you’re carrying it, you’ll feel healthier, calmer and more in control.
The good news, says Noel, who teaches the Alexander Technique, is that we all instinctively have good posture but spoil it with bad habits picked up as we get older. The trick is to lose them and allow our bodies to do what comes naturally.
Noel is an advertisement for his claims. He is 52 but looks 10 years younger and believes his physical and mental poise helped him succeed in business. He became head of marketing at Burton menswear before retraining as an Alexander teacher.
His clients’ most common problem is that they are “off balance”, habitually twisting their bodies or leaning forward without realising it, and giving themselves stiff necks.
The solution is to realise what you’re doing and then lose the habit, so that your body weight is balanced over your heels. Your neck should be free and your breathing regular – don’t hold your breath, says Noel.
“We are in the best place to help ourselves, better than any doctor or surgeon, because the brain is in control of the nervous system,” he says. “I want to help people make the most of themselves.”
The Alexander Technique has been taught for 100 years and shows people how to use their bodies better and to
avoid or overcome injuries and chronic conditions such as back trouble. Fans include Judi Dench, John Cleese, Linford Christie and Sebastian Coe.
Noel has built a thriving business helping clients return to the good posture they had as children. With his hands, he makes them aware of any muscles holding unnecessary tension and guides them toward good poise.
His new book, Perfect Poise, Perfect Life, is based heavily on Alexander wisdom. It explains how anyone, however old, can improve their posture and how it can help with everything from your sex life and your voice to your career and pregnancy. Noel says: “A good voice can denote high calibre, a solid business demeanour, confidence and reassurance. These qualities can only be achieved if you have good natural poise and avoid tensing your throat, stiffening generally and shortening your stature.
“As with everything in this book, use as little effort as you can when speaking and allow your neck to be free and your lips and tongue to be relaxed. It will all work beautifully without you making a huge effort.”
Individual lessons with a qualified Alexander teacher, who will have done three years’ training, typically last for 45 minutes and cost anything between £20 and £65.