The Observer

December 2002

THE POSTURE GURU

Every There is something both unlikely and completely sensible about the claims that Noel Kingsley makes about the Alexander Technique. `It can take lo years off you,’ he says. `Help you feel lighter, looser, freer. Make you 2in taller, 2in broader across the shoulders, make you seem slimmer, pop your pot belly back in, help your breathing and free up your circulation, make your voice clearer and stronger. It can take the hump out of your back, stop your head and neck aching, improve your balance, help you feel calmer, stop you seeming and feeling timid, help you realise your full potential.’

The Alexander Technique is essentially about correcting the bad posture habits we’ve accumulated throughout our lives. It’s about regaining our `natural poise’. Then, the theory goes, our internal organs will function better because they have the space to; our spine and joints will no longer tense, so we’ll be taller; our skin will glow and our eyes will brighten because our circulation is better.

Kingsley maintains that everyone had fantastic posture at some point, specifically between the ages of two and five, and that it’s his job to teach your body how to rediscover it. The Alexander Technique is not age-busting by design, but in effect.

Kingsley works by guiding patients’ heads, necks and shoulders into better positions. `I’m not doing it for them,’ he insists. `I’m creating a stimulus in my hands which helps their own body to sort itself out. Everyone’s tightening, compressing, although the body’s not designed to be that way. Release the tension that’s pulling you down, and you’ll go up. All I’m doing is facilitating that change.’

It takes little more than a few minutes with Kingsley to understand what he’s capable of. He’ll guide your head so it hangs more naturally on the top of your spine. He’ll ease your shoulders down and out. He’ll talk all the while, a gentle, semi-hypnotic spiel which, he says, makes your mind and body more receptive. He exerts no pressure, and yet somehow your body reacts. After a 45-minute session, you do leave Kingsley’s office feeling lighter, taller, looser.

It’s not about magic, he maintains. It all makes sense if you think about it. And he wishes that more people would. `We can age ourselves with our habits,’ he adds. `We’re getting older before we should. But we all think it’s normal, because everyone one looks the same.

Noel Kingsley

19 Cavendish Square, London W1 – 020-7491 3505