Falling back into old habits

A pupil yesterday commented after his month’s trip away travelling in Europe that his posture had ‘slipped back’ and he’d lost some of what we’d achieved in his earlier Alexander Technique lessons. He’d had a short course of lessons during the few months period before his trip but he had clearly got a little rounded and stiff in his back and neck during the time he’d been away.

I reminded her that doing a little semi-supine (lying on the floor) is a great aid to maintaining his poise.  It helps to release unnecessary tension, to allow our shoulders to open up and widen, and our back may become flatter on the floor…..all without making any physical effort.  Indeed it’s a good thing for all of us to do regularly.

However, by the end of yesterday’s lesson he felt quite radically altered; more upright, freer, better balanced, lighter and calmer. His shoulders had released, he had lengthened up to his full height and stature, and he felt much more comfortable in himself. There are some good reasons for such a quick response.   The lessons he’d had before his trip were sufficient for him to have integrated the new use of herself into his system to quite a degree; his old posture habits had been fading and the new poise and manner of movement was becoming established. So while the recent lengthy gap had caused him to get stiff and round shoulders again and his old habits to return somewhat, he was familiar enough with the process and better co-ordination, for it all to come rushing back with the correct hands-on guidance.  It was only a temporary lull and nothing to worry about.

The other thing is, that we all have a natural instinct for good poise that we have from birth. We have wonderful poise as young children without even being aware of it, and this instinct is with us until we die. We tap into this instinct with Alexander Technique; our body ‘knows’ what to do.  We just need to stop doing the wrong things and the right thing will take care of itself.  The instinct is there and it’s surprising how quickly we can regain healthier and more comfortable upright poise.