As the temperature falls, there can be a tendency to hunch up and hold ourselves tight, the Alexander Technique provides an opportunity to be present and to notice your physical responses. Here are three areas to consider:
- Neck. Are you ducking your head down in the cold/rain/wind? How does your neck feel when you do this?
- Shoulders and Arms. What are your shoulders up to? Have they crept up to your ears in an attempt to keep warm? Does this actually warm you? Are your arms and hands tight if you cross your arms around yourself in the cold?
- Back. Are you curving your back forward and down? Is your back held tightly? Are your ribs moving freely with your breath?
Perhaps you could observe these three areas daily for the next 7 days. It doesn’t matter if you are indoors or outdoors, still or moving. Any increased body awareness is a bonus.
Let me know how you get on.
Working from home
An ironing board can become a sit stand desk. It’s adjustable to suit different height chairs. It can be raised up if you want to stand. And if you’re demonstrating something, you can alter the height accordingly. There’s more versatility to an ironing board than meets the eye!
A larger sit stand desk would be more appropriate if you need more space on your desk, whether for work or study or for a hobby. But for simple day to day usage, an ironing board is a simple and effective solution and doesn’t take up too much space.
Posture – shoulders raised too high
When typing, we want to have relaxed shoulders. If our chair is too low, our shoulders will raise up to our ears. The two options are to raise the chair height or to lower the table height. At home, most people don’t have adjustable height chairs. They may be sitting on a dining chair or a chair in the bedroom. So this is where an adjustable height table comes in. Lower the ironing board (or sit stand desk) and that will be more comfortable.
If you don’t have an ironing board or a table that you can alter, try putting some books or cushions on the chair. That might help with your shoulders. But then are your feet dangling? If so, put some books or cushions to rest your feet onto.
Posture – table too low
If you can’t adjust your chair and your table is too low, you might be hunched over to the desk, rounding your back and neck. This is where it’s useful to raise the height of the table. If you don’t have an ironing board, you can put your laptop or keyboard on some books so that when you’re typing, your forearms are parallel to the keyboard.
Talk with me
In my online sessions, I can have a look at your furniture set up and advise on any adjustments needed. I have a very practical approach and try to use equipment you already have in your house – cushions or pillows, books, recipe stands etc – rather than advocating buying something expensive. If you do want to buy some furniture, I can recommend what to look out for. As well as my many years of Alexander experience, I’m a trained DSE ergonomics assessor and know what to look out for.
Sitting on the sofa can be a recipe for slouching. The seat looks inviting but slouching can put a lot of pressure on the lower back and neck.
Top Tip for Better Posture – Cushions
Most sofas have quite a deep seat. This is great for lying down but not ideal for sitting, especially if you don’t have long legs.
Top tip: put a cushion – or two or three – against your UPPER back. This helps keep the pelvis and the spine more upright. In turn, the head will also be better balanced over the spine, reducing pressure on the lower back.
Sofas are often quite low. For a taller person, their knees can end up being higher than their hips when sitting. This tips the pelvis backwards and puts pressure on the lower back. An older person can struggle to get up from a low sofa.
Options are to sit on a cushion to raise the height or to have a something the same height as the sofa seat in front of the legs. Here you can have your legs lengthened out, perhaps with a cushion under your knees to keep the knees slightly bent.
Getting up from a low chair
This can be quite tricky, especially for some older people, taller people or anyone with dodgy knees.
Top tip: bring yourself to the front of the sofa before getting up. Here, you’ll get a bit of purchase against the frame of the sofa to give you something to push up from, rather than a saggy cushion.
The biggest difference to looking after yourself is to think about your body. It’s much more than about furniture and cushions. I can help you move easily getting onto the sofa and getting up again. I can help you sit comfortably without putting pressure on your back, no matter what your age nor what state your back is in.
Are you Ready to Make a Change?
07932 663 604
Lumbago, or lower back pain, is very common. It can be felt anywhere along the spine – from the neck down to the hips. The back pain can sometimes be chronic, lasting a long time, or it may keep coming back. The Alexander Technique helps us see if we are causing or exacerbating the backache. Is the back soreness from poor posture? Does it start from how we sit or stand? Does bending or lifting things make it worse? Do exercises help or hinder the progress?
Lying down – Back support
In Alexander Technique lessons, we look at all of this. We identify what good, natural posture should be and what helps set up a strong back. Lying down on the floor with books under the head, keeping the knees bent, is one of the best things for back health. This supports the back and gives a chance for tight muscles to relax.
The mind body link is so important. ArtOfPosture lessons will teach you how to relax as this can be easier said than done. You will find out how to connect more with your body and what thoughts help the muscles release tension.
Sitting, Standing, Bending
We can sit, stand and bend in ways that affect lower back pain: slumping, leaning on one leg, bending with straight legs, over arching the lower back. The hands on work from ArtofPosture will gently guide you to a more comfortable way of using your body. It helps you to help yourself and to get to the cause of the lumbago, not just the symptoms.
No time like the present
Why wait until your back is really bad? Try out an Alexander Technique lesson and invest in your back health sooner rather than later. Come for one session and see if it works for you. Then you can think about booking up a course of lessons. The Alexander Technique session is a proven way for sufferers of chronic back pain.
When a joint can move beyond the normal range of movement, this is known as a hypermobile joint. It may be present in just a few joints, such as the knees or the back, or it may be widespread.In many people joint hypermobility doesn’t cause any problems. But a small percentage of the population can have joint and ligament injuries, pain or discomfort.
Joint Hypermobility Syndrome (HMS) is a specific condition. Other symptoms of HMS may be less obvious than the hypermobile joints. These can include: gastrointestinal problems, such as IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and bladder problems. People may also bruise easily and suffer from fatigue and depression.
Some people are very hypermobile and feel very insecure in their body. They can find it difficult to stand or sit with ease. Others may be quite stiff, partly due to holding tension around unstable joints.
The Hypermobility Syndromes Association recommends the Alexander Technique to help manage symptoms.
Just because you can doesn’t mean you should
Hypermobility can be helpful for some. Athletes, gymnasts, dancers and musicians might specifically be selected because of their extra range of movement. However, just because it is possible to move a joint fully, it may not always be safe to do so.
An Alexander Technique teacher can show people how to care for their bodies in a safe way and how to limit ranges of movement, where necessary. It’s a very gentle approach.
As awareness of HMS is increasing, more young people are being diagnosed. This is also raising awareness amongst adults, particularly where there is a genetic component.
Find out more on hypermobility
The following links provide further reading: