Working on a horse’s saddle

Alexander Technique working on horse's saddle image

Alexander Technique working on horse's saddle image

Why use a saddle?

Once someone has had a few lessons, we may look at saddle work on a specially made wooden trestle.

The body can often balance more easily on the saddle so it is useful to explore tightness in the legs and hip joints. And if someone hitches up their back and shoulders to be upright, they can discover this is not necessary.

You don’t need to be a horse rider to benefit from saddle work. Office workers often love it as it can be more comfortable than sitting on a chair. And horse riders have often achieved remarkable improvements in their riding.

Origins of saddle work

This way of working originated in 1955 from a four year old girl with spina bifida. She didn’t have the use of her legs so couldn’t stand and sitting was difficult.

My old teacher, Walter Carrington, started working with her on a toy donkey. It was fun for a little girl and easier for him to work with her to build up her strength and balance. As she grew bigger, he eventually moved on to the horse’s saddle and wooden horse. Her upper body became quite strong and she was able to walk using callipers and crutches and the way was freer to lead an independent life.

Text Neck from Poor Posture

Drawing showing strain on neck if leaning forward in neck

AT drawings - strain on neck

Holding your head down to look at a mobile when texting can put a real strain on the body. A recent study states that texting can harm your health.  Poor posture is one of the main causes.

Text Pain, Neck Pain

Our heads are quite heavy, around 4-5kg. This is the weight of 4-5 litres of water:

AT drawings - weight of head in water

Better Posture

This is fine when the head is in balance. But tip the head forward and start multiplying those bottles of water.

Thus good posture and head balance is important. This is what the Alexander Technique is all about. Imagine a point between your ears. This is where the head neck joint is.

Drawing of Natural Head Balance restored by the Alexander Technique

Forehead Forward

Next, consider that the forehead faces forward and doesn’t tilt upward. We don’t need to fix it the head into place but need to think for it to be in balance.

Drawing of Head Neck Balance for correct posture

Phone to eyes, not head to phone

Now let’s bring the phone into the picture. Instead of tilting the head down, we can bring the phone upwards towards the eyes. This leaves the head neck balance alone and takes the strain off the neck, back and shoulders.

Alexander Technique Lessons

Any Alexander Technique practitioner can help you learn the skill of ‘mind talking to muscle’. We help you to understand what natural body use is and how to achieve it for yourself. We have a very gentle touch which guides the body how to let go more, even when it may have spent years, or even decades, holding on for dear life.

Call now to book an appointment and start taking care of your spine.

Head Balance – Part 1

Drawing of Natural Head Balance restored by the Alexander Technique

Drawing of Natural Head Balance restored by the Alexander TechniqueTo find where the head balances on the neck, place a finger in the soft dent behind each ear lobe. Imagine a line going between these 2 points. The middle of this line is approximately where the head balances on the neck.

It’s often higher than people imagine it to be.

The head neck joint (or atlanto occipital joint) is a crucial balance point for the whole body.

In Head Balance Part 2 you will see how this balance point needs to be free and not fixed in place.

Why not book an introductory lesson so that  you can learn how to free your neck and let your head balance?