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.
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.
People often think the Alexander Technique is about imagining a string or golden thread coming up from the top of the head. It is certainly useful to think upwards. Much of our attention is downward: reading, typing, texting, cooking, childcare. This can make us slump and this can cause back pain or neck pain.
String on top of the head – Neck Tension?
A thread coming up from the top of the head can sometimes make people over stretch their neck. They may also tip the head backwards. And this can bring tension into the body.
String on top of the head – Back Pain?
Backache, whether it’s lower back pain or upper back pain, can happen when we’re trying to do the right thing. But knowing what the right thing is can be tricky. And so the Alexander Technique is useful as it dispels some myths. If you are overstretching imagining the string, then you might still have back tension or lower back pain.
Good posture is free and not rigid or held
We want connection to the floor as well as thinking up to the top of the head. Try some of these ideas listed below as well as imagining the string and then see what works for you. There’s only so much we can do for ourselves. We rely on feelings that may be faulty and have habits we’re unaware of. An Alexander Technique teacher has an objective eye to see what your habits are – where you overstretch or where you slump. They can then guide you, through explaining and hands on work, so you can have better posture and feel more comfortable.
Think up from your feet all the way to the top of your crown.
Think of the space above your head.
Imagine your hair sprouting from the top of your head.
Imagine bubbles constantly travelling up through your body to the top of your head.
Find an Alexander Technique teacher
You’re welcome to contact me for a free 15 minute consultation on the phone or zoom before trying out a lesson with me. If you don’t live in London, then my professional body can guide you to someone in your area.
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.