There are people in the world whose main job is to help us sit up correctly, stand in harmony with our bodies, run, walk, play instruments and all forms of movement exactly how nature intended. These amazing people are Alexander Technique teachers. For many teachers this is their overwhelming passion – helping people to reduce injuries, prevent wear and tear on their bodies, and to be able to go further, sit longer, have less pain and enjoy themselves more. Even the NHS recognise their skills, with Alexander Technique now recommended in cases of back pain. There is no real substitute for having Alexander Technique lessons as your body and your life are unique and this is what the teacher needs to observe.
Barbara Harrington, an Alexander Technique teacher in Glasgow shares the top 5 misunderstandings about posture.
1.”Stand up straight!” This is a myth, as standing up well, needs flexibility and balance, not to be a straight and rigid position.
2. “Put your shoulders back and chest out”. This may work for soldiers on parade to look professional, however it actually creates injuries and weaknesses in their bodies. This is not the way a 2 or 3 year old child moves, as they are still learn the bad habits that come with these myths about posture.
3. “Your head has a correct position for good posture”. This is a definite myth. Rather than a position for the head, you need to have a free balance of the head on the top of the spine for each different activity you do; whether running, playing a musical instrument or loading a washing machine.
4. “Your body needs to be symmetrical”. Another myth, as people generally have a preferred side, and there is always a difference in tension in the muscular movement between the left side and the right side. Both sides need to be addressed appropriately to work together in a balanced way.
5. “The best way to good posture is through exercise”. Yet another myth, the best way is to be aware of your habits throughout the day in everything you do.
A series of lessons with an Alexander Technique teacher will allow you to increase your awareness of what habits you have which are destructive and how you can avoid those habits. By avoiding those habits you can achieve healthier, happier posture and more importantly a healthier, happier life.
Barbara Harrington has been a Alexander Technique teacher since 1981 and teaches Alexander Technique in Woodland Herbs Clinic in Glasgow.