More often than not, the Alexander Technique is equated with posture training. In the “Alexander world” of teachers we don’t think about it like this. So I looked up the definition of posture to look at this issue we have a bit more closely.
Posture: A position of a person’s body when standing or sitting: “good posture will protect your spine.”
Synonyms: attitude – pose – position – stance – carriage – state
The truth is the world is right–close to right! The Alexander Technique works with people sitting, standing and the whole thing is about the spine. But rather than thinking about all of these things independently, we are interested in the dynamic movement from one to the other, in other words, the freedom of the spine. How free is your spine while sitting, standing and moving from sitting to standing? Usually when one thinks about posture, they straighten up, they “straighten” their spine. And rarely does anyone look or feel comfortable when “sitting up straight” with good posture. In truth, the spine has 4 curves, so the spine doesn’t want to really be straight and pulled tight. I think of it as a spring. We want the spine to be springy, buoyant, moveable, in any direction. Is this what everyone is thinking about when they think of posture? Or are you thinking about your mother telling you to sit up straight at the dinner table?
A couple of the synonyms to posture bring us a bit closer to what the Alexander Technique is getting at. Attitude, carriage and let’s turn the word pose into poise. Carriage implies movement, while stance implies something static. Even when standing in one “position” there is so much internal movement happening. And that is what the technique is about…the freedom of the internal movement and how that is expressed in every day life, in every day activities and in living. Our attitude, our reactions to every day life and all that is presented to us to deal with affects the quality of a buoyant spine and ability to move as we wish–with more freedom and ease and enjoyment. Posture training isn’t really want an Alexander Technique teacher is thinking about in a lesson. In fact, as I’ve heard some teachers say, we’re thinking about “unpsoturing.” Letting go of holding ourselves up, in and away from things and coming back to a more easy, moveable, free way of living inside ourselves and in the world. If you want to learn how to sit, stand, move, play violin, sing, sit at a computer and any other activity you do every day more comfortably with greater ease, freedom and poise, then try the Alexander Technique, the “unposture” training.