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Well, Lisette Oropesa, a very talented and successful 34 year old operatic soprano singer, whose 2 great passions in life are singing and running, and who is singing at the Royal Opera House this November, said on Radio 4’s Front Row review programme:
“To sing well and to run well you have to have exactly the same things – you have to have great physical alignment. You have to programme your breath and be aware of your entire body all the time. I think the one helps the other and my life has been improved because of the partnership”
Now this is music to my ears
Because being aware of our alignment and learning how to regain balanced alignment is what the Alexander Technique is all about. And it can improve how you move and everything that you do, whether you are a singer, musician, actor, dancer, runner, swimmer, sports-person, desk-person, public speaker, work-person, ……..the list is endless – basically everyone, whatever you do.
But back to performing and running.
Are you a performer? I know there’s loads in Muswell Hill and Crouch End. Are you a musician, dancer, singer, actor or presenter?
There’s always nerves, stress and physical pain and strain that accompanies your work, I’m sure, and you can reduce this, feel better, lighter, more confident and more in balance by learning to move and perform with coordinated, toned muscles rather than tense muscles.
With a toned voice rather than a tense voice.
With toned aligned muscles when running rather than tense ones.
With less tension and pain in your neck, back and shoulders and more tone, alignment, coordination and balance.
It’s very enjoyable and you’re learning
How to look after yourself, feel better and more energetic at the same time!
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Stress? Take it lying down!
So, what is that supposed to mean?
Does it sound like jargon to you? What is the Alexander Technique and what has it got to do with stress?
Firstly, let’s call Alexander Technique ‘AT’ for short! I think it’s friendlier!
So, AT is all about understanding where we have unnecessary tension, how we are working our muscles too hard, and how we can learn to be balanced, strong and poised but with less tension.
It sounds easy doesn’t it?
But of course it isn’t because we all have loads of habits that hang on to the tension without us realising it.
So AT is also about learning what our habits are and learning how to notice them and how to stop doing them, i.e. ‘do something different’ or move in a different way.
But AT is also about how we think and feel and it’s easier to change what we think than what we feel.
Think about it – you can change what you say to yourself but if you notice how you feel about something you have to really persuade yourself to think through what you’re feeling to really ‘feel’ differently.
Anyway, the point is, AT can teach us how to ‘think’ differently.
Our thoughts are governed by our habits too. Are you a ‘glass half empty person’ or a ‘glass half full’?
So, with being mindful, we can notice what our pattern of thoughts are and learn how to change them, or ‘think something different’
In turn, this can influence our mood and how we feel about things!
But coming back to stress and ‘lying down’.
AT teaches you how to notice yourself and one way of doing this is the very enjoyable AT lying down – AT people call it ‘constructive rest’ or ‘semi-supine’.
The point is that you have a smallish book under your head and your knees up so that your head, neck and back can align together and you let yourself melt into the floor – enjoy it!
Actually, it really is very enjoyable – it helps to release tension and calms your mind and you come back to your day feeling refreshed and revived.
When you have an AT lesson, the teacher very gently moves your arms, legs and head to help to align you even further but it is still worth it doing it on your own.
So have a go, do it on your own or book a lesson!