Alexander Technique with Deborah Levy > Alexander Technique North London Blog

Posture or Alignment? And magic wands!

magic wand

Many people come to me because they are concerned about their posture and that’s fine, but Alexander Technique is more than that.

It can help you with your posture definitely, but it’s not posture for the sake of it.  It’s about improving your posture in a way so that you feel better, less stressed and more able to manage pain or discomfort, if you have any. And at the same time, you look better too!

We tend to notice ourselves and how we move and do things when we have aches and pains somewhere.  But Alexander Technique teaches you how to notice yourself and think about how you move, at other times as well, so that you can be one step ahead before extra pain and tension creeps in.

By noticing where your weight is and improving your proprioception, (the ability to sense stimuli arising within the body regarding position, motion, and equilibrium) you can learn to understand how to have a sense of your alignment, balance and coordination so that you feel better, look better and move better.

magic wandSometimes we want a ‘magic wand’ to just make things better instantly!

But actually, we are our own ‘magic wand’.

We can learn how to make things better for ourselves by thinking in a slightly different way.  It’s very simple and gentle but can be very powerful and enjoyable.

Empower yourself and be your own ‘magic wand’!

Hot and Bothered??

hot

It’s hot isn’t it?  Lovely though!

Here’s a tip for feeling like you are on holiday;

Walk mindfully down the road, notice the steps you are taking, notice the space and distance between your arm as it swings back and the same leg as it is forward.

hotThen let your eyes be soft, rather than staring and tense, and whilst softly looking ahead just notice the peripheral vision from the sides of your eyes.

Notice that this is like being on a train and let what you see just pass by.

A client recently said to me that when she notices this, she feels connected to the world and as if she is on holiday!

And another thing;

There was a report out last week from Public Health England saying that balance exercises and muscle strengthening are as important as walking and increasing your steps.

See the article in The Guardian about it here

Alexander Technique (AT) teaches you how to improve your balance and how to notice where your weight is and what happens to your balance and weight when you move.

Usually you don’t think about it but AT teaches you how to start noticing as you go about your day and how to enjoy it!

So, enjoy yourself and enjoy the beautiful weather.

Learn Something New: Be Good to Yourself and Others and Improve your Health and Happiness

feeling good

A while ago I read an article by Ruby Wax on Why being Kinder to ourselves is good for society. She writes about how being kind to others and feeling their pain or distress, i.e. being compassionate, releases hormones that make ourselves feel better.  In the same way we need to learn to be compassionate to ourselves, to look after ourselves and feel good about making ourselves feel better, rather than putting ourselves down or continuing in an anxiety cycle.  This positive cycle will not only enhance itself for our own good but others’ good too.

I agree with all this because by using the Alexander Technique you can learn how to look after yourself physically and emotionally. Plus at the same time, you are learning something new, which is good for the brain as well as your happiness factor and well-being.  By using the Alexander Technique, you learn how to notice and understand your tension and habits, and how to consciously respond to them, rather than an unconscious reaction.

By understanding how to improve our alignment and decrease tension we can learn to reduce and manage pain and stress, thus increasing your happiness and well-being!  The additional bonus is at the same time, you are learning to be compassionate to yourself and others, another way of feeling happier and better!

Seems like a win-win to me!  There’s nothing to lose, except some pain and stress!

What’s your persistent habit you’re trying to change? Make sure you notice it.

notice

Well it’s March now, the New Year is well behind us but are you still trying to keep those resolutions and change some of your personal stuff?  Like not looking after yourself re that pain in your neck, shoulders or back that’s getting worse? Or feeling heavy and tired most of the time with all that stress?  And then, of course, you beat yourself up because you haven’t sustained it or you keep getting distracted.

If that’s you then read this little article by Oliver Burkeman from The Guardian; Getting distracted isn’t a problem; noticing when you’re distracted is arguably the point.  He talks about Meditation, but Alexander Technique uses the same principles.  It’s the ‘noticing’ that is important and the beginning of change.

notice Alexander TechniqueHabits are very deep and persistent, whether it’s mental, physical or muscular.  They don’t change quickly or easily.  So by starting to notice you can remind yourself to do something different.

And rather than feeling bad that you’ve let yourself slip again, feel good that it’s given you a chance to think about it again and given you the choice to change your habit and do something different.  Even if it only lasts a short while, but it will gradually get longer.

At Alexander Technique North London, we teach you to notice your postural alignment, notice if your weight is evenly balanced on your feet or on your sitting bones, notice the length of your neck or your back so that you can start to notice if you are more tense than you need to be, which causes pain and stress, and is very tiring.

Our muscles need to have tone to have strength and to be effective but they don’t need to be tense, especially not all the time, as you might find some of yours are.  And this becomes a muscular habit, so it takes some attention and noticing to change it.  But noticing it is a good thing, because then you continually have a chance to make a choice and do something about it.  So be proud and feel good about that.

If you want to ‘notice’ your mental, physical or muscular habits then contact me so we can begin to make some positive changes.

What do singing and running have in common? Ask yourself!

singing

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”

 

runningNow 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!

 

Special Seasonal offer; Vouchers for 50% reduction for 1 session

For lessons at Muswell Health Clinic;  50% reduction Vouchers available when booked before 30th June 2018.

International Alexander Awareness Month October 2017

International Alexander Awareness Month

International Alexander Awareness MonthStress? 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!