Well, here we all are, having manifested on the planet at this time, in this country with no control over that, as far as we know! Human beings are bi-pedal, upright vertebrates who stride the planet wanting the best quality life that we can have.
Yet, as we walk through our towns and cities, we can see the suffering etched on peoples’ faces. Much of this stems from our habitual nature whereby we repeat patterned behaviours over and over again. The adage, ‘Don’t expect different results if you keep on repeating the same actions,’ rings true to me.
In particular, this applies to patterns of tension in the body which are perpetuated by doing ‘the same old, same old’. In general terms, we are born beautifully pristine, but as we get older, having had to deal with the outrageous slings and fortunes that life throws at us, we can end up with much pain and discomfort both mentally and physically. We are hard-wired to be habitual beings, based on perceived safety patterns. The paradox is that many of these safety habits are no longer required. In fact, they often only succeed in restricting our minds and bodies.
Discovering the Alexander Technique
I first discovered the Alexander Technique in 1999 when I was at a very low point in my life. I had left the army ten years previously and had become a successful area sales manager. However, chronic pain was causing me prolonged anguish. My Alexander teacher made me aware that I was still holding a rigid, military posture in everyday life and was repeating harmful, mental patterns of distress. This was a light bulb moment for me and totally changed my life for the better. I gave up corporate life and completed the three-year teacher training course to become an Alexander Technique teacher. I founded Strolling Lighthouse to teach this technique and now work from home in Barrow-in-Furness. Since 2003 I have also been spending one day a week teaching in Preston, helping others to help themselves.
The Alexander Technique is a self-help method which provides us with the ability to step outside of our habitual patterns and gain a real awareness about them. For example, if you suffer from chronic back-pain, has it ever occurred to you, that your habitual everyday movements are not allowing the pain to disperse?
We have choices around our everyday movements as we walk, sit, and repeatedly bend. The Alexander Technique helps you to peel away any unhelpful habits and reintroduces you to the natural movements we had as a child ‘before life got in the way’. The technique is renowned for helping you regain good posture which is a natural part of the whole process. This results in you looking and feeling better, and becoming more productive, because you have far less pain and discomfort. These benefits also have a very positive impact on your mental health. In addition, you learn a brilliant self-help maintenance tool to help you on an everyday, conscious level. This means less reliance on others to ‘fix you’.
Jean, a Strolling Lighthouse client confirms this approach. She commented, “I came to Richard originally for a taster session. After six lessons my pain has reduced significantly. If the pain does appear, I now have my own method of alleviating it.”
As you get older, are you getting wiser? Or are you just going to keep repeating those same old patterns that do you no good?
The best introduction to the Alexander Technique is by a one to one session.
Richard is an Alexander Technique Teacher in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria and Preston, Lancashire. He has been practising since 2002.