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The Edinburgh Alexander and Therapy Centre has been offering Alexander lessons and workshops since 1994.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Descent of Man: how texting stops us walking tall

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So said an article, on some new research, in yesterday’s Daily Telegraph. It confirmed what every Alexander Technique teacher knows, that in texting while walking people are shortening in stature, interfering with their balance, and holding their breath. Of course, it is not just in walking and texting that this happens but when people are sitting down as well to text or work on their iPads or tablets. What happens is that they pull forward to look at their screens and then the trouble starts.

This is not something that needs to happen. Alexander Technique gives people the power to stop this and to develop balance and co-ordination in all the activities of everyday life – this is what it is there for. It involves the development of conscious control to direct one’s use in everyday activities rather than simply relying on the habits of co-ordination that have been developed without awareness while growing up.

With regard to texting, Alexander Technique is also preventative. It will remove the possibility of ‘text neck’ and problems to do with the thumbs and hands that come from not understanding the mechanics of the situation. It is so much better to learn now, before the problems start, than once they have.

As we move into our more connected and virtual world, intelligent thought needs to be applied if our basic mechanics and our organic functioning is to be respected. There is an increasing necessity to teach children about their use, in an intelligent way, that makes it easy to learn, that will save them from the problems that will otherwise predictably result.

What Alexander thought, and Alexander teachers know, is that it this descent of man is not inevitable. By using our intelligence we can cultivate the poise and balance, and easy respiration, that is our birthright; in walking, texting and any activity we care to undertake; in any situation we happen to face; with any person we happen to be with – conscious control gives us the choice and capacity to be different, to be free in our movement and breathing.

Richard Casebow

Back in the mid-1980s, I started to suffer from severe sciatica that often made walking and working difficult. At the time, I was training in London to become a Chartered Accountant and I left, as I was spending increasing amounts of time off waiting for the pain to subside. Around this time, I also became depressed, as my prospects seemed to darken with little hope of a normal life. In seeking help I found my way both to a psychotherapist and then to an Alexander Technique teacher, both of which helped enormously. The therapy with forming a life plan and understanding myself, encouraged me to dream of the life I have now. The Alexander Technique gave me the practical tool to help realise it and to allow me to rehabilitate myself to lead a full normal life.

The link between Alexander Technique, Psychotherapy and the art of living intelligently became something that has fascinated me ever since and is something I have continued to explore myself and with pupils and clients since. This blog is my attempt to elucidate the links, as well as to talk about Alexander Technique pure and simple and the benefits of therapy.

I founded the Edinburgh Alexander and Therapy Centre in 1994, Counselling Conversations came later after I became a practising therapist in 2003. Professionally I act as the Treasurer of the Personal Construct Psychology Association and sit on the board of the UKCP’s house magazine The Psychotherapist. When I am not to be found working, there is nothing better I like to be doing than spending time on a Scottish hillside, exploring the arts or just spending time with friends and family, including the family cat.