Well-being, yoga and mindfulness are big business now, but we thought they were big in the early 1970’s. Yoga was on television and readily available at evening classes. The Beatles, among others, were famously into mediation. There were health food shops in every town.
But what is well-being? Being well. The absence of illness, pain, mental distress. And that is not a bad start, although it can be more. It can mean being at peace with yourself, a deep contentment.
No one can avoid illness, pain and mental distress. Life happens. But we can learn skills and techniques that help us deal with problems and give us more resilience in the face of challenges.
In the 1970’s, I took up yoga and vipassana or mindfulness meditation. Through yoga I was introduced to the Alexander Technique and quickly realised that was what I was looking for. The Alexander Technique is a learned skill which improves movement and posture. Poor movement and posture are underlying causes of many aches and pains. Being in better harmony with yourself, mentally and physically, leads to being well in a wider sense.
The Alexander Technique has been described as a form meditation. It is mindfulness in everyday activities. Yoga, like Pilates, is mindfulness in movement. It is all about being in the present and being grounded in your body. Grounding is essential for TRE which releases stress and trauma.
With the Alexander Technique the most common activities, like the act of sitting down on a chair, can become a yoga asana, or an exercise from Pilates, or a squat in the gym. The process of having Alexander lessons, learning the Technique, improves and expands our awareness of our own movement and posture and we start noticing how other people are moving. It just happens. The door opens. With awareness, we have the possibility of change.
LISTEN to an MP3 interview with me describing my teaching:
I have a special interest and expertise in:
- Back, neck, shoulder pain
- Postural problems
- Repetitive Strain Injury
- Functional applications ie sitting at a desk or sofa
- Release of tension/stress
- Foot problems
“In the past, after I had been sitting for an hour or more, I would get up like an old person, stiff and with an aching back and legs. Now, after Alexander lessons, I get up and walk off like a much younger person, and no aches and pains.”
Pippa, a cellist, came back for a couple of refresher lessons 18 years after her course of lessons. “Alexander gave me the ability to detach from the nerves and physical tension when playing, and that has stayed with me all this time. It has made such a difference to my playing.”