A new client said to me the other day, "What I like about this Alexander Technique it is so much in 'the Now'." And I couldn't agree more.
This technique enables us to deal with our postural habits; complex as they are and unknown may be their origins. Where did our stiff neck come from, or the tendency to slouch, sit in a twist, lean forwards or backwards when walking, arching our back unnecessarily, holding our breath, stiffening our shoulders or grinding our teeth? Unless we suffered a specific injury that we can date, it's likely that we have no idea where our postural tendencies have come from. All we know is that we've had them as long as we can remember, and maybe our parents have the same tendencies too......'Like father, like son'.
We could sit and analyse our situation for hours, weeks and years, but I'm not sure what benefit that would bring us. No matter what happened to us and what influences caused us to adopt certain postural habits, they are all in the past. We are viewing our situation from Today, not tomorrow or yesterday and we're living today with the outcome of our past experiences and the habits we've got are right now. The past is behind us and the future won't come until it's the Present.
We were not born with bad postural habits and unless we were handicapped as a child, it's likely that we had great poise until we were about four years old. Then the habits set in, from copying parents and friends, stress or injury. This technique gives us a practical method of taking more control over our body and to eliminate harmful postural habits. We gain awareness of what we are doing; how is our balance, how are we moving, standing or sitting? It's right now that we're interested in. Although we may have some concern about how we will be in twenty years time and wish to avoid problems later in life, the only way we can help ourselves is to ensure that we are 'using our body' in the most efficient and healthy way today, so that it does not wear our or deteriorate prematurely.
During an Alexander Technique lesson, it is quite normal to get a new experience of moving with less effort, of being in better balance, or lengthening in stature as we move rather than stiffening and shortening. Sometimes a client will say "Wow, that was different!" The tendency will then be to try and copy what happened so they can do it again. But that won't work.
The reason why they got this 'great experience' was because we set up their musculature so that before they moved, they were in balance, free in their joints and lengthening and widening. When they moved, they inhibited harmful tensions and continued to lengthen and widen during the movement. What they did a few minutes ago that gave them this new and exciting experience is in the past. The only way they can have this 'great experience' again is to use the same process that brought it about last time. In other words, they can't just copy the experience, but they need to set up the whole muscular situation where they are in good balance, free in their joints and lengthening and widening before they move, while they move and after they move. They can only deal with the present moment. By trying to copy what we did earlier or by trying to hang onto a 'great experience' they are living in the past and will cause stiffness. In life, we are constantly dealing with moment after moment and each one is unique and can only be Present.
That is Now. By dealing with our situation now, we help give us good experiences 'now', and also do our best for helping our future.