Imagine a six-foot tall plastic punching bag shaped like an orotund man and weighted on the bottom. Punch him if you wish, you’re not going to hurt him. Send him to the floor and watch him pop right back up, oscillating a while before he’s still. He knows up from down. Gravity acts on him in a predictable way. He does not have the advantage or disadvantage of joints. Let’s give him some. Let’s give him toes and ankles and knees and hips, a jointed spine, and an atlanto-occiptal joint on which his head rests. Suddenly articulated plastic man has some issues. Without your full-time external maintenance, articulated plastic man is going to wallow in a puddle of plastic on the floor. Poor fellow.
But what about you – heir of Homo erectus – upright, jointed man? Your jointedness, like your uprightness, is a blessing. And like all blessings they are subject to misuse. For instance, when you lock your hips and knees, wear your back under your front, gravity acts differently above the hips than it does below them. Your back is being pulled toward the Earth at a vector behind you. This is the default posture of the early 21st century. Why?
Above all, many if not most of us early 21st’ers, want to appear cool, laid back, down with the newest new thing, sexually viable. But in getting down, laying back, (are you hearing this stuff?) we create a cantilevered structure that requires anchoring, a point of fixation, to wit, the hips, knees and ankles. Your desire to get down has pulled you down. Stiffness has become systemic. And little or nothing can be done about it overtly – by adjusting your self – without creating further compensatory tensions. Enter the Alexander Technique. Are you down with that? I hope not.
When you meet the hand of a teacher of the Alexander Technique your minded muscles will understand: I can do less here. I can meet you and give up some of my learned systemic bracing, a little here, a little there, until the whole badly coordinated system begins to unwind. That’s how a lesson in the Alexander Technique works. You’ll learn that being upwardly mobile is way more rewarding that getting down or laying back. Trading your down for upright buoyancy, you might call it a no-brainer, but it’s an intelligent, ongoing, choice. For lack of better words, you can call it the Alexander Technique