The Alexander Technique can have great benefits for sports enthusiasts, performers and musicians

 

Golf

bad-golf-posture

Golf can be a very frustrating game, where an inconsistent shot can be followed by another inconsistent shot and this soon becomes a poor game which is best forgotten.
How can learning the Alexander Technique help with this?
* Firstly the principles of the Technique teach you not to react to the situation, to remain calm and take each shot independently, it helps with focus and to remain present and in the moment often called “playing in the zone”
* Learning the Technique also helps you to move in a balanced and more co –ordinated way, with greater freedom so you can hit the ball a greater distance

How is this achieved?

You can discover with the help of a teacher how to move and bend with less tension, so your body works more to its optimum.

Some tips to help your golf game:
* As you address the ball notice your contact with ground, sense your socks in your shoes
* Notice if you have any excess tension in your grip, think about your shoulders softening
* Is there any tension in your jaw -  getting rid of tension by releasing the breath in an “ah” can help too.
* Before you take your swing stop and pause, notice if you are tightening or anticipating the shot, release any tension again, then just take your swing without paying too much attention to how you swing, just allow the swing to happen
* Did you feel greater freedom of movement in your swing?
Finally a great way to prepare yourself for your golf game is to lie down like this the active rest or semi supine lying down position

I have used the Technique to improve my golf. There is more fluidity to my stroke. I have learnt to stop "end gaining" that is trying too hard to hit the ball a long way and am more focused and present. The ball as a result goes much further. I am much less likely to fluff up a putt as I am able to ignore external pressures of trying to sink the putt. 

Skiing

Sometimes we overreactto the terrain and tense up. The Alexander Technique gives us the tools to eliminate such habits. Think freedom in the knees and hips as the knees release forward and away, just allowing the skis to follow the terrain. There is a great video of young children skiing just illustrating this perfectly - You've got to be Free to Ski

Cycling

I have also applied the Technique to cycling. It is essential to be aware of your sitting bones and to attend to the length of your spine. Think of free hips and knees going forward and away. Do not over grip the handle bars.

good-bike-sitting-position

Musicians, Performers and Public Speakers

The Alexander Technique is taught in a large number of music colleges and drama schools. It helps prevent injury with musicians and improves their breathing. It can also help with stage fright. Alexander himself was a performer and public speaker and he was able to resolve his own speech problems through observation and increased self awareness. The Technique is a very useful tool for those people who regularly have to make presentations in their work.

child-playing-piano-perfect-posture 

Exercise and the Alexander Technique:
A Pupil Offers Suggestions
by Bob Kahn, PhD

Bob compressed


Bob is a medical writer living in the northwest of England. For the past nine months he has been a pupil of Kim Cant MSTAT.

Why exercise?

As we age, it is important to exercise in order to move efficaciously, avoid falls and keep our bodies and minds in good shape. However, what kind of exercise is appropriate with the guidance of the Alexander Technique? Being over 80 now, this is not a casual question for me nor for many others, but a life-promoting or life-threatening issue. Therefore, I suggest each exercise should be linked to a key question: Is the exercise compatible with Alexander Technique experience? Let’s treat the Alexander Technique as a guide for which exercises are most appropriate given our age and hopes.

What exercise will work best for me?

How we move, sit and stand impacts how well we live as human beings. Alexander Technique teaches clearly that first, we need to learn to stop and inhibit certain habits, and only then begin to consciously develop new healthier ways to link together our necks, heads and spines. Any good exercise should help us to be aware of ourselves, with our feet firmly on the ground, our posture upright, but not rigid, and our muscles relaxed. You should decide for yourself how best to exercise. Whatever exercise you choose, you need to keep asking: Is this exercise (or what the exercise teacher is asking me to do) in keeping with the principles of the Alexander Technique? Is this exercise helping specific parts of my body to be free? Bad habits can arise from bad exercises.

When and where should I exercise?

I do not find that exercising alone works for me. I much prefer an exercise class with a small number of people who support each other, with a teacher who explains which muscles and bones are strengthened or endangered by specific exercises. I know that learning the Alexander Technique is best done on a one-on-one basis between a teacher and a pupil. However, once you have learned the basic principles of the Alexander Technique, you need to apply those principles throughout the day, becoming aware of the strengths and weaknesses of your own muscles and bones. Sitting in front of a computer for more than an hour without moving around is not a good idea. Moreover, when sitting it is helpful to place against the back a rubber ball with spikes, pushing the ball against the back of the chair to reduce pressure and improve posture.

How should I exercise?

Learning to walk properly is a great form of exercise. Aiming for 6,000 to 8,000 steps a day is a sensible target, but such a bold goal has to be approached slowly rather than slavishly. Walking with Nordic poles exercises the top half of the body well, especially the shoulders and arms. I find that one exercise class a week is not enough and the Alexander Technique fits well with Tai Chi and Qi Gong and aerobic exercise generally, if performed slowly.
Go to it!
I have found it helpful to look upon all exercise as a hierarchy with Alexander Technique at the top of the pyramid. For me, that pyramid descends from Qigong and Tai Chi, to aerobic exercise (slowly) and walking. Many years ago, my wife and I found Alexander Technique helped to resolve back problems. But now I have discovered that Alexander Technique is important for the whole body and mind. If we each pause and reflect BEFORE we start to move, we will move differently with fewer bad habits, more purpose and perhaps slower as well.