Embodied thoughts

What’s in a chair?

Well, quite a lot with Alexander Technique lessons. Through this simple act of us standing and sitting is revealed a great deal of how we balance and coordinate ourselves. And how we interfere through accustomed habits of thinking and unregistered, unnecessary stress and tension, especially in the relationship between our head and spine.

We move through standing and sitting many times in our day, so this action is worthy of contemplation – an increased awareness, mind, body and self. In lessons we call it ‘chair work’ but it is so much more than that. It’s an opportunity of recognition of habit and new postural organisation, or poise.

And if we can get things going a little better here, you can extend this skill to other activities of living. That’s what you practice in your lessons. This new skill of gentle attention and intention to how you are in yourself, opting to tense less, as you go about whatever you do.

‘Boiled down, it all comes to inhibiting a particular reaction to a given stimulus. But no one will see it that way. They will see it as getting in and out of a chair the right way. It is nothing of the kind. It is that a pupil decides what he will or will not consent to…..You will still have this to face: sticking to a decision against your habit of life’.  

  F.M. Alexander