If the stress of moving abroad has caused you aches and pains, the Alexander Technique may well be a solution. Stress impacts our bodies as well as our minds. As a result, you can develop all kinds of painful physical “coping mechanisms” during your transition abroad. Neck, shoulder and jaw pain, headaches and backaches may all materialize out of nowhere. Packing and sorting boxes in a limited time certainly doesn’t help matters.
The Alexander Technique allows you to develop and maintain an awareness of how you “use” your body in everyday life—especially your unconscious reactions to stressors and other stimuli. It was originally developed by F.M. Alexander (1869-1955), an actor plagued by voice problems. After painstakingly observing himself in mirrors while reciting lines Alexander concluded his head and neck movements were the cause.
It turns out the whole region at the base of the skull and top of the neck is highly significant from a physiological point of view. The nerve fibers that transmit information about your body’s muscles and joints pass through this area. Therefore the position of your head, neck and back all impact the way the rest of your body feels.
The Alexander Technique allows you to “unlearn” all bad posture habits you have developed over the years, thus keeping your body in a more natural and often more comfortable position while sitting, walking, standing—even lugging furniture around a new home. The first step is to incorporate ten minutes of “active lying down” into your everyday routine. Believe it or not, this can help restore your energy and can bring your spine back to its original length (the discs between the vertebrae are compressed in the course of long days on your feet).
For more information on the Technique visit the website of the UK Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique (STAT), the Dutch Professional Society (NeVLAT) or my own site: www.alexandertechniek.eu. On the STAT site and NeVLAT site you will find lists of teachers all over the world.
About the author
Wendelien Verbeek lived in London for more than 30 years. She has been teaching the Alexander Technique since 1987. In addition to working as a Senior Tutor of Alexander Technique at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art she taught at Eton and St. Paul’s Girls School. She returned to her native Netherlands in 2005, and now teaches in The Hague and Rotterdam. Phone: 0031 70 3920 165, Mobile: 0031 (0)6 2827 1602 email: firstname.lastname@example.org