Alexander technique is one of the typical treatment techniques based on complementary connection of mind and body. The way we move and what body posture we hold is very closely connected with our inner emotional and thought processes. That can also affect how healthy or ill do we feel and how do we think about ourselves.
- Tutorials below are dedicated for people who already have some experience with the Alexander technique, but need to go through the correct execution of the exercises once again in order to exercise correctly.
- The exercises alone are based on the natural physiology of body posture, therefore they can bring relief to anyone, especially to people who suffer from imbalances or slight deflections from a correct body posture.
What are the tutorials not intended for?
The tutorials below do not replace the Alexander technique in all of it complexity. Similarly as yoga has its spiritual and physical level, you can relieve yourself from pain thanks to various exercising positions, however a certified instructor should teach you the complexive concept of the technique.
Alexander technique is a form of rehabilitation, that teaches how to get rid of rooted vices and how to avoid stress situations, that are usually manifested by health problems, for example by pain in the back area, cervical spine, headaches, or they can be manifested by psychological and emotional problems like irritation and depression. This technique is used for training correct body posture, so that the center of the gravity which is changing with growing belly, does not burden the “axial organ” of the mother. Therefore it is not only a physiotherapeutic exercise, but also a learning about correct body posture during pregnancy and daily life activities.
WHEN DO WE APPLY THIS TECHNIQUE:
The exercise can be effectively used during pregnancy as well as during birth. We also teach the Alexander technique on group rehabilitation exercises with pregnant mothers.
WHEN DO WE NOT RECOMMEND THIS TECHNIQUE:
In individual cases
The basis for the correct body posture and movement is a dynamical connection between the head, neck and spine. The head motion starts the initial movement which is followed by the movement of the whole body. The body posture should be balanced, movements should be easily performed. Correct coordination of the movement is very important, as is for example arms and legs movement during walking. The movement of the head, neck and spine determines the movement of arms and legs, but not contrariwise. The muscle activity should be evenly “distributed” and the connection between each muscle group should be functional so that the muscle tension could be lowered. The result is then smooth and balanced movement, deeper breathing, relaxed joints and effective function of the movement system.
BASIC EXERCISING POSITION:
Alexander technique is taught in following 5 basic positions:
This is not a static position and it should be used almost during all activities as a transition from sitting to a standing position and vice versa, for example when you bow down for some object. At the same time you should relax your spine and thanks to having your arms relaxed as well it is also suitable for writing, cleaning the dishes or tending to a baby.
If the woman leans against a table in this position, the weight of her body will spread between her arms and legs. Position is ideal for relieving tension in the muscles of the pelvic floor and lower legs, especially during the birth. Swinging movements back and forth are also possible.
When doing the lunge position, legs should have a solid base for the body movement back and forth. This position should be used during activities when you want to drag or push something. The power of the movement is coming from the legs and spine. They move simultaneously and arms indicate the direction of the movement. It is ideal to use this position while you’re for example ironing, opening the doors, vacuum cleaning etc…
It is important to exercise the lunge on both sides and moving your weight back and forth. This position is ideal during the initial phase of childbirth.
Squat is a very effective position during the childbirth process, because it opens the pelvis and at the same time there’s a gravitational force in effect. If women don’t train squatting, they become quickly tired. Therefore it is recommended to exercise already during the pregnancy. You can start with half squats from the monkey position.
Kneeling position has an ordinary use at work or floor, but also often as a position of an active birth. There are 2 existing alternatives of the kneeling position:
- Kneeling in straight position, relieving the muscles of the pelvic floor and the thigh flexors
- And kneeling on the heels
Exercising in these positions is recommended as a good prenatal preparation.
Position on all fours
Position on all fours relieves the tension in the lumbar spine and strengthens the back muscles. Exercising the turning and bowing in this position helps to eliminate the back pain. It is used also a relieving position during birth.
Author: Mgr. Iva Bílková, FYZIOklinika physiotherapy Ltd., Prague, Czech Republic
Note: most physiotherapeutic rehabilitation techniques shown here are performed in underwear. Photographs were taken as an illustration, in order to present the method to the clients of FYZIOklinika.