Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Alexander Technique for All Ages: Aunt Myrtle's story





Alexander Technique for All Ages:  Aunt Myrtle's story 

Check out this short animated video about The Alexander Technique.  In it, you'll learn of the benefits of AT and the problems that it helps to resolve.  Throughout the video, you'll follow the story of a young adult who just can't figure out how to sit, stand, or move about life comfortably and longs for the natural way that he used his body as a young child.  Thinking that he's doomed to progressively compress and slump his body as he ages, like his dear Aunt Myrtle, he finally realizes that he can get back into the driver's seat of his own body and reclaim the natural good use of his body that he enjoyed as a kid.  

As it turns out, hunching and slumping are habits that tend to worsen as we age, as opposed to an inevitable state that a person get into as they get older.  

Light bulb goes off for our young hero!  He takes Alexander Technique lessons and changes his habits!  He's no longer compressing his body!  He has better posture and simultaneously feels more comfortable!  He can now sit, stand, move, and age gracefully!  Yay for the young hero and yay for The Alexander Technique!

I was heavily involved with getting this video made on behalf of The American Society for the Alexander Technique and have been hearing/reading questions and comments over the past month since its release.  One question that has come up is, "What about Aunt Myrtle?"  We see that that hero escapes her fate of hunching over during old-age, but what about Aunt Myrtle herself?  Is she too old to get back into the driver's seat of her own body?  The Posture Police caught up with Aunt Myrtle, who has been taking Alexander Technique lessons on the advice of her enthusiastic nephew and asked her about her experience.
(Aunt Myrtle is a fictional character.)

Posture Police:  Posture Police here.  Aunt Myrtle, may I ask you a few questions?

Aunt Myrtle:  Was I driving too fast?

Posture Police:  No, not at all.  I just have a few questions regarding how you've improved your posture.

Aunt Myrtle:  I've been taking Alexander Technique lessons for several months now.

Posture Police:  How did you find out about The Alexander Technique?

Aunt Myrtle:  From my nephew.  He's been raving about it for a couple of years now and suggested I take lessons since I'm always complaining about being hunched over.  At first I laughed and said that there was no way I could learn a new way to hold my body at the age of eighty.  He insisted that he thought I could if I stuck with lessons for awhile and remembered to practice on my own.  

Posture Police:  So did you take lessons then?

Aunt Myrtle:  Well, no.  When he said I'd have to practice, I got discouraged.  I don't like doing exercises.

Posture Police:  So, how did you change your mind?

Aunt Myrtle:  Well, he brought it up again a few months later and I told him that I doubted that I'd keep up with the exercises.  Apparently I had misunderstood what he'd meant by "practice".  He then went on to say that there aren't any exercises.  

Posture Police:  Aha!  

Aunt Myrtle:  He said that the only "homework" I'd have would be to lie down for 15-minutes each day and I could certainly manage that.  Otherwise, I'm to remember to apply what I'd learned as I go about my day.  I don't have to stop what I'm doing to practice.

Posture Police:  How convenient!

Aunt Myrtle:  Oh, it is.  It takes some focus to remember at first, but the more I do it, the more it's like second-nature and I don't have to remind myself so much.  It's fun and helps keep my mind sharp and I'm less tired.  I feel like I'm floating when I leave my weekly lessons.  I used to feel like a ton of bricks.

Posture Police:  Can you maintain that floating feeling?

Aunt Myrtle:  Not at first, but after a few lessons, I started to be able to.  All of my friends have noticed the difference in my posture and want to know what my secret is.  They all say that I look younger.  I'm still a bit hunched, but my teacher says that even if I don't come up fully straight, that I can still feel more relaxed and expansive, as she says, even being a little bent over.  The technique is more about allowing your body to take up all of its space than to make yourself have perfect posture.

Posture Police:  So, "perfect posture" might be a result of Alexander lessons, but not necessarily for everyone and that's okay?

Aunt Myrtle:  Yes, that's right.  I'm happy that I look better, but even happier that I feel better and I'd rather keep feeling better than standing up straighter.  I used to think that standing up straight was something that I had to strain to do, but now I realize that I stand up straightest when I don't try so hard.  It's really more of a matter of using your thinking to affect your body than to maneuver yourself into a position.

Posture Police:  Well, thank you Aunt Myrtle!  There you have it folks.  Aunt Myrtle, back in the driver's seat of her body at age eighty!

2 comments:

  1. Hi Aunt Myrtle - glad to hear you've stuck with this thing and you're getting so much out of it. I remember seeing you last year at that family reunion and thinking, she used to be such a happy, sprightly little creature when we was growing up on Uncle Bernie's farm - what a shame she's become so crumpled up! I didn't get a chance to tell you then but I've actually been doing the Alexander tech-watcha macall for a quite a few years now and it's given me a whole new outlook on life. You remember all that awful back trouble I had ever since we used to do all that milkin every day? Well, it's gotten a whole lot better with the alexander lessons I've been takin and now I'm even to the point of being able to reach down to pick things up off the floor, and then come up again without collapsing into pain. And all I did, well ... I didn't have to do ANYTHING, really. I just followed my teacher's instructions to stop "interfering", as she calls it, with my natural coordination. And little by little the pain started to go away. Man what a revelation. So I'm SO happy for you! Really can't wait for the next reunion so we can see each other and swap notes!

    All the best,
    Uncle Al

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    1. Hi there Uncle Al! It's great to hear your story too. I know what you mean about interfering. I didn't even know that I was doing it. I thought that I was just slumped because of my age. I feel 20 years younger!
      See ya at the reunion!

      Best Regards,
      Aunt Myrtle

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