Welcome to BRINGING YOURSELF UP, a blog devoted to the Alexander Technique (AT). My name is Elizabeth Hurwitt, and I am a teacher of AT. I call my practice betterATbeing.
Alexander Technique is something lots of people have heard of, but what it is, exactly – they can’t quite put their finger on it.
It’s often misidentified as one of several things that it is not: it’s not a cure for anything, though it does produce substantial general health benefits; it’s not massage or chiropractic or body work, though teaching it does involve touch; and it’s not a mood-enhancing meditation, though the process requires keen attention and raises one’s spirit the way water raises a boat.
A simple explanation: AT is a more than hundred-year-old method any person can use to better negotiate their relationship with gravity, so that this universal force downward is met and matched by an energy flow upward from within.
AT’s practical effect on posture and its corresponding advantages in activity are supported by modern neuroscience. It’s not magic. Going up is just a natural ability most of us don’t know we have access to. It can be cultivated through instruction on avoiding habits of excessive and unnecessary tension common to virtually all adults.
Typically very small children exhibit this ability. Then they seem to lose it, about the time they begin to become socialized members of society that frequently sit in chairs. Once it is lost, for most of us, it’s lost for good, leaving no memory of what we’re missing.
So for adults first embarking on a course of AT lessons, the experience of meeting gravity with our own substantial power of buoyancy is initially both puzzling and thrilling. Once one becomes a little more accustomed to guiding that force from within, it becomes wonderfully helpful and sustaining, like a trustworthy friend who is always available, come what may.
Learning Alexander Technique acquaints us better and better with our own anti-gravity energy, teaching us to direct it fortuitously, and offering a reliable way of helping ourselves function and feel better. There is really no life activity or condition that can’t be improved by having this energy within us well-directed.
For this reason AT is widely popular with performers, athletes, those recovering from injury or managing chronic pain, people suffering from stage fright or anxiety, people with breathing disorders, seniors seeking better balance and confidence in movement, and many other individuals facing different kinds of challenges.
AT is a great personal resource to practice and develop, bringing with it a resilience and flexibility that add to the joy of living. I will keep writing about Alexander Technique in these posts and hopefully add something special of my own to this bountifully fascinating topic. If you would like to study AT, I would be pleased to become your teacher.