Further to yesterday's posting ('Children aren't moving enough'), it won't be a surprise to learn that adults aren't moving enough either. In fact, according to the World Health Organisation, this country is one of the most inactive countries in the world. On Radio 4's Today programme this morning, Dr Mike Loosemoore advised us to find everyday opportunities to be more active - whether by parking at the far end of the car park, getting out the lift a floor early, or simply by standing up more. He explained that even tiny activities add up to make a big difference, making us more healthy, reducing cholesterol and blood pressure, and helping to reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes - not to mention making us thinner! I've noticed that desks that can be raised to standing height are becoming increasingly favoured by my Alexander students with a history of back pain; it's good to know that they are gaining other health benefits at the same time. It strikes me that it's not just the quantity of activity that is important, but also the quality. And that, of course, is where the Alexander Technique comes in.
Here's a powerful account of why children fidget in school - and what we can do about it - written by a paediatric occupational therapist: 'The real reason why children fidget'
With an estimated 20% of children already suffering from back pain, health experts are making fresh calls to prevent the use of chairs with backward sloping seats in schools. Check out this short school chair campaign video....
Some years ago an Alexander student of mine with neck/back problems improvised a way of mixing standing and sitting at work - he placed his laptop on an ironing board! There's increasing evidence - both scientific and anecdotal - that constant sitting is harming our health. Click here to read a recent BBC piece on the rise of standing in the office.
If you're lying in bed in the wee small hours, desperately trying to get to sleep, follow these Alexander tips:
A student said to me, "I think the Alexander Technique is great. The trouble is, life takes over and I forget to use it."
Here are a few simple ideas to help you build reminders into your daily life. Every time you..
It's a hoary question that no 'in a nutshell' description can ever do justice to. Alexander defined his Technique as a technique for 'the use of the self' and, elsewhere, as concerning 'the control of reaction'. Flicking through my first notebook from my days training to be an Alexander Teacher, back in 1993, I found these two summaries of the Alexander Teacher's role:
Thank you to David Gorman.
This term I've run several sessions introducing the Alexander Technique to Year 4 and 5 classes at Akiva School. It was with great delight that I popped back to class 5C this week, to see the children's lovely posters about the Alexander Technique, and the importance of taking care of their posture.
One of my students, who has found the Alexander Technique of great benefit in dealing with sciatica, recommends this book by Vidyamala Burch (Piatkus).
Working with an athlete this morning, I found myself recalling the Alexander-ish words of coach Sam Mussabini in the 1981 film 'Chariots of Fire'. Harold Abrahams (Ben Cross) has just been beaten by his Scots rival, Eric Liddle. He despairs of being able to run any faster. But Mussabini (played by Ian Holm) says he can give him 'two more strides'. He tells Abrahams to change three things:
I'm not sure if these lines have been retained in the stage adaptation, currently at London's Gielgud Theatre...