Mindfulness and Magic Mushrooms
If you ask Google “What is the Alexander Technique?” the answer is “A system designed to promote well-being by retraining one's awareness and habits of posture to ensure minimum effort and strain.”
Looking at the top ten search results I can see the word “posture” several times but I can’t see the word “awareness”. We Alexander teachers all believe in mind-body unity – that there is no separation between mind and body – so why is there so little about the mental side of it? And why is the Alexander Technique well-known mainly for the physical benefits, when the “founder” of the Technique, FM Alexander, said it is “the most mental thing ever discovered”?
Most of my clients come to me for physical reasons – they want better posture, or to “free up” their body, or they want help with back- or neck-pain. I find the best way to free up their body and improve their posture is to switch on their awareness; to expand their consciousness. And once their bodies are “freed up” and they are moving more naturally, and they stop “using” themselves in habitual ways that cause damage, their aches and pains start to disappear. But these physical changes start with changing their awareness; making them more mindful of themselves, their surroundings and their activities.
You can get better posture and a freed-up body anywhere. Posture is not what is unique about Alexander. I wrote in my book ‘The Alexander Technique will give you better posture, but so will yoga and Pilates. Your physiotherapist or your osteopath can give you advice on improving your posture, and so can your mum: “Stand up straight! Pull your shoulders back!”’
What is unique about Alexander is the combination of mental and physical benefits, and for me and many of my clients the “mental” benefits far outweigh the ”physical”. Alexander has given me the higher state of consciousness that thirty-something years ago I could get only by taking magic mushrooms.
Why would anyone seek out something that only improves their posture when they could learn the Alexander Technique and get improved posture and a body so light they can’t feel it and a more conscious mind?
This video demonstrates how expanding one’s consciousness, becoming more three-dimensionally mindful, results in improved posture, a light and easy body, and freedom and movability.