A good colleague is leaving town and my wife and I are having a farewell dinner with her and her husband at the swankiest place in town. Jim, we’ll call him, my colleague’s husband, not a teacher of the Alexander Technique, says, “it’s amazing,” and he wasn’t talking about the meal. Amazing, he says, that just 5 minutes ago I realized that I was pulling my legs into my torso, making myself uncomfortable. I released them, let the legs come away from my torso. Now, Jim says, they’re right back where they were, pulled in like mad. (Sorry, that’s what passes for conversation in some crowds.) The hips, you see, are an accretor of tension. (I owe someone for the use of the word “accretor.” Who?) If we protect, armor our selves at no other place, we do so at the hips. It can be a vicious circle, armoring that begins to feel natural, and more armoring to provide the requisite sense of control. I propose rather, a virtuous circle, hips freeing, legs letting away from the torso, and voice freeing. What? Yes, those colonized legs, those immobile hips, impede our breathing, make it impossible for the floor of the pelvis to descend as we breathe, for in a full exchange of the breath, it must do just that. As we free the hips, the entire torso becomes actuated, the voice becomes more beautifully resonant, and as the voice becomes more beautifully resonant, that freedom, in turn, engenders freedom of the hips. They play into one another, create a virtuous circle. It is the sweet spot of Alexander work. Free the hips, free the breath, free the voice – let it speak the body entire – free the hips, free your self. The virtuous circle.
The Alexander Technique and the Virtuous Circle
by admin | Nov 17, 2013 | Meeting | 4 comments
I freed my legs as I read this. Freeing the muscles surrounding the hip joints, thereby freeing the psoas muscles, positively affects the diaphragm, breathing, voice, on and on.
Of course, Mark. A very crucial piece of the puzzle. Thanks a ton.
I just tried this – and yes – my breathing becomes easier immediately. And neck freer. And the back longer and wider. I actually do this a lot before teaching – but I have never really thought about why, or analysed it. I do it because it calms me. Now I know why! Thanks for this, Alan.
Magdalena, thank you. so glad this works for you. It has been an important piece of my work. Thanks again for the confirmation.