Alexander Technique In The Cold
It can get pretty cold in New York City, and the Alexander Technique can help; not with the cold, but how we react to the cold. When we’re cold we tend to shorten our spines, though this is usually an unconscious action. We scrunch our necks in an effort to keep warm. It might or might not keep us warm, but it certainly doesn’t help our neck. When you scrunch your neck you shorten it, so you’re shortening your entire spine. This is no help for lower back, shoulder or neck pain.
Your neck doesn’t care that you’re cold; it just knows it’s being compressed. When you compress your neck, you’re compressing your cervical spine. If you have herniated discs, and a lot of adults do, compressing discs anywhere from the lower back to the neck is detrimental.
Many of my Alexander Technique students report that their musculoskeletal pain worsens in the cold weather, and it’s very likely the pain has increased because of shortening. It’s as if we are making ourselves a smaller target, which is also what we do when we are nervous.
One of the first directions of the Alexander Technique is to ‘free your neck’. You do this by simply reducing the excess tension in your neck. Just by letting go of this extra work in your neck helps the whole spine lengthen, increase breathing capacity, makes you taller (or in Alexandrian terms, less short) and gives an overall sense of well being. And as far as cold weather is concerned, take a scarf or two. Walk around like you’re on a hot, sunny beach!
Mark Josefsberg-Alexander Technique NYC