How are you supposed to read without collapsing forward? Doesn’t the book draw you down into it? Is there a way to read without compressing your spine, or holding it rigidly upright?
Here in NYC a lot of us spend a good deal of time on the subway. We all seem to be carrying bags, briefcases, and packs of all types. Although these can be a pain (literally) to carry around, they can make great book/newspaper/magazine holders.
If you prop up your forearm and hand on one of these bags, you’re bringing the reading closer to your eyes. This helps reduce the angle, requiring you to lean over less. This makes it easier to think about Alexander’s directions. You can ‘lean over’ by collapsing forward and down into the book, or you can simply use your hip joints, pivot forward, and leave your spine alone.
If you’re reading in your house or apartment, you have even more choices. Now you can lean the book on a table. You might also put pillows on your lap and prop the book up that way.
Whether you choose to use a prop or not, think of the Alexander Technique primary directions. An Alexander teacher will help you understand these, both intellectually and kinesthetically.
Alexander’s primary directions:
I wish to free my neck so that
my head can go forward and up so that
my torso can lengthen and widen
and my legs can move away from my torso
and my shoulders can release out the sides.
When you look down, think of pivoting your head from the top of the spine, which is higher up than we usually imagine. Think of a rod going through your head at the level of you ear holes, and pivot your head down and up from there, without collapsing your neck forward. Don’t forget to use your eyes to look down. Look at the kid in the picture checking out the used motorcycles. He’s showing us why the Alexander Technique is considered a re-education process.
Mark Josefsberg-Alexander Technique NYC