Use The Alexander Technique Shortcuts
There are so many Alexander Technique directions, or verbal cues, it would be impossible to list them all. In fact, many of them have yet to be formulated, because Alexander Technique teachers will think of them in the moment, for situations as they arise.
Directions may be universal such as: ‘let your neck be free’, ‘let your torso lengthen and widen’, or, very specific such as: ‘let your fingers gently wrap around the drumsticks’, ‘think of the guitar pick as an extension of your fingertips’ ‘hold the knitting needles with the minimum amount of tension’.
Some directions may be quite lengthy, so shortcuts enable the Alexander Technique to be more practical in our daily lives.
For example, there is a procedure, or an Alexander Technique exercise, called ‘hands on the back of the chair’ (HOBC).
Let’s say you are doing HOBC while seated. You may want to start with the primary Alexander Technique direction to allow your neck to be free, so that your head can rotate forward and up. Let your torso lengthen and widen. Let your entire torso- front, back, and sides, move as you breath. Allow your sit bones to release down into the chair.
Pivot forward using only your hip joints as hinges. Then let one hand at a time move towards the rail of the back of the chair in front of you. Initiate the movement by thinking of leading with your fingertips. Use the least amount of tension as possible. Use your biceps or shoulders minimally. Once your hand reaches the chair rail, lightly grip the chair with your fingers opposing your thumb. All your fingers are pointing straight down. Think of your elbows going back and down, opposing your wrists. Think of the wrists moving towards each other as you gently think of pulling the chair apart.
These are just a few general, generic directions for HOBC. (Alexander Technique teachers help you with the details.) This Alexander Technique exercise has practical applications, and you could use aspects of HOBC every time you move your hands towards a computer keyboard, or anywhere else.
Combine all these directions and call it ‘HOBC thinking’. Anytime we move our hands, which is 5,263 times a day, we can use aspects of HOBC thinking as we move our fingertips towards anything. HOBC thinking helps us move our hands easily and effortlessly, reducing stress and pain.
This same idea can be applied to full natural breathing, shortcutting another Alexander Technique procedure (the whispered ah), and calling it ‘whispered ah thinking.’
This idea can be applied to the Alexander Technique in general, the shortcut being ‘Alexander Technique’.
Some students have suggested the following shortcuts for the Alexander Technique directions: Up, AT, free your neck, and breathe.
Do you have any shortcuts for any aspect of Alexander Technique work?
Mark Josefsberg-Alexander Technique NYC