Want to Change Your Body? Use Your Mind…

iStock_brain_smaller_croppedby Jeffrey Glazer Good posture, less pain, better breathing, fluid movement, even confidence; all are side effects of effective application of the Alexander Technique. You may be surprised to learn that a major key to achieving those goals lies in your thinking. The technique teaches you to utilize thought as a way of solving problems that stem from poor posture and movement habits. Since posture and movement are ultimately controlled by the brain, we can improve them by using the brain, albeit in a different way.

The key is to trust that thinking can create a positive change in the body. For example, the primary tension pattern that the Alexander Technique seeks to prevent is tightening the neck. This is because a neck that isn’t tight is essential to preventing tension in the rest of the body. To prevent tightening the neck, instead of doing something that feels like not tightening the neck, we simply think “I’m not tightening my neck.” Or, to frame it in the positive, think “neck free”.

Before sending the message to yourself to not tighten your neck, bring your attention to the area behind the forehead. Then think “I am not tightening my neck”, or “neck free” from that point. Having your full attention up high behind the forehead will help to prevent the tendency to actively use your neck muscles to create what you believe constitutes a free neck. So rather than do something, simply stick to thinking.

Furthermore, you also want to see out in front of you as you think. It can be tempting to check for an immediate result by feeling for the “right” thing, but often when we begin feeling for something we stop seeing what’s in front of us. The eyes get drawn inward and we lose touch with the environment around us. So, if you begin to feel tense, or you stop paying attention to what you are seeing, then start over. Feeling for the “right” thing will not help. Remember, the key is to trust that your thinking will have an effect. Once you begin checking for a result, or trying to do something muscularly, you’ve stopped trusting your thinking.

My suggestion is to practice sending messages to your body from the area behind your forehead. Send the message over and over again. The key is to think rather than do; the skill is to think without producing tension. Alexander Technique lessons can help you with this type of thinking, and they also give you the kinesthetic experience of what “neck free” feels like. With dedication, patience, and trust, you may be surprised at the results.

This post originally appeared on Jeffrey Glazer's blog.

[author] [author_image timthumb='on']http://www.acatnyc.org/main/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/jeffrey.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]JEFFREY GLAZER is a certified teacher of the Alexander Technique. He found the Alexander Technique in 2008 after an exhaustive search for relief from chronic pain in his arms and neck. Long hours at the computer had made his pain debilitating, and he was forced to leave his job in finance. The remarkable results he achieved in managing and reducing his pain prompted him to become an instructor in order to help others. He received his teacher certification at the American Center for the Alexander Technique after completing their 3-year, 1600 hour training course in 2013. He also holds a BS in Finance and Marketing from Florida State University. www.nycalexandertechnique.com[/author_info] [/author]