Alexander Technique Helps You Look Good!
Alexander Technique is a wonderful method for helping us become of aware of and change harmful habits of body and mind, which is hugely beneficial for improving posture and coordination, relieving pain (e.g. back pain, neck pain, chronic pain of various types) and enhancing the way we function generally.
One benefit though, is rarely talked about, and I actually feel hesitant to mention it. But here goes! Using the Alexander Technique improves your appearance! It helps you look good!
If we can learn to let go of a downward and inward collapse, we not only feel better, we look better too. In fact I could go as far as to say that in most cases we even look slimmer. We also look more confident and self-assured.
Conversely, if we let go of that overly arched back (often mistaken for “standing up straight”), and the inherent tension that goes with it, we present a sleeker profile too!
And even more interesting, when we try and suck in our stomach, it may indeed make that part of us look thinner, but it’s not only hard to maintain (and breathe!), it typically distorts the body in an unattractive way.
Here I’m sucking in my stomach, which does indeed make it look smaller… temporarily. I’m using so much tension to do this I can’t maintain it for long. The “sucking in” is distorting other parts of my body. My neck is tight and my shoulders have collapsed inward and I look quite tense. On the other hand my pelvis has tucked under in an unnatural way – not a great look for my behind!
Many celebrities have studied the Alexander Technique. Victoria Beckham turned to the Alexander Technique to combat her poor posture and “round-shouldered look,” fearing that “her love of lavish footwear may leave her with a hunchback look as she gets older.”
And actor Hugh Jackman, in this interview, talks about how the Alexander Technique helped him to achieve “incredibly good posture with incredible relaxation!”
If you’ve studied the Alexander Technique have you, or others, noticed improvements in your appearance?
Update: On May 27, 2013 this blog post was translated into Spanish by Victoria Stanham. If you’re more comfortable reading Spanish, check it out at: vstanhamtecnicaalexander.blogspot.com/2013/05/la-tecnica-alexander-te-ayuda-verte.html
I notice in myself and my students, when you think knees forward and hip joints back, your abdominal muscles engage. You have more front length, which feels and looks better. You gain height and your weight stays the same, so you look thinner; yet another Alexander Technique benefit.
So true! Yet for some reason we don’t seem to talk about it much! As someone just posted on Facebook in response to this blog, ” Yes, AT helps you look better. Let’s celebrate it!”
Great blog, Imogen. I once took a tape measure to a lesson with me(!), because I was so paranoid that losing my slouch made my belly stick out more. We did a before hands-on and after hands-on measurement, and I lost an inch off my waist in the process. Faster than any diet. Karen
That does sound rather paranoid, Karen 😉 But you’ve provided a great example of how we can have a faulty sense of what is happening in our bodies. Sometimes a mirror can show us what’s really happening, and in your case a tape measure!
thanks for your educative blog explaining the alexander concept.
The pictures are very reasonable to notice the alexander directions.
But, here i noticed another idea(direction) from karen’s comment.
She written, losing her slouch made her stomach stick out.
‘when the back lengthens and widens,the stomach sticks out but not IN’ .
Am i understood correctly or wrongly?
I think what Karen is saying is that although she was worried her stomach would stick out if she lost her slouch, in fact the opposite was true.
The stomach does NOT stick out when the back lengthens and widens, though it may be in a different place than it was before!
Hope that explains it for you!
i understood your comment little bit late.
The quardriceps connects to the hips at the front.
Iam hesitating to say ,
If we prevent the quadriceps, hips angle a little bit more in our daily activities while keeping the knees forward , this helps the torso to lengthen up.
Hi Imogen, you know I took AT for performance anxiety but it has so definitely helped everything, including looking better. My posture and body language is so much more relaxed and open and also pains because of this! I am more confident overall. I love AT!
Thanks, Louise. Improving your overall functioning certainly has a lot of advantages 🙂
thanks for the information provided , about the stomach and back relationship.
There are many ways how people who don’t really know me might judge my character or motives by how I “appeared to act” around them.
Learning Alexander Technique helped me to stop a leg limp that I couldn’t figure out how to lose any other way. My height increased by 3/4″ at age 27; my usual voice went down in pitch and I became less fearful and nervous around possibly judgmental strangers. A.T. taught me how to stop myself from unintentionally whispering the ends of sentences. I also learned to intentionally talk in a monotone when the conversation turned toward the possibility of someone giving me money, (instead of modulating my voice up and down as if I was telling a story. It was my habit to become more expressive when under pressure to be a salesperson – but my reactions to explain in more detail gave the mistaken impression I was lying.)
Wow – that’s impressive, Franis! It’s so fascinating the different ways AT can enhance, and even transform, our lives. Thanks so much for sharing 🙂
Do you remember the paper chinese lanterns we used to make in school, and for our kids? Sheet of paper folded in half and ‘slits’ cut in it. Open up and coil it into a long tube? (Not a very good description; hope you know what I mean already!) I use one in lessons a lot – it shows how when we lengthen, the ‘sticky out stomach’ is just gathered up in the lengthening. But that we have to let it go first – and risk a bit of a ‘bulge’ (before we lengthen) if we’ve been holding it in, and in effect shortening ourselves. It also shows how much stronger we are lengthened; when shortened, like the lantern we are very willowy and ‘weak’.
Hope this is faintly useful, Imogen. Lovely blog, thank you.
Sorry only just getting back to you, Annie! I do indeed remember the paper lanterns!! This was much more than “faintly” useful – thank so much!