Musings on Alexander’s Directions

"Allow the neck to be free

To allow the head to move forward and up

To allow the back to lengthen and widen

To allow the knees to release forward and away"

One key aspect of using the directions in Alexander lessons is to understand how they are intended to work. Thinking is the essence of the Alexander Technique, and this thinking influences our whole being. We often observe the muscular changes, but changes occur at every level.

I am always refining, re-inventing, and re-imagining how these directions are meant to be applied, and I found an envelope where I jotted down my musings about this. I didn’t date the envelope, but I would bet good money it’s been sitting on my desk for somewhere between 5 and 8 years.

Here is what I wrote:

* Consider what happens if you think about what the primary directions mean rather than trying to or wanting to make them happen in your body.

* Consider what you are preventing when you are thinking the directions.

* Do you continue to send your orders (directions) when you observe you are tightening your neck, or inhibiting your habitual response to a stimulus? That is the most crucial time to give the orders: when you know your are tightening your neck and pulling your head back and down.

The art of thinking in this way is a skill, that requires time and refinement. And while you are exploring these directions, there’s a good chance you will be accessing change and refinement in your system, particularly as you explore what it means to THINK, not DO these instructions.