We humans are always falling and up-righting ourselves.
Gravity makes us fall, and ideally we capture the force of our falling and our innate up-righting system kicks in and sends us back upwards.
But lack of awareness and habits lead us to falling backwards. When we fall even slightly backwards, we add muscular holding to stay upright. When we lean back in chairs or stand with our weight on our heels, our bodies respond by adding muscular effort. Although this extra effort is small, it causes an ongoing tightness and compression of the spine that is outside our conscious awareness. Eventually these holding habits feel normal to us and usually we don’t bother about them until we feel pain or discomfort.
In the Alexander Technique, we bring into awareness our good falling, straight down through the bones, or even slightly forward, which activates our plantar muscles, then up the powerful leg muscles, up to the deep muscles of the spine and up to an easy head balance. These are our innate postural reflexes that work best when interfered with least.
We learn to un-do the excess effort, and to balance and re-balance rather than fixing ourselves into one “right position.” In sitting, standing and moving we begin to restore the poise we were born to experience.