Invigorating to spiritual practices, the Alexander Technique can bring an expanded consciousness to the entire self.
At the core of the Alexander Technique is the somatic principle that the connections and interactions between the mind, body and spirit are creating the Self.
In the practice of sitting (zazen) we are instructed to “Just sit upright.” For most of us, the instinctive reaction to this stimulus is to stiffen up or brace, fixing the joints and not allowing full three-dimensional breath in the process. This can lead to pain, discomfort or stress which does not serve our goals. The Alexander Technique teaches us to initiate a conscious direction that leads to sitting upright without fixing, keeping all the joints as open and free as possible, beginning with the head/neck joint at the top of the spinal column.
In the practice of Yoga, the Alexander Technique brings the concept of allowing the self to organize in an asana around the condition of non-doing. The indirect approach of allowing the whole self to respond to a position of the body increases the balance of body, mind, spirit. By applying the Alexander Technique to the practice of Yoga, impediments to progress can be observed and overcome, the student’s practice is enriched and the work toward wholeness of body, mind and self can be greatly enhanced.
“In Spiritual work we are engaged in the process of increasing our capacity to perceive, tolerate, accept and eventually celebrate the energy in our systems, and the system at large. The more we can stabilize ourselves in a spacious and grounded condition, the less reactive our ego structures will be, and the more we will be open to the potential of the present moment. F.M. Alexander’s work and his gift to us is a completely practical technique to encourage these qualities within everyday life.” (Brian Tracy)
Spiritual seekers are attempting to be present to the divine in all areas of life, to embody wholeness of being during life’s challenges and joys.
What Alexander teachers call “Direction” can be understood by spiritual seekers as life force. When we are present to the life force/the divine, when we allow the life force to move us, when we get out of the way with our preconceived ideas about how things should be, we allow ourselves to experience the freedom and ease we are meant to experience, as spiritual beings in our human bodies.
A lovely article by Lisa Montanarelli about her experience learning Alexander Technique from Hope Martin at Shambala in Atlanta.