Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Alexander Technique: Back Lengthening and Widening Exercise

Public seating can be a painful challenge as it’s rarely designed well. As good as our own personal ergonomic setups may be and as much as we try to be aware of and maintain good posture, sometimes life puts us in situations where it’s simply not possible to maintain comfortable, proper alignment. I just spent five long days in hotel conference chairs, and they were back breakers.
An active rest exercise from Alexander Technique gives us a good way to relax and counteract the damage to our spines. All you need to do it is some empty, firm floor space. Do not perform this exercise on a cushioned surface like your bed. I also recommend that you get a thin pillow (no more than 2″ thick) to place under your head as the back of your head is generally slightly forward of the back of your back when you are in good posture, however, you can still do this exercise without a pillow.
  1. Lie down on the floor, face up and head on your pillow if you are using one.
  2. Bend your legs to about 90 degrees by raising your knees and bringing your heels closer to your bottom. Make sure to keep your knees and ankles in-line with each other and feet flat on the floor. In this position you should feel that your knees point easily toward the sky without requiring any overt effort to keep them from splaying outwards or inwards. Hint: repositioning your feet slightly inwards or outwards can help with balance.
  3. Bend your elbows and place your hands on either side of your stomach. Keep a straight line from elbows to fingertips and do not allow your wrists to bend.
  4. Now breath and feel each muscle in your body relax.
  5. Once you are good and relaxed pay extra special attention to the feeling of your back lengthening from tailbone to head and widening from shoulder to shoulder.
You can do this exercise for as short or as long as you like, but 10-15 minutes is good benchmark.
Even if you aren’t feeling any stiffness or tension along your back and neck, this is a great exercise to do often. Gravity compresses our spines throughout the day, and this exercise helps unwind them. Doing this exercise for 10-15 minutes mid day will help you recharge and finish the day strong.

1 comment:

  1. Alexander technique means focussing on making the body and its core muscles stronger. This technique is for all ages. Some do this if someone has lower back pain, neck pain, osteo-arthritis etc. It has many benefits. For more details on it, refer Alexander technique benefits