Alexander Technique Teacher

alexander technique chair exercise


I had my first Alexander Technique lesson in 1990. I was 26 and, apart from the back pain and aching neck, thought I was in pretty good shape... little did I know!

The first thing my teacher, Katarina Diss, asked me to do was to get out of a chair. Fairly straight forward, I thought. I was a runner, swimmer, 2nd Dan black belt in Karate and also played cricket. But I was in for a shock.

Have a go at the following and see if you experience something similar to what I did.


an experiment with movement: habit and action


Alexander Technique chair exercise
1. Sit on the edge of your seat.

2. Now think about getting up, and see what you do to get ready.


Did you do any of the following?

a) Put your hands on your knees, ready to push.
b) Tighten your lower back.
c) Pull you head back.
d) Hold your breath.
e) Push your chest forward.

Did you know all of the above actions, actually make the simple act of getting
out of a chair harder than it should be?

Alexander Technique standing
3. Now move to stand and note exactly when these unnecessary preparatory actions come into play.

Did you feel it wasn't possible to get out of your chair without first getting set?

Yet if you made any of these preparations, you were making hard work of it.
Your movement is not as efficient as it could be, and as a result, you're placing undue stress on your muscles and joints.

So why aren't we aware of this?

Shouldn't our body tell us when we're not moving efficiently? Well actually they do, it just takes a while for the aches and pains to start - then we notice!

4. Now that you're armed with this knowledge, have another go at standing and see if you can do so without getting set using the above actions.

Find it difficult?

This is all due to habit. In my Alexander Technique lesson, I found it impossible to even think of getting up, without first getting ready. My mind refused to believe I could do it, without the effort and actions I associated with the activity. It's a bit like revving your engine as the traffic light turns green.

This is just getting out of a chair. I soon realised I used poor muscle habits for everything I did! Whether I was standing, sitting, running, competing or even walking - I was adding stress where it wasn't needed.

And the bad news - it was getting gradually worse. The more I moved poorly, the better I got at doing things badly, and the more my neck, back and shoulders ached!

I'd had many sessions of physiotherapy, chiropractic and osteopathy. I'd spent a ridiculous amount of time on corrective exercises. But although I got some relief - it was short-lived.

Because, no amount of strengthening exercises or treatment will change habits!

As soon as I went back to my daily activities and sport, I put all the pieces back into place for more misery.

But the good news - it's possible to undo the bad habits, relearn poise and efficient movement.

And The Alexander Technique is the only method to my knowledge that can do exactly this!

If you'd like me to assess your movement and posture, please contact me today to discuss your requirements.