Get in line with technique
BEING fully submerged in the modern age now, it is ironic that we appear to be taking a backward step on Darwin’s Evolution of Man chart.
Due to technological advances, many of us sit hunched over computers and steering wheels all day leading to appalling posture and minimal movement.
But the Alexander Technique, a fairly unknown method, offers a remedy to correct bad habits and therefore improve both health and performance.
The only STAT (Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique) registered teacher in the island is Sue Rotheram who runs Posture Plus in Patrick.
She moved to the island from North Yorkshire in October but has been visiting students here for several years.
The horse rider who worked as a school teacher for 20 years said: ‘What first drew me to the Alexander Technique was an article in a riding magazine which said how useful it was for horse riders. I started having lessons to improve my riding position but soon realised other benefits. And that planted the seed for me to teach it.’
The technique was developed in the 1890s by Frederick Alexander, an Australian actor who worried his hoarse voice would end his career. He worked out he was straining his vocal organs through tension in his entire neuromuscular system.
‘The technique is partly hands on,’ explained Sue, whose great-great grandfather was Manx, ‘I can feel where there is tension or problems. But the other part is just making people aware and then showing them how to change. However, Alexander discovered when he corrected a position or movement he was over-compensating and therefore creating another bad habit. So instead of doing something he just thought about doing it. Even by thinking a movement the brain sends a message to that muscle.’
She said: ‘Most problems stem from overusing some muscles and neglecting others. As the imbalance is corrected, you adopt a more effortless upright posture and you stop slouching. The technique can be used in everyday life and to improve performance in professions including sport, music and acting.
‘Through experience and observation you learn how your co-ordination works, how you create tension and how you can prevent or release it.
‘You can improve difficulties with co-ordination and movement; joint and muscle problems; breathing disorders and stress-related conditions. It can enhance rehabilitation after operations, injury or illness and provide support through pregnancy. You can become really alert, balanced, relaxed, focused, effective and confident.’
She added: ‘People normally start to think about their posture when they’re old and getting twinges but I’m starting to see younger people suffering with back issues. And I’m hoping some doctors will refer people to me. STAT research shows the Alexander Technique is more cost effective in treating back pain than medication.’
Sue owns a British warmblood horse called Charlotte and has particular experience of using the technique with horse riders. She said: ‘I use the technique everyday when I’m riding. I’m not a riding instructor or trainer of horses, I’m purely looking at the rider’s position and breathing. If you have an imbalance you will be transferring that to the horse.’
She gives one-to-one sessions, introductory talks and workshops to clients of all ages at her studio as well as in Ramsey, Andreas and at Glebe Farm Stables in St Marks.
The first session is £35 and subsequent lessons are £30. Taster sessions lasting 20 minutes cost £5. Call 457526, email email@example.com or visit www.posture-plus.co.uk
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Weather for Isle of Man
Thursday 23 May 2013
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