We could define health as “The body’s ability to constructively deal with all the stresses to which it is subjected”. As I discovered, the Alexander Technique can be a powerful tool for tackling depression by giving concrete help on a day to day level. There is no sensation or emotion that is not translated into a muscular response of some kind; these feeling states are the primary bases of our habitual postures and our individual patterns of behaviour. In terms of alleviating the ubiquitous stresses and tensions of everyday life it simply does not matter whether we start to allow our minds to calm down and allow that to spread out into our muscles, or whether on the other hand, we can begin to allow the release of tension that we experience with the Technique to allow that same mental quietness.
Problems may appear to be confined or to be operating solely on the mental level but a large part of the problem is that because we give so much precedence to the intellect these mental routes and paths are all exhausted or over familiar. The patterns are laid down and it can appear that there are no more avenues to explore. We suffer from ennui and the feeling of being trapped at the same time. Because words are not the language of the body all the well-known stories and limitations that we tell ourselves can be sidestepped as we can learn to see and experience ourselves in a new way. In my own case I noticed that when I was able to release my physical holding patterns so my mental and emotional constrictions were correspondingly freer. I was able to gain a new Perspective on my situation, life became a richer experience when I was feeling and Perceiving on more than one level at once.
We don’t claim that the Alexander Technique is a universal panacea for every kind of ailment, simply that our feelings and emotions are so intimately connected with our behavioural and psychological habits that working in this way through the body can be part of the healing process, it may not be the whole part, but it IS a part. For me, at any rate it added a new dimension, a new Possibility; I discovered that learning how I could use my body with lightness and efficiency opened up new realms of Potentials that I had not previously known had existed.
Listen to a podcast with Daska, “How the Alexander Technique can help with Depression”:
Daska Hatton is an Alexander Technique teacher in London, England. She is the first person to take up my Parade of “P”s – Take Your Pick challenge. Thank you Daska – and I hope there will be many more! You can contact me through this Contact Page.