Stop doing unhelpful things

Before I discovered the Alexander Technique it had never occurred to me that ‘stopping’ was an option. I did stop at traffic lights, you’ll be relieved to know, but otherwise I was all about doing. I had back pain and my solution was to try new things ‘to do’ to manage it.

When I started the Alexander Technique, and was introduced to the writings of FM Alexander, I found I could relate to him. He had voice trouble that prevented him from doing something he loved, reciting to audiences. He had seen a doctor and been medically cleared. I had back trouble that prevented me doing things I loved, even just sitting comfortably. I had also been medically cleared. But there the similarity ended.

Faced with his difficulties Alexander asked the question ‘was it something I was doing … in using my voice that was the cause of the trouble?’ Faced with my difficulties I asked the question ‘was it something I wasn’t doing … in using my back that was the cause of the trouble?’

Superficially the two questions may appear similar. Both are assuming some self-responsibility. Both are proactive and looking to make positive change. My question, however, led me onto a treadmill of adding in new ‘rules’, ‘exercises’, ‘doings’ that were weighing me down as much as my problem and certainly not solving it.

Alexander’s question led him to discover many things. One of those things was if you are doing something that is causing your difficulties then just stop doing it. What a beautifully simple solution. I am so glad Alexander asked his question and not mine.