FMF: Five Minutes from Frances - Standing for Long Spells


1. Though we always work ‘in activity’ in ITM Alexander Technique lessons, we don't address specific issues like lower back problems directly but work to general principles, addressing root causes indirectly.  I’m always happy to explain about what is meant by this if you’d like to know more please contact me.

2. These ‘FMF’ blogs are NO substitute for actual experience in a lesson, and they are NOT any kind of fixed protocols or drills; no activity you perform is ever quite the same and you may need to address it differently each time, so the best thing is to think 'first time every time' and work it out afresh. It can certainly never hurt to give a little thought to how you’re doing what you’re doing!


The whole notion of standing usually carries with it an idea of being in a ‘position’ or ‘posture’.  Both of these are static concepts which could do with being chucked out, for starters. Just because you’re standing doesn’t mean you have to be locking, holding or fixing yourself in one configuration. The more you hold yourself like this, the more jammed up you get.  This gets tiring - and long-term, perhaps even damaging.


1: Are you totally immobile during those long spells?  Do you only shift and start moving after you start to feel uncomfortable? This may sound obvious, but we’re all susceptible to getting so involved in what we’re doing that we don’t notice we’re seizing up...

Suggestion: try stepping away – even just for a few seconds - from what you’re doing and move around the room every few minutes if you possibly can.  Take a couple of steps on the spot.  You could even set a timer to remind you.  

2: ‘Swayback’. Ladies in particular often like standing with knees locked.  This pushes the pelvis forward a little, creating a need to lean the torso backwards (arching) to balance the weight, which in turn makes for proper squash and pressure down in the lumbar spine. Suggestion: just imagine your head starting to ‘float’ (don’t actively drive or ‘put’ your head up, just ‘allow it’ up) and soften your knees. How’s that now?  What do you notice?  Anything different? Does it seem a little odd? A bit wobbly and unstable, even? Quite possibly! That's what doing things differently often feels like.  But you may just have ‘unlocked’ yourself a bit and allowed a bit of flexibility. It’s really good not to be stuck in one ‘position’; we’re made to move.  

This is really important: if you DON'T notice anything different, please don't despair.  Never worry about the outcome.  Just keep on doing the thinking.  It's the process of this thinking that is the important thing and it's the process that will truly help you, over time.  It may not happen immediately or terribly quickly. You're training your mind.

3: Favouring one leg.  Do you stand with one leg straight and the other one bent - and if you do, do you kind of let your hip drop down on the bent leg side?  This creates wonkiness in your spine and pressure down one side that will start to create discomfort after a while and bigger problems the longer you continue. 

Suggestion: try simply standing with your weight more evenly balanced.   


These are only three suggestions.  As everyone is different, there may of course be other things going on that I haven’t covered here and which without seeing you I won’t speculate upon. 

Have a bit of fun experimenting.  Hope that helps. Please let me know how you get on.  If you’d really like the best kind of help with this activity, get in touch for some lessons.

If you have another activity for which you’d like a Five Minutes from Frances, please feel free to ask.

Love, Frances

Photo by Photo by Paolo Nicolello on Unsplash

I actually couldn't find a photo of someone standing without doing 2 or 3 above! Hence Cyril the Squirrel - who, OK, may actually be sitting, but at least he's pretty balanced and poised to move in a nano-second, should he so wish...