For the Hobblers Out There

“Moving through life with freedom and ease” is a line often used in ITM Alexander Technique marketing material.

If you’re struggling with an injury or chronic condition, and so moving without very much freedom or ease at all, that little slogan might really rub salt into your wounds.

It's possible to over-promise what the Alexander Technique can offer.  It can’t cure disease or eradicate injury (though some naughty people talk it up as though it can). 

This doesn’t mean it’s not worth bothering to pursue Alexander’s work. You’re likely to do very much better with it than without. On a bad day, though it may not feel like it, following the particular thinking processes of the technique absolutely will help you handle your difficult condition more easily. 

When a ‘friend of mine’ (ahem) is having a particularly vicious inflammatory arthritic flare-up (and after getting over the sulky outrage which serves no useful purpose whatsoever), she goes back to basics; reasoning out how she can start from scratch, gently, with every move (physical or mental) she makes. It makes an enormous difference.

When you feel like a counter on a snakes and ladders board that’s been shot back down to square one, all you can do is surrender to the reality of the situation and then begin again, slowly.  Well, F.M. Alexander's brother A.R. did say that "it is necessary to go slowly.”

So the Alexander Technique doesn’t promise sunshine, rainbows and kittens. It's not about reaching nirvana and being disappointed with anything less.  It’s rather about sticking to a mental discipline that will help you do a little better…then a little better still… and so on; realistic, practical help with working out whatever’s most useful in each moment and each circumstance. 

Even if you are in the SASH Club (Studying Alexander, Still Hobbling) this work still makes life more tolerable. If ever they go awry and you feel as though you’re getting nowhere, or even going backwards, perhaps a more comforting slogan would be “Moving through life with more freedom and ease.”  Or how about, “Playing a crappy hand with greater equanimity;” or even just plain, “Doing better”? That’s a technique worth studying.