Help your Back

Help your back with this celebrated Alexander technique exercise. You should try and do it for 20 minutes a day if possible:

  • Lie down on your back on a firm surface with your knees up. Preferably, use an exercise mat on the floor. Don’t use a bed – it’s not firm enough.

  • Under your head you should put a small pile of books, about 5 to 10cm tall. You should feel the base of the bony part of your skull in contact with the books.

  • Put your hands gently on your stomach, a little apart, and allow your elbows to stick out at the side.

  • Now relax. Allow the floor to firmly support your back but don’t push your back into the floor. Be conscious of all the parts of your body which are in contact with the floor.

  • Be aware of your breathing, in and out. As you breathe in, air will fill your lungs, your ribs will expand outwards and sideways, and your hands will rise. As you breathe out, your ribs will return to their original position. Don’t force any of this – let it be rhythmical and natural.

  • Again, try to relax all your muscles. Think of your head being pushed away from the centre of your body.

back exercise, Alexander technique

So, it sounds relaxing – but how does it help?

In this state of relaxation, with your spine and head correctly aligned, gravity will start to realign your body to its natural state. Do the exercise often enough and the strains you have placed on your body over many years will start to disappear.

The point of the books is to keep your spine in its natural alignment. Without them, your neck would be pulled back and your head and spine would be out of alignment. If you have too many books, you will feel your chin too close to your neck and feel constricted. Experiment until it feels right.

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