This is an excerpt from Interdisciplinary Arts With HKPropel Access by Suzanne Ostersmith & Kathleen Jeffs.
The next step in the warm-up includes elements drawn from Alexander Technique, a method of study founded by Frederick Matthias Alexander (“FM” Alexander) (1869-1955) that offers the opportunity to investigate the modes of study that have influenced many great performers. In his study of the body, Alexander found that overall health, as well as artistic performance, can be improved by observation and improvement of the “use of the self” (Park 1998, 7). He discussed “misuse” and “good use” in the postures and functioning of the body and was attentive to the postures and sequences of the movements we use in everyday life. Observing your physical habits and “unlearning” them by consciously applying principles of “good use” to your day-to-day operations is what Alexander Technique is all about (Lee 2002, 65). To explore your own habits, it can be instructive to take a look at how you are positioned at this very moment. What posture, or carriage, do you adopt while reading? Where is the center of weight distribution in your body? How are your face, neck, spine, and legs positioned while you read? You might find that you typically adopt more or less the same position each time you sit down to study or read. If you are a student, you might spend long periods in this same position. Simply being aware of your own habits can help you notice the thoughts and feelings that are associated with holding your body this way. Are you relaxed or anxious in this position? Can you subtly alter the way you are sitting in ways that change how you feel about what you are reading?
Write in your journal about movement habits you observe in yourself. Observe your roommate, family members, and friends, and note their carriage and posture when going about their activities.