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« Please Don’t Take a Deep Breath | Main | Unlock Your Body »

Move and Bend With Ease

Standing, sitting, moving, bending…these are daily activities we all do. But are you doing them in a way that creates pain in your body?

The Alexander Technique offers a great way to move and bend that promotes easefulness and creates less strain in the body. And it has a fun name: Monkey!

 Here’s what it looks like:

Now you can see why we call it monkey, right? Of course, I don’t expect you to walk around like this! But it’s a great way to practice important fundamentals of movement:

* Bend at the hip, knee, and ankle joints

* Keep your head, neck, and back integrated

* Allow your arms to be free

You can do many activities by using Monkey such as washing the dishes and picking something up off the ground. Just keep bending and using your legs to get lower. This way, your back is not strained and your arms are free to do what they need to do.

Here's how it looks picking a book from the floor:

This sounds easy and pretty obvious way to move, right?

But how often have you used this position to pick something up off the ground? 

In the second picture, I am bending at the waist and locking my knees back--and I still can't reach the book. In order to get lower, I will have to strain my back and neck tremendously.

Let me get one thing clear: the waist is not an anatomical body part! When you bend at the waist, you are actually bending at the spine. This puts severe strain on your back. Stop it!

By incorporating Monkey into how you move, you are even better able to do daily tasks such as sitting and picking up heavy objects.

Try it now:

  1. Stand up and just go ahead and bend your knees. Easy!
  2. Now, stand up again, and think about your head, neck, and back being one integrated unit. Using Alexander’s Directions, think about your neck being free, your head rising forward and up, and your back lengthening and widening. Keep this idea going…
  3. Next, as you bend your knees again, also bend at the hip joints. You can place your hands on the front of your pelvis and feel where the movement takes place. Notice that as your knees bend forward, your pelvis goes back. Joints are made for bending, use them!


OOK, let’s put this into action. Here in Connecticut in January it’s pretty snowy, and I had to shovel my driveway this morning. This could literally be back breaking work, but I have the Alexander Technique to employ! Here’s how I used Monkey to shovel snow today. 












 What are other ways you see yourself using Monkey? Please leave me a note in the comments below!



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