Heather Stegmaier, M.AmSAT

Get Started Here!

Contact Heather now for a free phone or email consultation.



Blog Index

Sign up for the newsletter! Get free tips and updates every month.

* indicates required

Entries in teacher's hands (1)


Unlock Your Body

Habits are really hard to break. This is true of any type of habit, even habits of movement. One of the most common movement habits I see in people is when the body holds itself into place. I call this ‘lock down mode’.

Lock down mode is when your body holds itself in position, and usually feels like this: 

Head back and down

Jaw set 

Neck tight

Shoulders up and narrow

Arms held tight to the body

Knees locked back and hips locked forward

Any of these sound familiar?

Try this now:

Stand up and sit down a few times. Notice how your body moves. Don’t try to change anything, just go about standing and sitting your normal way.

As you come to standing, do you have two stands? I know that sounds crazy, but think about it…when you stand up, do you come to standing and then immediately ‘set yourself’? If so, that means that you are standing twice. There’s the act of standing up and then setting into standing.

This second stand is an example of lock down mode. It may not seem like much, but it is really leaving you no room for change. Lock down mode keeps you in your habitual state. If you experience any type of chronic pain or tension, this is not a great state to be in.

Lock down mode also provides a false sense of security. It’s the body's way of bracing itself against the world. It’s an unconscious defense mechanism—and totally a reaction based in fear.

The Alexander Technique provides powerful tools to get you out of lock down mode.

Here’s how:

1) Bring the mind into the picture

Yes, lock down mode is a physical habit, and as we all know habits are hard to break. When it comes to the body, it’s easy to forget about the mind, but the mind is key to facilitating change. 

Inhibition and Direction are the paramount cognitive skills of the Alexander Technique. The mind piece of mind/body. Inhibition is a way of thinking that sends messages to your body to stop. By inserting a pause not only are you able to stop a habit in its place, you are also giving yourself an opportunity to make a conscious choice about movement. Directing is a way of turning on the part of your brain that orients you in space. By directing you are able to expand and lengthen continuously, which is the exact opposite of lock down mode!

2) Experience Change First Hand

Human touch is tremendously powerful. The Alexander Technique incorporates this powerful tool in a gentle way. When you take a private lessons in the Alexander Technique, the teacher will use gentle hands-on work to help you get unstuck and out of lock down mode. The purpose is two-fold. As Missy Vineyard explains, the teacher’s hands “convey an experience to the students…the student experiences a gentle contact that lightly supports, guides, energizes, expands, and informs how the student moves. Second, the teacher’s hands feel what the student does to his body: how he moves and reacts…” Therefore, the hands-on work in a private lesson is really a conversation between student and teacher. [1]

These powerful tools make the Alexander Technique a unique and powerful practice in which the teacher helps the student come out of lock down mode and into a lighter more expansive way of being.

I want to hear from you! What is your version of lock down mode? Have you experienced the Alexander Technique? If so, how did the power of touch inform your experience? Please leave a comment below.

[1] Vineyard, Missy. How You Stand, How You Move, How You Live. (New York: Marlowe & Company, 2007), 243.