Alexander Technique Steven Hallmark - 0793513524 - Stockholm T-Fridhemsplan

What is correct posture and why is it important?

All human beings learn from an early age to balance on their two feet (often one foot!). We have evolved our balance against the downward pull of gravity. Ideally, we achieve it in a way that we become both mobile and secure; we are poised. We are ready to act or react and can do so without fear of falling*. The result of this evolution is that we are extremely adaptable and skilful. 

We can adapt wrongly too. Our balance can take the form of too much effort in some muscle groups and too little effort in others, so that we lose our overall shape. This becomes our habitual or characteristic way of standing and moving and we are therefore unconscious of it. Until, that is, we become aware of pain or irritation from wear and tear or for example inadequate breathing. This can manifest itself in unwanted emotional reactions; some experience excessive insecurity or anxiety resulting from the "fear of falling". 

Our postural mechanisms have evolved adequately to provide support for our vital processes of breathing, digestion and blood circulation and to ensure an efficient use of our nervous system. Alexander lessons aim to optimize the operation of these basic functions through practical understanding of our posture. In this way Alexander lessons contribute to preventing disease and injury.

The importance of the ability to use bipedal stance and gait cannot be underestimated in everyday life. Bipedal stance is learned during childhood and constantly adapted to changing circumstances throughout life. Failure to attain and maintain the control of upright posture can have catastrophic consequences. Among elderly in Sweden, deaths related to falls are 10 times more common than to traffic accidents . Postural competence needs to be recovered in a multitude of illness, in developmental disorders as well as in age related decreasing function.”

Dr Fredrik Tjernström
Faculty of Medicine, Lund University: Doctoral Dissertation Series 2009:73
* Professor Raymond A. Dart, discoverer of Australopithecus Africanus (the so-called “Missing link”) said: “Man is the creature of fear! in other words, he is the most fearful (in every sense of that word) just as he is the most fearless of all animals. This is because he has become the most nearly tip-toed of all the two footed or bipedal creatures. His walking is a constant, precarious process of saving himself from falling. So the primary fear to overcome is his fear of falling”. 

An Anatomists Tribute to F Matthias Alexander, Raymond A. Dart, Sheildrake Press, 1970