I’ve had bad posture for decades, and it just seemed to get worse over the years. I had visions of myself turning into one of the bent old hunched professors I see walking around campus. I had heard about the Alexander Technique maybe twenty years ago and thought about trying it, but never did. I guess I believed I could improve my posture on my own by sheer willpower. And over the years I made a real effort to do just that–can’t remember how many times “Improve My Posture” was at the top of my New Year’s Resolution list. I tried yoga, pilates, intense abdominal and core workouts, standing desks, seat wedges, ergonomic chairs, plain old forcing myself to stand up straight, all that stuff. But the good posture never lasted. Forcing myself to stand up straight just eventually got exhausting, and I’d stop. It just felt too unnatural.
Then I started reading and listening to more stuff on Alexander technique and was surprised to discover that Alexander believed that the forced straight posture that we all think of as good posture actually IS unnatural. That’s why forcing ourselves into so-called good posture is so hard to maintain and never really solves posture or pain issues. I was fascinated by the idea that what we actually need to do is undo our bad habits and that we do this, in part, by becoming aware of what we are doing with our body and learning to release unnecessary tension that we carry around with us.
So I found an instructor in the area, and it was Itsuko. From the first lesson Itsuko was fantastic. She had very good awareness and insight into what I was doing with my body, seeing things I wasn’t aware of at the time, and she was incredibly good at conveying that understanding to me by helping me become aware of what was actually going on with my body as I sat, stood, and moved around.
I learned to actually feel the tension that I’d unknowingly been carrying around, and I learned how to release it. I’ve learned how to feel the way I am using my body so that I can use it in a more healthy and natural way. It’s been an amazing learning experience. I actually think it’s quite profound. My posture has improved tremendously, and I am really thankful to Itsuko for all she has taught me.