F. M. Alexander Technique Michael Hardwicke B.Sc. PGCE STAT
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Primary Control

F.M observed that in all vertebrates there is a dynamic, ever changing relationship between head, neck and back and this he called the P.C.

F.M says, “I could not enable my pupils to control the functioning of their organs, systems or reflexes directly, but that by teaching the primary control of their use I could put them in command of the means whereby their functioning generally can be indirectly controlled “Use of the Self” (Chap-Use and Functioning in Relation to Reaction)

We (2 legged vertebrates) often interfere with this basic relationship and pull downward and experience difficulties in breathing, moving, talking etc.

The head is heavy and we tend to overly pull on it with moving muscles of the spine, muscles to the shoulder blades and to the collarbones. This creates a lack of co-ordination in the body and the shortening and narrowing of the back. The more subtle sub-occipital muscles, which can manage the head, are robbed of the opportunity.

We can learn to 1) consciously release the tendency to hold the head, and 2) by directing the head forward and up in such away that the back lengthens and widens, we allow the primary control to work. It is not a position for the head, but a dynamic relationship of head and neck and hence “directing”, not “doing.” brings about the required result.

We can help bring this process about by having
a) familiarity with the atlanto-occipital joint where the head meets the spine
b) a sense of the shape and weight of our heads and
c) experience of how easily we can manage the head and let it release.
We are encouraging a situation in activity where the weight of the head doesn’t contract the neck or shorten the spine. We “direct” so the head is releasing forwards and up, the centre of gravity is moving away from the point of pivot and we are encouraging release throughout the length of the spine.




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  Michael Hardwicke
Tel: 015395 31781

E-mail: michael@fmalexandertechnique.co.uk

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