F. M. Alexander Technique Michael Hardwicke B.Sc. PGCE STAT
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Inner work consists of being able to consciously release your structure and direct it as instructed to do on the course. The ability to do this will increase with time and practice. At first you may feel like you can only concentrate on your work and have no awareness of what is going on in your neck or back etc., but with time and practice and perhaps further Alexander tuition (courses or lessons) you will find that you can attend both to your self and the job in front of you.

One important way to increase this ability is to take some time for semi-supine practice, which you have learned on the course. If it is not practical to do this at work during your lunch-time - give your self 10-15minutes to do it when you get home.

It is important to understand that what you are doing is expanding your awareness/attention so that you do not narrow to your tasks. This inner work may also be helped by frequently moving around even if only for a turn around your chair.

Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) is as much to do with inner holding patterns as it is to do with the management of your desk furniture etc. It is also worth noting that RSI-type symptoms in wrists and fingers can often be traced to what is happening in the spine. In fact Alexander Technique Teachers often find that many symptoms in people's outer framework such as back tension, hip, knee and shoulder strain or breathing problems, are due to not letting the natural spinal upward reflex work. So it is vital that your main task is to avoid interfering with the natural lengthening of your spine.

The office set up.
For a good set-up you need a chair with sufficient height and tilt to enable you to hinge (i.e. fold forwards) towards your desk without losing the natural lengthening of your spine. A good set-up also requires that your hands will reach the keyboard/mouse/telephone etc. without losing the width across the tops of your arms.

The height of the computer monitor will also need to be adjusted to accommodate your particular head, neck, back relationship. It is preferable to have your feet on the floor, heels and toes, with 'knees going forward and away' and to be able to use the contact of your feet as a reminder to practice detecting unnecessary tension in your body.

There are various strategies that enable you to prevent the screen from gobbling your attention. You can: use photographs, mirrors, etc. that will expand your attention; get up and take a turn around your chair; change the lay-out on your desk at intervals, especially the position of the mouse and phone. A headset is best if you use the phone frequently.

Remember, you have evolved over millions of years with a structure that works really well in expansive situations (wider perspectives). So if you become conscious of the narrowing attitude that the office tends to cause, you need not become a casualty of it.

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  Michael Hardwicke
Tel: 015395 31781

E-mail: michael@fmalexandertechnique.co.uk

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