Alexander Technique and breathing
The Alexander Technique presents a holistic approach for improving posture, movement, and overall well-being. Developed by F.M. Alexander in the late 19th century, Alexander Technique focuses on re-educating the mind and body to optimize movement and coordination. One fundamental aspect of the Alexander Technique is the relationship of breathing to the whole person and their functioning.
Breathing plays a vital role in physical and emotional well-being. It is an automatic process, yet it can be influenced by habits, tensions, and postural imbalances.
Breath and optimal functioning
The Alexander Technique recognises the significance of efficient breathing for optimal functioning of the body and mind. By becoming aware of our breathing patterns, we can make conscious adjustments to enhance our overall health and performance.
In the Alexander Technique, breathing is not seen as a separate action but rather as an integral part of whole-body coordination. It emphasises the importance of a balanced and unrestricted expansion of the ribcage during inhalation and a gentle release during exhalation. By allowing the breath to flow freely, you can alleviate unnecessary tension and improve your overall posture and movement.
Alexander Technique and Breathing
Through Alexander Technique practices, individuals learn to release habitual patterns of tension that restrict the breath. They become aware of the connection between their thoughts, emotions, and breathing patterns. By letting go of unnecessary muscular effort and allowing easy breathing, you can achieve a state of calmness and increased body awareness.
The Alexander Technique offers specific guidance to help individuals develop a more natural and efficient way of breathing. This may involve lying down, sitting, or standing in various positions to explore the coordination of the breath with the whole body.
By incorporating the Alexander Technique into daily life, you can experience benefits such as improved respiratory function, reduced stress, and anxiety, enhanced vocal expression, and increased overall vitality. The technique serves as a valuable tool for anyone seeking to cultivate a healthier relationship with their breath and enhance their physical and mental well-being.
CO2 and gaseous exchange
How does breathing work?
accurate position of lungs
Action of the diaphragm
By becoming consciously aware of the position of the lungs, the actions of the ribs and the diaphragm, the Alexander Technique student can begin to discriminate where undue tension is interfering with their breath.
Rather than using breathing exercises, which can add to tension and confusion around breathing, the Alexander student learns to inhibit neural tension patterns. As inappropriately tensed muscles let go around the rib cage, chest, upper back and diaphragm, breathing can change to an easy pattern of greater volume and movement, without effort.
Alexander is holistic. This means that the student will consider the relationship of the breath to freedom in the legs, arms, abdomen, neck and to postural tonus.
Mistaken conceptions of where the lungs are, what the movement of the breath should be, deep breathing, diaphragmic breathing, rib swing breathing all lead people into held and rigid thoracic relationships.
Alexander teaching allows the student to discover these errors for themselves, and in so doing, they accrue a confident knowledge of their breathing ability, scope and volume.
This confidence is attractive and useful to musicians, singers, actors and people with breathing health issues.