Patrick Pearson specialises in teaching the Alexander Technique to rowers. When I met him at Henley I was deeply sceptical about AT. It seemed to require being deeply in touch with what’s happening in your body – and my body and mind seem be on non-speakers. When my osteopath was inflicting unnatural contortions on me and asking, “Can you feel that release?” I’d had to confess that I’d felt diddly-squat.
But now I may have to revise my opinions. Patrick drove from Wales to Emsworth to give me an AT session, and it was a revelation. The basic principle of AT is that the mind and body are one and do not operate independently of one another. It emphasises Primary Control – a desirable, expansive, dynamic relationship between the head, neck and back, which affects all other co-ordinations and movements.
In practical terms, this means it feels damned good. I can see why the expansive relationship between head, neck and back is desirable – it felt akin to a two-hour massage. After a laying-on-of-hands, I felt taller and straighter and poised.
I became aware that most of my adult life I’ve walked around with my head crunching down towards my torso, like a tortoise. Because of the mind/body link, when my head is up and my neck relaxed but straight, I feel so much better.
Try it – it works!