Alexander Technique Yoga

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The Alexander technique in yoga involves the retraining of muscle movements so that certain bodily actions no longer cause pain. Find out about the Alexander technique for yoga with help from a yoga expert in this free video clip.

Part of the Video Series: Yoga Exercises and Training
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Video Transcript

Hi there, I'm Jennifer Parker, Owner and Director of Fluidity Dance and Yoga. And today, I'm here to teach you about the Alexander techniques that is often used with Yoga. The Alexander technique is a very useful technique that retrains muscles in order to show certain movements can cause pain, and how we can retrain those muscles in order to create movements that don't cause pain. Now, the Alexander technique is usually done with someone that is very studied in that technique that is able to help you through that technique. However, there are certain things that you can do at home in order to help improve your movement in areas that you might be feeling pain at. These technique is really great for people that might have back injuries or people that might have injuries as a result of repetitive movements such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. The Alexander technique in Yoga is to help create awareness of feelings associated with different movements. To begin, I really recommend starting off in a chair, even though it might seem like a simple easy task, often, since we spend so much time sitting in the chairs, the source of our pain comes from our bad posture as we sit. So first, we'll just sit in a chair with our feet on the floor, our hands at our side and a nice long spine. We'll sit here practicing breathing until we're sure that we have a nice posture. Next, we'll start subtle movements such as rotating our head either to the right or the left in order to see how the rest of our muscles and our joints react to these movements. So very slowly, we'll inhale moving to the right and exhale, looking here; noticing if there's any discomfort in the shoulders or neck. We'll inhale moving to the left and exhale here. Once we're comfortable with this motion, we can start a full head roll where we inhale dropping our head down, exhale, bringing our ear to our shoulder. Inhaling as we lift our chin, trying to keep our shoulders down, our posture strong; as we exhale, dropping our ear to the side. Now, after you've worked out your kinks in your neck, we can move onto your arms. So first, we'll start by inhaling and raising our arms as we draw our shoulders down and we'll exhale, stretching our arms up, trying to keep our shoulders down, our neck nice and long. And we'll inhale again, reaching and as we exhale, we'll slowly lower our arms. Now again, we want to be aware of any feelings associated with these movements. So, for instance, if, as I'm raising my arms, I notice that I'm feeling a slight twinge in my back. Then, I can work through this move, movement, focusing on that twinge in order to see how I might adjust my shoulder down or round towards the back in order to alleviate that twinge. So, these are some basic Alexander techniques that you can do in a chair. But, you can also do some basic Alexander techniques standing up. First, we'll start with just our Mountain Pose where we start with our hands at our side and try to find a nice long posture. As we inhale, we envision growing through the top of the head and as we exhale, we hold in our belly, finding a nice firm torso. Now, from this position, I can also practice raising and lowering my arms. I can do that in a couple of different ways. First, I can start with the one I did sitting down; inhaling up and exhaling down or holding that longer above my head. I can also go for a full Mountain Pose where I bring my arms to the side, keeping my shoulders down again as I inhale up, looking at my palms as the palms touch and as I exhale, bringing the palms back towards the ground as I find a nice long spine. Again, paying attention to any pain or discomfort in my neck, my spine or my back. Finally, I can take my elbows and grab a hold of them behind my back and try to find a nice long spine, holding in the stomach again and this will really help to open up the shoulders; this will help to keep the shoulders down and back which is often the source of much of our stress and pain in our back. Now, if you're feeling up for a more advanced move, you can always go for a Cow Face Arms. So, we'll inhale bringing the arms to the shoulders. We'll bring one arm up, one arm down as we reach behind our back, exhaling as we're trying to grab for those fingers, interlocking them right there behind our back. And of course, we want to do this on both sides; inhaling again through the middle and exhaling to reach and grab. And then inhaling to exhale back to our neutral position. Now, that you know just a little bit about the Alexander technique, I encourage you to go out there and find a professional to help you you discover what other movements might help you retrain your muscles in order to have a more pain-free life. I'm Jennifer Parker with Fluidity Dance and Yoga. Namaste.

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