Did you know that you can use the Alexander Technique when you run? It will help you move with ease , improve your performance and prevent injury.
Steph Cook Personal Trainer and Rollerski Instructor taking part in an Ultra Marathon in Berkshire running with ease and poise completing 50.6 km in 5 hours and 50 minutes in 30 degrees. She has had regular Alexander Technique lessons and uses it whilst running leading with her head. She has had no injuries having completed another Ultra Marathon, 6 Marathons and runs regularly.
When you run you really have to move your arms to help your legs move and remember do not hold anything in your hands it will interfere with your use. ( The way you move ).
When you stand are you balanced in an easy way for your body. How does gravity go through you? These stones on Holy Island (Lindisfarne) are balanced or they would fall over.
How we balance all started when we stood for the first time and took those first steps to start walking. Our head balances on top of the spine like a ping pong ball with the hips knees and ankles in line below. We fell over as small children as we learned how to balance.
This easy effortless way of balancing gets interfered with as we develop unhelpful habits resulting in tension when you stand and move. These habits keep us upright so we do not fall but there is a strain on our bodies. Many people lock their knees back in standing which pushes their hips forward altering the alignment of the spine and how their shoulder girdles sit on top of the ribcage.
Notice how much weight you have through your heels. Many people have a lot of weight through the front of the feet but you need 60% of your weight through your heels. So just notice what your habit is.
In standing just stop and notice your body thinking down your spine through your pelvis, down your legs to your feet. Feel the floor below your feet. Then think back up your body growing up like a tree. Your head is like a ping pong ball floating at the top of your spine.
Now expand your awareness all around you. Look ahead being aware of your peripheral vision, think above your head up to the sky, think behind you (if this is difficult place a hand on your low back and notice it) and then think out to the sides.
Expanding your awareness in this way enhances your nervous system.
Notice how your head is balancing on top of your spine imagine it’s like a ping pong ball just floating.
Look straight at a mirror then put a finger in the hollow at the back of each ear and slowly nod your head. Notice where the movement is happening, this is your head neck joint. If this joint is tight it will affect your overall use, the way you move. Imagine space in the joint and fill it with oil. Doing this regularly will help you get more awareness of the atlanto occipital joint (head neck joint).
If you are stressed with adrenalin in your bloodstream semi supine gives your body the opportunity to remove it and let your body return to normal.
You stop which really is a challenge in the busy world everyone lives in .
You can practice your Alexander Technique Directions, Preventative thoughts.
When you get up in the morning your discs you have between most of your vertebra are fully pumped up but by lunchtime because of gravity all the liquid from the discs moves to the surrounding tissue. Lie in semi supine for 15-17 minutes and the liquid is reabsorbed. Remember to drink enough water because if you are dehydrated your discs will suffer.
Doing daily semi supine is a good way of helping to look after your back.
How do I do semi supine? It’s also known as Active Rest
Lie on a mat on the floor with your knees bent and you hands resting gently on your hips elbows out to the sides. Your head is resting on books so it is in line with your body. Be aware of the room, daylight, noises, the smell of flowers in the room using your senses. Keep your eyelids open.
Notice the contact of the floor below your feet, shoulder blades and pelvis and notice the books below your head.
Think the Alexander Directions as you lie there :-
Your neck is sinking down, the top of your head is moving away. Think along your spine asking it to lengthen and widen. Imagine your elbows are moving away from each other.
Think along your collar bones ask them to go out to the sides as you widen across the tops of the arms.
Think up thighs and shins to knees then up strings which go up from your knees to the ceiling.
Lie for 15 minutes daily.
Slowly get off the floor with awareness, standing and let 60% of your weight go through your heels. Scan your body and notice how you feel.
Alexander Technique Teacher, Richmond, North Yorkshire