We sat on our 'sitting bones' with lower legs at right angles to thighs. We shuffled back into our village hall chairs. We adjusted our feet, placing them 6 inches apart and at an angle of 45 degrees. We looked at an imaginary horizon then tilted our heads slightly to gaze at the dusty floor in front of us. Raising our eyes but not our heads we were deemed correctly aligned. Finally we must rest our hands, open and relaxed, on our laps. I personally checked to make sure my mouth was shut and I wasn't drooling and didn't look as gormless as I felt. I cannot be certain.
This evening I have mostly been sitting properly.
Our WI speaker tonight was an Alexander Technique teacher who, with her assistant, used her 45 minute slot to outline the theory and practice of this method of body re-education and co-ordination. It is I learned, 'a subtle and thoughtful discipline, but essentially practical and problem solving'. I guess it helps if one feels one's body is in need of of re-education and alignment and believe its psychological element to be equally important. I had heard previously that following the Technique could be life-changing and not only for those who wish to manage physical problems but for those who wish to improve their personal performance too. An interesting evening in store then?
Sonia spoke in calm, mellifluous, measured tones while Mary moved around the room and 'worked' on us. In my case she placed a hand on my shoulder and moved my legs slightly. I cannot be sure what this achieved. The room was very quiet while she talked - perhaps the result of her own quietness and the ladies' attempts not to budge out of the positions they had been instructed to adopt. How peaceful. How hypnotic too. I found myself wondering if subliminally we were being instructed to sign up for a course of 10 lessons at the local adult education centre. ('Details of which I'll leave here for you to pick up....')
Finally we did 'standing' - posed like statues and again fearing to move out of those hard won positions. We were allowed a little step forward 'for balance' - what luxury. The fidgets amongst us fought the temptation to slide hands into pockets or enjoy a little slouch....time for that later when the tea and buns make an appearance.
My conclusion? I suspect the Alexander Technique, like many other alternative therapies, is probably not for me. I am though sitting here now, hunched at my desk, thinking 'hmm, could do this better' and find myself shuffling back, legs and feet into some semblance of alignment. Got to start somewhere I suppose.