This is one of those lucky occasions (for me) when a blog wrote itself. I thought I'd share with you an (unedited) email exchange I had with a fellow who had seen my YouTube video. That video was all about sitting comfortably in an office environment, however, he was
interested in any advice I could offer on relaxing at home in front of the television, and why not, it's something we all enjoy doing from time to time. The nice thing was that he decided to
follow up by finding an Alexander teacher in his city, Buenos Aires, maybe a little too far to come and visit me.
I saw you on YouTube and was wondering if you recommend a chair for use in the living room for watching tv,relaxing etc.
Thanks for your question.
As you've realised, sitting whilst working at your computer is a very different activity to watching TV.
As I mentioned in my video, for working at a computer any flat and firm seat is sufficient, anything that allows you to effectively "stand up" on your bottom in a lively and dynamic way.
Sofas provide a very unstable base for the "sit bones" of the pelvis which is one reason why we simply collapse backwards and slump in them. The other reason is that our very concept of the activity is different, the idea of "relaxing" is often just "collapsing" and that can be done in any chair regardless of its design. It is possible to sit well in a sofa, but not if you're going to switch off to yourself.
As you can probably tell I'm slightly reluctant to recommend specific furniture, but in practical terms I'd suggest a chair that reclines and supports the legs, something like a La-Z-Boy, or equivalent, so that that collapsing/relaxing is well supported. It wont prevent habitual tension patterns that may be causing back pain and I'd encourage you to change the way you use your furniture as much as changing the furniture itself. Maybe think of elegant repose rather than slouching!
Apologies if that's not the simple recommendation you were after, but it's the nature of the beast as I see it.
There's an interesting book call The Chair by Galen Cranz that may give you further food for thought.
You may also be able to find an Alexander Technique Teacher who lives near you at http://www.stat.org.uk/searchgeo
Adrian Farrell MSTAT
0780 861 2510
I heard a podcast regarding the lady and the chair,as you say the emphasis is more how to sit and not what one sits on.
I found a couple of teachers in my area and have received a reply to my email from one of them with an opportunity to speak with her regarding my requirements.
Are there any videos etc that you know of that show the basics,I have seen some on you tube.
Many thanks for your help.
The problem with videos is they give you the idea that there's a prescriptive way you should do something, and in my experience no one ever changes their behaviour based on what they should do, and I include myself in that. You need to gain personal experience of what choices you have available to you. Also, it's the quality of the activity that's important with regards to the Alexander Technique, to quote Alexander himself "the act performed is of less consequence than the manner of it's performance".
It's almost impossible to write about, which is why, when forced to write for marketing purposes Alexander Teachers frequently fall back on prescriptive guidelines, although it's true that certain ways of using yourself are easier to gain freedom and flow of movement with.
I recently saw this posted on Facebook, and it's an excellent example showing quality of movement, the actual moves themselves are irrelevant from an Alexander perspective, but I'm sure you can get a sense of the grace within the movement. The same grace can also be applied to simple everyday activities.
I know I haven't answered your question directly, but I hope I've piqued your curiosity to try the Alexander Technique first hand with a teacher.
I spied a book in the library written by an AT teacher,giving advice based on the technique to help with back pain.
I thought I would follow up on this and perhaps try some lessons in order to help the "old bones"....
I will speak with a teacher and then see if we think lessons would be suitable for me.
I appreciate you replying to my mails,basically it's a hands on experience like learning to swim I suppose.
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