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Learn to deal with stress with the Alexander Technique

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When you are under too much stress the Alexander Technique can help find effective relief

Statistics published by the HSE show that in Britain between April 2010 and March 2011 an estimated 1.2 million people said they were suffering from a work-related  illness or disorder. However, pressures may come from many sources and their combined effect is stress of body and mind.

What happens to us when we are stressed? The human Flight or Fight response, often called the stress response, is a natural reaction to challenge or pressure and it is a natural reflex action.

It is there so we are alerted to possible threats and can act to avoid them. While the FoF response is very useful in emergency situations, constantly being in this state means that the chemical changes associated with it are permanently present in our system, resulting in stress.

The 10-minute chillout that re-balances the nervous system

Our mind and body work together, to effectively combat stress, we need to activate the body’s natural release response.

The Alexander Technique semi-supine procedure is practised by lying down quietly for 10 minutes to clear your head from the clutter of the day and give your entire organism a chance to rebalance itself.

Lie on your back on a firm surface with the knees bent so that the feet are drawn up as near to the body as is comfortable. Feet should be far enough apart to enable the legs to balance with minimum effort about shoulder width apart. The knees neither falling apart nor together, but pointing up to the ceiling. Place some paperback books under your head and let your hands rest palm down on your belly.

Spend the first five minutes quietening your mind and getting into a listening state. Observe yourself as you move into stillness. Give yourself time to be in a receptive state in which your mind can observe and sense the releases happening throughout your body.

Now you are ready to turn your attention to the activity of directing. By this I mean simply a combination of mentally asking to release and let go of any tension which is preventing it from happening.

Direct your neck to release by thinking of the back of the neck being very soft and flexible and how it is being gently lengthened by the position of your head on the books.

This direction of the head will initiate a release and lengthening of the whole spine.  Think of the discs between each vertebra becoming larger and spongier. Think of the back muscles attaching to your spine, widening, as they release onto the floor.

Allow this to happen gently so try not to push flat. Pay attention to your shoulders allow them to expand outwards as they drop to the floor and release away.

Bring your attention to your pelvis releasing and softening onto the floor, your tummy muscles and buttocks releasing and softening. Knees to the ceiling releasing away from your hip joints. Think of the inside of your legs lengthening and relaxing as your feet widens onto the floor.

While all this is happening keep being observant of the changes. You might want to write down any discoveries and have a record of your changes. When you get up keep noticing the difference in your mind and body as you gently begin to move again.

PS this is fabulous for a sore back too!

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