Alexander Technique and Equestrians – Spotlight #2: Habit & Choice

Alexander Technique introduces the concept of allowing rather than forcing our bodies to do the things we want to do. The concept of allowing means removing obstacles to poise, elegance and ease, rather than applying more physical effort.

In an Alexander lesson, the path to effortless poise starts when your teacher helps you recognize a habitual pattern, such as raising your shoulders any time you move your arm. This habit could be so ingrained that you don’t even realize it’s part of a more complex stress response called “fight or flight”.

Your teacher helps your pin down your habit so you can do something about it. “Name and tame, if you will.”

But How Do You Change an Ingrained Habit?

It’s not easy but it is simple.

The tools for change help you “get our of your own way”. FM Alexander put it like this“stop doing the wrong thing let the right thing do itself”.

First You Stop the Automatic Response

So, if you were going to move your arm to pick up the reins, your teacher would help you stop “revving the engine” before you move it in your habitual way.

She would help you establish connection and balance in your whole body, starting with gentle hands on your head and neck, to encourage the fight or flight stress response NOT to kick in.

Then You Think, and Choose a Freer Way

She would remind you that your spine can lengthen with a mindful thought. Your sitting bones can release easily down into the saddle, as your head balances freely on your lengthening spine.

With intention and ease, your fingertips lead the way, and you easily pick up the reins without the stress and strain you had before.

Our thoughts and perceptions really do create our physical reality. Once you recognize your habitual responses, you can make a choice to change.

 

About Emily Clark

Feel free to use this article in your newsletter or on your website or blog. Just make sure to include the bio and link below at the end of the article.

Emily Clark, of TheSuppleRider.com, is an Alexander Technique Certified Instructor who teaches horseback riders of all disciplines to eliminate pain and improve their posture so they can ride as one every ride.

She’s worked with equestrians for over 11 years. She loves working with riders because they’re so passionate about what they do.

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