February 6, 2006
Paul Newman has done it, so has Sting and Paul McCartney. It's called the Alexander Technique and it shows you how to move correctly in your daily life to make you feel better and more relaxed.
"I was playing cello pretty intensely one summer, about 8 hours a day and I was experiencing some pretty painful feelings in my forearm and my left arm, basically all down my left arm on the shoulder and in the top of my hand," said Wes Swing.
These pains forced the aspiring musician to put down the cello for seven months until he discovered the Alexander Technique.
"I have a lot more to learn, but when Daria works with me as I'm playing, it's amazing the results. My singing becomes clearer, I feel totally different in a strange, but really good way," said Swing.
The technique re-teaches people how to move naturally without tensing the muscles.
"A lot people call the technique the Tai Chi of daily life because it seems that when you release tension and you start to allow yourself to be a little bit more natural that not only does your functioning improve, but your mental state changes quite a bit," said Daria Okugawa who teaches it.
People do things everyday that are unnatural for the body--like tensing shoulders when typing on a computer, narrowing a stride walking in high heels, or tightening hands when writing. All of these are bad habits people have acquired and fixing them isn't just learning to sit-up straight.
"Most people are using their muscles to hold that up, chest up stomach in, lots of effort," Okugawa said. "There's a reflex that if once we understand the intelligent action between our head, our sib bones, our spine. We can let that mechanism work for us and it just carries us and we get supported and we don't have to do half the work."
Okugawa teaches through practical application. How to stand in heals, watching how the feet hit the ground when walking, how to relax the head when horseback riding and she even showed me something that I do wrong everyday: how to sit and stand up correctly.
In addition to physical benefits, some say they feel healthier overall.
"I hold a lot of tension, emotional tension in parts of my body, so when I release my body parts, when I finally release my neck of my lower back or my shoulders, a lot of emotional tension comes out as well," said Swinger.
Daria was also talking about the the "end gain" which we rely on so much in our everyday life, or the end result, and not paying attention to our body and how we get there.