As a musician and Alexander Technique teacher with personal and professional experience dealing with music-related pain, I’d like to share the following thoughts on the topic of stretches/exercises, including those offered by physical therapy, occupational therapy, doctors, yoga, etc.
While doing stretches and exercising may help you and they may feel good – especially at first – doing them will NOT get to the root of your problem, and they can in some cases even make things worse.
You need to be very mindful when adding any kind of stress to your system, and you need to know how to respond to the changes you’re causing in your body in a way that is constructive.
It’s HOW you do the stretches or exercises that matters most.
Unfortunately, the HOW is largely overlooked and misunderstood, even by trained professionals.
Physical exercises, including simple stretches, are never purely physical and should not be approached that way if you want to get to the root of a problem.
The root of any problem in us includes the WHOLE person and can’t be reduced to the physical.
You can go ahead and try stretches/exercises without awareness of that underlying concept (what Alexander referred to as the “use” of himself), and you may even be able to improve your condition and manage your pain to an extent.
However, the CONTEXT, particularly the psycho-physical postural attitude that you bring to the exercises is of the utmost and primary importance.
I can’t stress that enough.
And that’s where the limitations of physical exercises of any kind bump up against the reality that we need to include the WHOLE person in what we do.
Most of us don’t understand how to do that without training, and it requires a certain understanding, practice, and skill.
The Alexander Technique is far and away the best approach I know that teaches this.
Feel free to private message me if you want to learn more, or email me at Jennifer@staging2.artoffreedom.me. Thanks.
p.s. I’ll be offering another online course for musicians in pain starting soon. Sign up here if you’re interested and I’ll send you all the details! https://artoffreedom.lpages.co/tame-pain-course-waitlist/
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