When you tense your face, you make wrinkles. Your brow gets all furrowed and the skin around your eyes and lips becomes tight and scarecrowy.
By contrast, when you release unnecessary tension and let go of postures of your face, you can become alive to the moment. When you read one of my witty blog posts, for instance, your face will light up and you will rejoice to be alive.
Alexander teacher Lindsay Newitter writes: “Imagine that you are making a bed and there is a wrinkle in the middle of the sheet. If you try to smooth it out with your hand, you’ll probably just end up moving the wrinkle around. (Think of lower back compression as analogous to the wrinkle). The most effective way to eliminate the wrinkle would be to tug on the ends of the sheet and take out the slack that is allowing for the wrinkle (think of releasing the tension in the neck that pulls the head down as pulling on an end of the sheet).”
Alexander teacher and classicist Dr. Frank Pierce Jones said at Tufts University in 1964: “In an aging population, postural change is almost always a change for the worse. Between 20 and 80 there is an increasing tendency for the stature to shorten, the waist to thicken, the chest to flatten, and the head to thrust forward and down… a gradual surrender of civilized man to the inexorable force of gravity…”
Many people accept these deteriorating changes in their appearance as unavoidable. Others are relying on cosmetic surgery, fitness programs and equipment, supplements, spa treatments and weight loss programs to slow the effects of aging.
Yet, even after success with these programs, a person’s tension and misbalance can degrade appearance and disrupt healthy functioning.
Postural change is active rather than passive. Your muscles must contract to produce a change from good to bad posture. Due to stress, injury, unconscious or conscious learning, the disruptive contractions accumulate into a habit over many years. When this happens all the time and goes undetected, the result is poor posture and pain.