What’s Wrong With This Picture?

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And This One?

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And This One?

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And These?

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Some things are so clear in hindsight. Yet, from the inside or when you’re going through it, it’s hard to see. When I had debilitating back pain in my mid-20s, I didn’t know why.

My Alexander Teacher said that most of us are born with good posture, but acquire negative postural habits, starting in elementary school, but especially around junior high high school.

I scratched my head, trying to figure out what my ‘habits’ were that were causing me so much discomfort, pain, decreased movement quality. I had some injuries, but I worked out, ate fairly well, thought I took care of myself.

And then, not long after, I was going through some photo albums, including the above images. And the proverbial lightbulb went off: in photo after photo, starting in high school, I was standing on my left leg. And often not just standing, but collapsing down into it.

For whatever reason, this is how I stood most of the day, 7 days a week for years.

Aware of the habit, I was able to start changing it, which took some vigilance and felt disconcerting; that pose was my go to position. I felt that I was “cool” standing like that. Did I pick it up from guys in movies or print ads? Older ‘cool’ guys in school? Not sure, but it did some serious damage to my back.

Here I am in junior high, before the habit:

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15 years later and even after becoming an Alexander teacher, I can still feel the echo of this collapse that runs from the left side of my face down to my left toes. Habits are strong, but the sooner we become aware of them, the sooner we can start to dissolve them and return to how were designed

I just wish I had found the Alexander Technique earlier and avoided a decade or two of bad posture.