A Student of "UP"

Going UP is a nickname for the coordination or ‘whole body response to gravity’ that we cultivate in the Alexander Technique.  When you learn the Alexander Technique you become a Student of UP.

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As a student of UP your daily practice is to: Re-find UP for you; learn to cultivate more of it in movement, actions, and life; use it to bring dynamic postural tone and readiness to your postures, actions, and way of being; and learn to deal with unconscious habits that bring you down.

As a student of UP your growth in posture, movement, structure, awareness, well-being etc.. all occur as a by-product of integrating UP into the framework of your movements and activities.

The more advanced a student of Up, the better you can:

  • Cultivate going UP on your own

  • Recognize and prevent unnecessary compression or constriction in activity

  • Cultivate Up in ever more challenging movements and activities

  • Get back UP on your own after you’ve lost it


A Student of Up practices:

  • To open UP with gravity rather than pulling up against it

  • To work in balance as an ongoing process (balancing) - rather than as a fixed position

  • To move and act more centred over your base of support (in both stillness and dynamic movements)

  • To catch yourself in an old posture and uses the opportunity to learn what you are doing vs. To catch yourself and immediately fix/stiffen yourself with perfect posture - missing the moment to go UP

  • To work with ongoing direction vs. an end position or fixed final destination/posture you attain

  • To learn both what to do, and what not to do in your movements

  • To bring a dynamic state of postural tension to life - a calm, yet readiness for movement - instead of a state of constriction or over relaxation/ collapse

  • To grow awareness of the relationship between your neck, head, and back as both an assessment tool for your coordination and as a place to influence your whole self to go UP

  • To think in activity as a way to shape your coordination, actions, and responses

  • To cultivate the conditions for the expression of a new movement or mobility to show up instead of trying to force it

  • To use the ground, gravity, and a downwards direction as an oppositional force (you have to come UP from somewhere)

  • To not do the old habit while simultaneously allowing for a new expression of balance, movement, and tension vs. trying to do something new while still doing the old habit

  • To refine your ability to see and influence the connections between your brain, body, and environment vs. seeing these parts as un-integrated in activity with your self located only in your brain

  • To see that long term changes in posture, structure, and postural tone (that we can influence) occur through the steady/ persistent accumulation of actions and movement over time rather than any single moment

  • To see and integrate internal and external sensory feedback as a unified experience

Awareness:

  • To build skill in self-awareness (as a prerequisite to make new choices)

  • To recognize the internal and external cues that start your habits - which lead to unnecessary tension or collapse

  • To consciously expands your field of attention - instead of getting stuck in a narrowed field of attention

  • To bring evermore directed awareness of themselves in a evermore challenging (physical and mental) activities

  • To see how the parts (i.e limb movements etc..) integrate into the larger whole pattern of coordination vs. isolating your parts from the larger whole in activity

  • To see the mind as embodied in action (brain, body, environment all influence each other)

  • To use the mindset of being conscious but not self-conscious - the practice of suspending judgment and criticism

  • To build (or re-discover) self awareness of yourself vs. ignoring awareness of yourself until something hurts or nags at you

To use any activity or movement as a fresh opportunity to cultivate more UP and grow towards your fullest potential.

The truth is that as you become more advanced with the Alexander Technique you find that there isn’t an obvious, simple set of step-by-step tactics. But there is a compass: A true north for learning that can head you in the right direction as you learn. I would call this UP.