Wednesday, September 2, 2015


- 24/10/2017
- 2/9/2015 (Original Post)


Understanding free movement of the human body:

Dear Friends,

In scientific investigation we create theoretical models for a problem and examine whether these models help us to solve problems that are troubling us. It is this ability to predict outcomes which makes science exciting.

To study the problem of USE let us integrate a few models.

To start with let us examine the accordion model proposed in

Inline images 1

Basically the suggestion put forward is that movement of the body should resemble the movement in an accordion mechanism, like that depicted in this door grill. Movement should be uniform at all joints (like in Alexander Monkey). This door grill has eight vertical members. Imagine that for some reason three of these vertical members  are hidden from view and we think that the door grill has only five vertical members. Imagine that one of the links which is not in our view is jammed. We apply oil to all the joints in view and get frustrated over time when we find that the door grill refuses to close ................?

Next is the idea of shape of the body. The shape of the chest and abdomen and legs, the neck etc. may determine how freely the system functions.

Third is waveform. Waveform has repeated concave and convex sides. Maybe the abdomen area should tend towards concave to hold the stomach contents in and convex to allow the chest to have a proper shape ....?

What I am suggesting is that we combine these three ideas together:

1. Accordion Mechanism
2. Shape
3. Waveform

The concept of hidden areas in the Accordion Mechanism could be crucial. My fear is that we cannot take bones of the feet and hand and neck etc. for granted.


P.S. A reference to 'Wave form' of motion from my book, self published in 2005:

7.6 Concept of Balance …………

Inline images 1
Inline images 2

Fig 7.17: The curvature of the top snake looks odd, while that of the bottom snake looks natural. Good posture is also about establishing a natural curvature, consistent with proper balance.

Postural balance should not be confused with the natural coarse balance that every one must maintain to counter the force of gravity; it is a finer internal balance, which determines how the many large and small muscles in the body function and relate to one another. When we are not conscious of good posture we naturally tend to move many of the joints in the body to extreme positions, while they should be held in neutral and balanced positions with all movement distributed harmoniously between the joints. For example the arch of the feet, the tilt of the hip, the curvature in the small of the back and the curve of the neck bear a relationship to one another which we must discover in the course of balancing and correcting posture. Just as a moving snake displays a relationship in its curvature along its length, the different tilts and curvatures in the body bear a relationship to one another, which we must seek out (Fig 7.17).

2/9/2015 (Original Post)

Dear Friends,

An accordion mechanism will  help us to understand the important characteristics of good postural balance.

The characteristics of an accordion mechanism are:

1. Movement is equally distributed at each pantograph linkage.
2. If one joint is locked the entire mechanism gets locked.

The human body is not precisely like an accordion mechanism, yet the message is clear:

1. Movement should be distributed uniformly throughout the body.
2. Locking at any joint is likely to cause unease (which we will be ill equipped to analyse).

Alexander Technique (AT) may be unique in recognising the above fact through emphasis on 'Alexander Monkey' and 'Alexander Semi Supine'. The only weakness could be in not adequately defining the movement of the feet and the head. Could toe to heel movement help to unlock the mechanism? Should head balance be movement as described in

If the accordion mechanism is representative of good posture (even say 40% true), it will help us understand why the postural problem is so critical and so difficult to solve.

Putting it another way, if movement is not free over the whole length of the body, locking must be taking place at one or more joints (or group of joints).

My fear is that a lot of stretching exercises that are being done, are done by locking parts of the body and then stretching contiguous parts. Should we do such exercises?

Children in general, to start with, distribute their movement quite uniformly. The challenge for parents and our educational system is how to protect this harmony at least till the age of ten, so that the idea of a healthy mind in a healthy body is not just an empty slogan. 


 The genius of Alexander
(Posted in a forum, 29 Aug 2015)

Hi List,

It is interesting to note that put on a 'taking exercise scale' AT would score almost zero!

Taking exercise scale:


A - The Alexander Technique
Y -  Yoga?
M - Modern physical culture?

I have been quite clear in my mind that aligning the musculoskeletal system correctly must precede strengthening it. Yet, my trial and error method has depended on 'getting a feel of STRENGTH and FLEXIBILITY and BALANCE'.

My fear now is, that I could have made a mistake. Once we think in terms of STRENGTH, it is very simple to lock the system in a hundred different ways!! (I have become conscious of the fact that my spine is likely too stiff .... could people adopting the classic yoga pose be holding their spine too stiff?)

I am now keeping strength out of the picture and  focusing just on balance and flexibility (allowing the body to become relatively limp).

A balanced and flexible system will automatically be strong (become strong).

P.S. I have just started reading THE USE OF THE SELF (Reached page 26)