Alexander Technique and Depression

In the last newsletter, Lucy Rush’s phone number was left out. Here it is for those of you who asked for it: (415) 221-1500)

Depression is not on the list of topics most people discuss easily. Yet at the some point in life almost everyone experiences some degree of depression. And some people have to deal with it on an ongoing basis.

Years ago, while I was working with a student, as she was freeing her neck and allowing more movement up along her spine she said, “Oh, if I do this I can’t be depressed.” Now I’m not saying this is the answer to everyone’s depression, but there are many changes that can happen when we learn to be aware of how we are using our body, or in Alexander terms, our use.

We store memories in our body. I have often thought of the body as an archeological site. With breathing and awareness as our tools we can unearth many memories that are not in our conscious thoughts. Doing this often gives a healing and lightening effect in ones entire being. For more information you can visit the Somatic Experience Website and watch a YouTube video about it.

When starting with Alexander lessons, you learn what physical and mental habits you are employing that contribute to compression, poor posture and pain. These same habits can also add or contribute to depression.

It is well known that exercise can be key in alleviating depression. When one is depressed it is usually hard not to identify with the emotion or feeling. We get stuck in thinking I’m sad or I’m depressed and there is usually a physical pulling in and contracting. This is one of the reasons the Alexander Technique can help when one is in a depressed state. As you change the holding in your body, your mood also has the opportunity to change. Being aware of your posture and how you move can take your thoughts in a new direction.

Of course there are many degrees of depression and seeking professional help is an important step.

However, remember how important it is to move your body and allow it to change your mood. The awareness of how your body and your thoughts impact each other is extremely useful.

The next time you are feeling a little blue or depressed try the following exercise. Lie down with support under your head. Have your legs resting on a chair or stool. From this relaxed position, just welcome in whatever sensations, feelings and thoughts are in your body-mind. Be aware of sensations, feelings and your breathing, especially your exhale. For just this time, let go of resistance, allow whatever is there just be there. Don’t pull away from whatever is there. Let your neck be free and allow movement up along your spine. Let the body lengthen and widen. Watch your breath and let yourself exhale completely.

Make time to walk in nature. Preferably somewhere with lots of green and/or the beach. Let yourself move out equally from the center of your body. Let your head reach for the sky, more of a thought than an action. Its a softening and allowing not a push. Let the front of your body expand out in front of you as you let the back expand out in the opposte direction. Allow the sides of your body to widen out, right side out to the horizon on the right and left out to the horizon on the left. Feel your feet connecting with the earth, not gripping but just making contact. As you look around let your eyes take in the beauty of nature. Sense the connection and know you are part of this beauty.

All the best,


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