Sitting With One Knee Down

As this guy advises, I’m sitting with one knee down…It gives an impetus for me to go up through my torso.

I asked some other Alexander teachers and they replied:

* The argument rests on the assumption that when the thigh bone is horisontal the knee is “lifted”. This maybe what people very often do when sitting, but it is not necessarily the case.

* Biomechanics is often a very bad guide.

* Poise not posture.

* You know you can look at things like this ‘drop the knee’ and wonder that it isn’t called out for the silliness it is. Of course you’ll be more upright if you drop the knee, you’re as good as standing in he chair, or on the way to it.

Luke: Is Alexander Technique ever a very bad guide to muscular pain caused by spasms and unnecessary tension? I’ve had a lot of chronic aches and pains that the Technique did not help, but physical therapy immediately removed, and with the help of decent use, these particular aches and pains did not return. I know Alexander teachers who go to their physical therapist or chiropractor and lecture them about how these other professionals should do their job based on the holy principles of Alexander Technique, but despite their best Technique, these Alexander teachers still need the help of other professionals for muscular pain. How insecure are we to pretend Alexander is always the first answer to muscular pain? Are we always so much wiser when it comes to the causes of muscular pain? I guess we have nothing to learn from outsiders.

If you are sitting down in an office job 8 hours a day, are you more or less likely to get back pain with your knees straight out in front of you, or one knee dropped ceteris paribus? Veteran Alexander teachers with beautiful use and devotion to the principles of the Technique who work an office job sitting 8 hours a day with a regular chair or a stool and their knees straight out from the hip, are they going to develop back pain and the like?

I definitely feel more up flowing through me with one knee down then both knees straight out, but perhaps I am a fatally flawed and sinful vessel for the Technique.

I fear I am the only Alexander teacher in the world who must go to bed for a couple of days (every year or two) due to lower back spasms. The shame! It is killing me. Thank you for letting me share.

Am I the only Alexander teacher in the world who chronically and perhaps beyond all hope still tightens and compresses his lower back when sitting down? (Though not as much as before I found the Technique and saw a path to salvation for my crooked and debauched self.) Seriously, how many Alexander teachers still tighten and compress the lower back despite their best efforts when routinely sitting down even when highly conscious and diligent of our holy calling? Most Alexander teachers, in my experience, gasp for breath when speaking (the bigger the stimulus, the bigger the gasp). We’re all sinners. We all fall short of the glory of Constructive Conscious Control.

How many Alexander teachers go through life with various forms of chronic pain because they are so pure in their Technique, they don’t want to sully themselves with PT or chiropractic and the like, and their suffering is unnecessary because other disciplines have contributions to make? Many teachers in my experience. Is chronic muscular pain a shameful thing for an Alexander teacher to admit to his peers?

Every strongly believing group has this strong pressure towards ideological conformity and strong faith.

Does form count for nothing in the graceful and efficient use of the self? Or is that just 100% poise? It seems to me that form can often count for something in the use of the self.

For some of us teachers, I often think the Technique has been both the best and worst thing to ever happen to us. Most of us teachers come from a place of great pain (we don’t train for rational career-based reasons) and we took to the Technique like drowning swimmers take to air and perhaps we pursue it way past what is in our best interest. Perhaps it gives us more freedom than is good for us given that we come from such brokenness. The Technique is so enticing with its ease of movement and release of constriction, and teaching Alexander is such a rush, that perhaps we get seduced to go down a rabbit hole of ever-increasing ease and we chase that high too far and lose sight of the bigger picture of a meaningful life?

Bud: “Kind of like Dexter? He could pull off being a serial killer and holding down his demanding full time job as a blood spatter specialist for Miami PD, but when he added emotional relationships and a family into the mix, it was just too much, and ended very badly for him.”

LF: I wonder how many Alexander teachers got intoxicated by the freedom and divorced and later regretted it? Or divorced from the rat grind and later regretted it? Or divorced from a conventional life and later regretted it, perhaps in part?

When I was 11, I took up marathoning, completing five of them. It was not a good thing for me but the runner’s high was intoxicating. I think a lot of people have run farther than is good for them. Or done more yoga than is good for them.

I think Patrick MacDonald was of the opinion that 90% of Alexander teachers shouldn’t be teaching and I guess he would have applied this to any teacher who consistently gasps before speaking.

As professional Alexander teachers, we are not supposed to publicly disparage different schools of the Technique, but privately of course, we often do. I’ve often felt very strong negative reactions to the Macdonald approach because unless you are trained in it, it can be very challenging and humbling and off-putting.

What happens when a graduate of Alexander Technique teacher training has lofty dreams of becoming a successful Alexander teacher, miserably failing, takes an office job, finds out nobody in the office gives a toss about the Technique, finally shuts up about it, and then as the weeks and months of office work go by, all sorts of muscular pain crops up, including the killer back pain, pain he can’t Alexander his way out of, and when he goes down for the count with back spasms, his mates at the office snicker and say, “I thought you had the Alexander Technique!” Out of his mind with pain, this teacher visits the chiropractor and other modalities to get help and then he starts posting on FB, not always making sense.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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