To be happy in your own body, it is not just a matter of what food you eat and what exercise you take, it is also about HOW you undertake everything you do every day.  Knowing more about your body and how it moves will enable you to live life in a more comfortable place with more energy, as well as enabling you to enjoy the activities you undertake with less aches and pains.

motorcycle positioning with Alexander Technique
Preparing for the motorcycle test with Alexander Technique

More and more people are coming to me with a specific issue that they would like help with.    How can I get into and out of my car? How can I get my tricycle into my car?  How can I lift my small child?   How should I sit at my computer? How can I sit comfortably with my guitar, my piano, harp, etc, and learning the Alexander Technique will certainly help them to find a better way.

However, it is important to realise that they will need to learn some underpinning principles about how we move before they start to focus the more specific issue.

The most recent request was from a regular client, Mike, who wanted to know how he could ‘walk’ his very heavy motorbike to a safe place, a requirement for his forthcoming motorbike test.

Getting on and off a motorcycle with Alexander Technique

Having never moved a motorbike myself, (and, I add, never played the harp) I never realised how heavy and awkward a motorbike is.  The interesting thing is that if you TRY and shift it, you put all your effort into pushing, which creates a lot of tension in your arms and neck.

However, using Alexander Technique, every task is approached indirectly. Firstly, we need to attend to ourselves, and our own habitual way of being, prior to attempting any task.   We need to stop and think: am I easy in my body; can I let go of unnecessary tension.

Learning Alexander Technique helps with the skill of approaching any task thoughtfully, with ease of mind and body. Secondly, we need to inhibit the habitual response to push hard and plan how the bike might move with less effort.

 As you can see, Mike found it very useful:

“I think that I surprised Kay at a recent Alexander Technique lesson by arriving on my new motorbike.  Kay was unfazed by my unexpected mode of transport and she promptly started thinking about and discussing how the principles of Alexander Technique might be applied to riding.

The reason that I asked Kay about this is that I am going to be taking an intensive riding course (known as DAS – Direct Access Scheme) later this year which will include the tests required for me to (hopefully) bin my L-plates.  Biking is quite physical and to successfully pass the tests, for example, I will need to be able to move the bike forwards and backwards by hand whilst standing beside it.  Motorbikes are quite heavy – my learner bike weighs around 120kg (19 stones) and the motorcycle that I’ll be using for the DAS course and tests weighs in at a whopping 180kg (28 stones), more than twice my weight!  When I last rode in the 1980s I don’t remember even considering this for one moment, but my fifty-something year old self is much more aware of the stresses and strains that manoeuvring these beasts entails.

I was delighted that we spent the next hour practically applying Kay’s knowledge to my unusual request – moving the bike forwards and backwards without collapsing my shoulders into my neck, getting on and off whilst lengthening my back, etc.  By the end of the session, everything seemed so much easier and required a good deal less effort on my part.  I feel much more confident about my upcoming DAS course and tests now and look forward to many more years of comfortable motorcycling.”

Mike J

If you would like to know more about how Alexander Technique can help you, whether with motorcycle manoeuvring or something else, please click the button below to get in touch: