Navigating Nomadic Life: A Beginner’s Guide to the Alexander Technique

a young man lies in the semi-supine position to rest his back for 20 mins.
FM Alexander invented Alexander Technique, a body re-education method.

Now, you might be someone who prefers tangible evidence over abstract concepts. The beauty of the Alexander Technique lies in its tangible foundation—grounded in the principles of F.M. Alexander’s intuitive science.

It’s not about blind faith; it’s about understanding the intricate dance of muscles, bones, and breath that sustains us with every movement.

So, let’s break it down. At the heart of the Alexander Technique are two foundational practices:

Sounds intriguing, right? Let’s delve deeper.

Firstly, the semi-supine position—a simple yet powerful posture where you lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. In this position, the body naturally realigns itself, releasing tension and allowing the spine to decompress. Study the image at the beginning of the article to adopt the correct position.

To make this ultimate position of rest work, you must lie on a hard surface: the Earth is my favourite. Don’t use any mattresses or beds. If you are inside, then lie on the floor. This position is not about relaxing but about stimulating the spine.

It takes approximately 20 minutes for the 33/34 bones of the spine to truly rest. When we are vertical, the force of gravity weighs heavily on the spine compressing the rubber-like discs between each vertebra. Lying in the semi-supine provides a perfect refuge from gravity and allows the discs to return to their shock-absorber consistency.

Aim to do 2 sessions of 20 minutes each in the morning and in the evening.

Below is an image of how your skeleton looks in this position. Note that the arms are not in the semi-supine position to allow you to see the spine correctly. Also, the books should be further away so that the ball of the back of the skull is resting on the edge of your books.

a skeleton rests in the semi-supine position in a desert landscape.

This is a mindful approach that involves directing your attention inward, towards the sensations and subtle movements within. It’s a practice of awareness and presence, allowing you to tune into the signals your body is sending and respond with ease and grace.

You need to be silent and focused to be able to think inside the body, using your mind like a laser. At first, you might get distracted by other thoughts and feelings so that you can’t settle, but with twice-daily practice, you will soon come to enjoy this quiet restful time as well as using your mind for a new purpose.

So, to all the young adventurers out there embarking on the journey of a lifetime, consider the Alexander Technique as your ally—a simple yet profound tool for nurturing your body, mind, and spirit on the road less travelled.

a young man rests lying on his back in a hot desert his backpack by his side.

4 thoughts on “Navigating Nomadic Life: A Beginner’s Guide to the Alexander Technique”

  1. Hi, I was really happy to come across your post, it’s so relevant to me at the moment. As a not-so-young adventurer still out there continuing to embark on my journey of a lifetime, I have constantly run up with bad back issues, as I’ve jumped off trains, and planes, and spent numerous nights in business hotels whilst attending long meetings during the day. This has all resulted in tightness in my back. With the Alexander Technique, I now have a logical approach to stretching and resting my back. Thank you so much!, I’m now looking forward to putting it in place and fingers crossed getting some improvement from its application. 

    • Hello John! Wow! I’m delighted you can adopt this simple exercise so readily! It will start to work after a couple of days. Try lying down at the same times each day, don’t use a pillow but a paperback book, and lie on a hard surface. It’s not relaxation but the opposite. You are stimulating the spine while taking refuge from the battering of gravity! 

      You may also get something from this article: Mindfulness and Spine Health.

      Stay tuned for more articles on the next stage. 

      Blessings and Spine Health to you.


  2. What a fascinating read! The Alexander Technique seems like a perfect companion for the nomadic lifestyle, offering a practical approach to nurturing both body and mind amidst the whirlwind of travel. I’m particularly intrigued by the semi-supine position and its benefits for spinal health. I’d love to hear more about how individuals have integrated this practice into their daily routines while on the move. How do you recommend adapting the Alexander Technique for different environments or travel situations?

    • Hi Hanna. Thank you for this appreciative comment. 

      Alexander was an unsung genius. He lost his voice as an actor and after visiting medics who could not provide a reason, he set out to discover what he was doing while on stage to irritate or block his larynx. The technique evolved from his exploration. Later it was completely supported by medical research. 

      I and my friends used the technique every day of a 2-year backpacking world trip. I’m a qualified teacher so I taught in quite a few Body Re-education schools during that trip. It is part of my routine even now I’m not travelling as much. It’s so easy to do the semi-supine wherever you are, though in parks, on shopping centre lawns and desert oases, we did attract lots of attention. 20 minutes is all you need twice a day. It refreshes the whole spinal column as well as the mind. It’s a body meditation!

      Wherever you go, just make sure you have a paperback book or two because a pillow will not do. You need hard surfaces to wake the body up. This article might give you more insights too – Mindful Practices for Spine Health

      Hope you enjoy trying this. Let me know if you need any more advice.

      Blessings and Excellent Spine Health to you. 

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