An Alexander Technique Perspective on Hurrying

94 hurrying pic1

Hurrying is a perilous occupation. To demonstrate this, find yourself a bench or a seat in a cafe that overlooks a busy street. Sit, and spend a while watching the people pass. In particular watch out for the people that are hurrying.   Chances are they will poke their neck forward, squeeze their shoulders together, hunch their upper body, stomp their feet. And maybe a few other distortions as well. Chances are that by the end of the day they will be shattered and have a sore neck into the bargain.

Ok, this is pretty mild peril.

But in Alexander Technique terms, it’s a big difference.  The aim of learning the Alexander Technique (one of them, anyway) is to be able to achieve what you want to do – walking or anything else – easily and efficiently. Bringing on extra aches and pains that aren’t necessary is not part of the deal.

It’s not really practical to say to someone “you should never hurry”. Quite often we simply don’t have much time.   So for a more practical alternative, how about you look at the difference between hurrying and doing something quickly.  And no, this isn’t just playing with words.

If you’ve had a few Alexander lessons, you will be familiar with the question, “What do I need to do in order to walk?” (or any other activity you choose). You will have got pretty good at answering it. So now answer the question, “What do I need to do to walk quickly?”

The answer is: Exactly the same thing. You just move your legs faster.

You don’t need to poke your neck forward, or hunch your shoulders or round your back. These things have more to do with an emotional response to being late, hassled or anxious. They don’t achieve “faster”. You do need to reason through your task, and then carry it out exactly as you reasoned.

‘What do I need to do in order to walk?’
becomes ‘What do I need to do in order to walk quickly?’
‘What do I need to do in order to type?
becomes ‘What do I need to do in order to type quickly?
‘What do I need to do in order to wash the dishes?’
becomes ‘What do I need to do in order to wash the dishes quickly?’

It takes out the emotional pressure that goes with the idea of ‘hurrying’, and uses your reasoning processes to achieve your desired ends, quickly and easily.

Image courtesy of geralt at

CNHC and ITM registered Alexander Technique teacher.

Tagged with: , , ,
Posted in Alexander thinking, asking questions, effort, tips
3 comments on “An Alexander Technique Perspective on Hurrying
  1. Magdalena Portmann says:

    This is really brilliant! I would love to share the link to this with others. Can I?

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