When it comes to looking good, we all know that the perfect dress isn't everything. You could buy the most amazing dress in the world, but if it's hanging down from hunched shoulders then the impact will most certainly be lost. Christmas is an exciting time to dress up, and whether to impress colleagues at the office party, or to wow friends and family, it's important to ensure that you're looking and feeling good - not only for December but right through to next year.
Christmas comes around alarmingly fast the older you get, and the only way to slow down time's winged chariot is surely to be in the moment, to appreciate the now, to stop for a second and be where you are. Before discovering the Alexander Technique, my mind was more often occupied with dwelling on the past or worrying about the future - both a waste of valuable energy! Would I have noticed the brilliant Christmas window displays in London's Peter Jones for example? Possibly not. Christmas in the city means huge Christmas trees, twinkling lights, open air ice rinks, cashmere scarves, sharp cocktail dresses, smoky make-up, Champagne and office parties. My days of working for big companies are over, but so many of my clients are office workers, as the sedentary lifestyle is responsible for so much back pain.
I will never forget that one day of the year when the colleagues you see every day transform into sharp suited men and glamorous girls in sexy dresses. Someone can always be guaranteed to have a few too many glasses of wine- who can forget Renee Zellweger as Bridget Jones doing her rendition of "Without You" with Hugh Grant wincing from the sidelines? But there will be those who are remembered for how good they looked that night. It may be the best opportunity a girl has all year to show off her great posture, so why not splash out on a new dress by your favourite designer - mine is Diane Von Furstenberg, and I'll be choosing from her range of cocktail dresses pretty soon. Often, clients thinking of Christmas parties will bring their stilettos along to Alexander Technique lessons, and we'll work on walking comfortably whilst remaining poised and balanced.
My birthday falls in December, and this year a bunch of us are celebrating with skating at Somerset House, followed by a private dinner, and who knows where the night will end? There will be several Alexander Technique teachers (and students) at the table, so we may well be the most poised group to be found in the West End of London that night! Learning to skate in my forties has proved a huge challenge for me as the demands on balance and posture are extreme. Without the Alexander Technique I'm sure I would have given up after a few lessons, but now I find the open air rinks are the best thing about Christmas.
One worry students have is that the results they achieve in the lesson will gradually slip away once they leave the studio, however after a while this doesn't need to be the case. When you learn the Alexander Technique you learn a more efficient 'use' of the self and an increased awareness of your postural habits, so whether you are on the dance floor at the office party, or doing your food shopping, you'll be more conscious of the way that you're moving all the time. In other words there isn't one particular activity that is aided by the Alexander Technique, but rather all activities are.
As important as it is to look good over the festive period, it's even more important to feel good. By improving the connection between body and mind, we can ensure that the way we look on the outside is reflected on the inside, and vice versa. When the parties come to an end, and you've hung up your dancing shoes for yet another year, you can be safe in the knowledge that you will still be turning heads right through to January, February and beyond. Many people feel the positive effects of the Alexander Technique in their very first lesson, so Christmas could be the perfect time to dip your toe in the Alexander Technique water, and change your life for the better, just as I did.