Posture Exercises: How to Relieve Back Pain and Improve Your Stature

Posted by admin on Jun 15, 2009

Most posture exercises are centred around the strengthening of weak muscles, in order to realign poor posture. However, the Alexander technique has a completely different approach to relieving back pain that involves lying down in a particular position for 20 minutes each day. Having attended several Alexander Technique courses I believe this approach (unlike other posture exercises) is 10 times more effective and has a long lasting effect for many years. 

I could go on about why the so-called “semi-supine” position is such an effective posture exercise, but I think that it will be much better if you simply try it out for a few days and experience it for yourself.

As a general rule, this exercise is safe for most people to do, as it involves no lifting of weights or putting your body into weird positions.  However, if you are in any doubt you should consult your doctor first just to be on the safe side.

The following video is a step-by-step instruction on how to get the most out of the semi-supine position. For those who prefer a written description,  I have included one beneath the video.

This exercise is most commonly associated with the Alexander technique, as a way to relieve unnecessary muscle tension throughout the body. It involves lying down on your back with some books underneath your head, your knees bent, and with your hands resting on your navel. 

The amount of books to put under your head needs to be adjusted according to your current posture. Although the best thing to do is to ask an Alexander technique teacher, if this is not possible please follow these steps: —

  • Stand with your back against a flat surface such as a door or wall.
  • Don’t try to stand up straight, just stand in your normal way with your buttocks and shoulder blades lightly touching the wall.
  • Without moving, have someone measure the distance between the wall and the back of your head
  • This distance is the thickness of the books that you should have and your head for the exercise. 

Note: it’s better to have too many books under your head than too few. 

There are many ways to get into the semi-supine position, but here is one preferred way that is probably the easiest. 


Getting into the Semi-Supine Position

  • Find a flat piece of floor to lie down on — preferably carpeted, if not then lay a blanket down.
  • Keep your spine upright and put one leg forwards and go down onto the other knee.
  • Place the books to your left or to your right, but not directly in front of you, as this will be where your head will be resting.
  • Place both hands on the floor so that you are on all fours.
  • Take one knee and put it through the gap and then naturally roll onto your back, putting your head onto the books.
  • Bring your knees up so that they are facing the ceiling. Your feet should be as near as possible to your pelvis, whilst still remaining comfortable.


Coming out of the Semi-Supine Position

  • Roll your body off the books so that you are lying face down with the support of one hand and one leg.
  • Rise yourself up onto all fours once again.
  • Pick up the books and then place one leg in front of the other, leaving money on the grounds.
  • Think of your head going forward and up, whilst leaning forward and you will find that you will naturally come into the standing position.

In a later post I will go through the reasons why this is probably the best of any posture exercises I have tried. For best results you should do this exercise for 20 minutes each day. Almost everyone who sticks to the habit of doing this exercise every day notices an improvement in their posture. The biggest problem people face is remembering to do it each and every day for a prolonged period, so you might want to set an alarm to go off at a set time every day. If you’re really dedicated about improving your posture and relieving back pain, then you will see an improvement from these posture exercises.



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Posture Correction Expert Blames School Chairs for Nation’s Backache

Posted by admin on Jan 8, 2009

I’ve just made this new video in which posture correction expert, Richard Brennan, talks about how chairs can damage your posture….

Here is some more info about products mentioned in or related to the video, together with links of where to buy.

Posture Correction Wedge Shaped Cushions— in the video, Richard mentions that the firmness is very important so that it can properly support the pelvis. Unlike other softer wedge shaped cushions, the one that we recommend is extra firm (made from 8lb chip foam).

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Posture Correction Video Reveals Why So Many People Are Getting Back Ache

Posted by admin on Jan 5, 2009

 Here is a posture correction video that helps to explain why people get a bad back in the first place. It shows how most people have a misconception about the location of their hip joints and so end up not using their knees and hips to pick up an object.


Take a look at this video to understand what I mean….



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Alexander Technique-Mayo Clinic

Posted by admin on Aug 29, 2010

Yoga, Pilates, tai chi, meditation. All are activities that can improve your health by enhancing the mind-body balance. Now you can add the Alexander technique to that list. It’s a very gentle practice geared toward improving your movement, posture and quality of life. Here’s more from fitness experts at Mayo Clinic.

Duration : 0:2:7

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Silver Fox Alexander Technique Introduction

Posted by admin on Jun 23, 2010

The Alexander Technique teaches you to manage and reduce chronic pain and low back pain. Annette Schmidt, a certified Alexander Technique teacher provides this overview.

Duration : 0:4:7

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Tai Chi and Gardening with Alexander Technique Lessons

Posted by admin on Jun 21, 2010

Marie Favorito talks about how Alexander Technique lessons helps with Tai Chi, gardening and personal relationships. For more information about Marie visit:

Duration : 0:2:16

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Exercises for lower back pain?

Posted by admin on Jun 20, 2010

I have a weak back from carrying a cello around a lot. I haven’t carried it much recently, but my back seems to have gone again, three days before I’m due to start at music college. I have had Alexander Technique lessons in the past, and will take them on again at college. Please don’t tell me to see a doctor, as I fully intend to visit one when I move cities in a few days. But I don;t want to turn up with my back as bad as it is – so does anybody know of any exercises/sites that give exercises to alleviate it a bit?

This works for me…
Stand with your back against the wall. Slide down a little, and move your feet so that your back is against the wall and your knees are bent at about a 45 degree angle. Tilt your pelvis upward so that you are pressing the small of your back against the wall. Hold this position for about 5 seconds. Repeat 10 times.

I do this two or three times a day and it helps a lot. It increases strength in the muscles supporting your back and core so that your back/spine doesn’t have to do all the work. And surprisingly, sometimes it offers instant relief too.
Good luck to you.

The Alexander Technique and Piano Playing

Posted by admin on Jun 14, 2010

Pianist, Mike Serio tells us about his experiences with Alexander Technique lessons.

Opening music by Cat Stevens.
The two compositions Mike plays are Quejas o la maja y el ruisenor from Goyescas by Granados and a little snippet of the Consolation No.3 in D Flat major by Liszt.

For more information about the Alexander Technique visit:

Duration : 0:7:9

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ATMV518 Jean Clark – Introduction, The Alexander Technique

Posted by admin on Jun 12, 2010

An Introduction to The Alexander Technique with Jean Clark Interviewed by Freda Hart, filmed in 1979 probably one of the first of this type ever made

Duration : 0:5:54

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Alexander Technique and Focusing

Posted by admin on Jun 6, 2010

Alexander Technique and Focusing Instructor Kevin McEvenue talks about these two processes.

For more information about the Alexander Technique, visit their website at

For more videos related to focusing, visit

Duration : 0:8:2

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Posture Correction Method Called Body Mapping