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Pilates and Alexander Technique

edited September 2007 in Learning
I have been working with an AT teacher for about 6 months and have had approximately 25 lessons, to help with lower pack pain and pain in the upper spine believed to be related to posture.

In that time I have not progressed much at all, as a result I am thinking of doing Pilates to complement the AT lessons.

However, my AT teacher warns against doing pilates becuase he says it only stengthens and therefore shortens the muscles in the stomach area, and long term pliates practice can lead to kyphosis. Surely this cannot be true !


  • Hello Alan,

    If you haven't already, maybe you should take a look at this site

    and follow a few of the links to see if that helps clarify matters.

    When you say you haven't progressed much after 25 lessons, do you mean you're still in the same amount of pain?

  • Hi Nicholas

    Yes - I am still in pain.

    I did review the papers on the web site you mentioned, and they seemed to support that pilates and alexander technique work well together. I guess what I am looking for from my question, was do any indivdiduals have direct experience of pilates somehow affecting posture in a negative way ? Any feedback appreaciated.

    best wishes
  • Hello Alan,

    I think the way you live your 'ordinary life' holds as much, if not more, danger to your posture than any amount of Pilates.

    As you will know from having Alexander lesssons, the key isn't so much what you do as how you do it.

    Having said that, if you're wary of overdoing things, I've found the 'effortless' exercises at this website remarkably helpful over the years.

  • I found Pilates really painful but AT brilliant so I stopped Pilates a long time ago- no intention ever to do again!
  • Where can I get hold of
    Garlick D (1990) The Lost Sixth Sense: a medical scientist looks at the Alexander Technique. University of New South Wales School of Physiology and Pharmacology?
    It seems to be out of print everywhere
    Chris Stevens:Towards a Physiology of the AAlexander Technique, a work in progress.
  • If you haven't already, you could try here, where it says 'in print';

    Or here, where is says 'temporarily out of stock':
  • Hello
    I am also wondering about whether AT and Pilates are compatible. Had a serious back injury last year, prior to which I had done Pilates. This did strengthen my core and helped me with lifting. However, since doing AT I realise I had been tightening too much and lengthening but not widening. Currently tightening makes my back curve more and gives me more pain. However Pilates was mentioned by my spinal consultant as I have an unstable spine, problems with the lumbar and sacroiliac areas.

    Dont know whether to take up Pilates again, or will this undo the work on widening? Realise I had also been tightening a lot and this does not help with the pain, yet fell it did help me with strength. I currently find bending brings on the pain and can't lie too long in semi supine.

    Any ideas ? Thanks
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