Watch Out for the Startle Pattern

Hello All!

Fall is upon us and that means it’s getting colder outside. There are changes in foliage and fashion. All sorts of layers, scarves, coats and jackets bombard us at this time of year. I bring this up, not as a fashionista, but as an Alexander Technique teacher.

This is a gentle reminder to be aware of the “startle pattern” and the toll it can take on our bodies. If you find yourself looking like the image below this Fall, you’re tightening in the neck, pulling your skull back and down on your spine and shortening in your back. All of this just to try and stay warm!?

The startle pattern is an animal property and a safety mechanism for protecting the base parts of the brain in cases of danger. Think of a frightened squirrel debating whether to make a run for it in the middle of the road. All animals have this pattern at their disposal and for good reason, think of life or death situations! However, as humans, we tend to stay scrunched and startled for far too long. Typically we’re in a hurry and end up leaving our bodies out in the cold, posturally speaking. When this happens our head, neck and spine relationship cannot function properly and lead us UP in relation to gravity. On the next frigid day, take note and simply STOP the startle pattern response in it’s tracks. That’s all you have to do. Just because the temperature drops doesn’t mean that your shoulders have to go up!

Joe and the Alexander Technique