THE ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE: MISUSE IN PREGNANCY

In four-legged animals the weight of pregnancy is distributed over four legs, but in humans all the extra weight (the baby, the uterus and the breasts) is carried at the front of the body. Because there is more weight in front there is an increased tendency for the body to fall forwards. The muscles at the back of the body therefore have to work more to maintain the balance. From an Alexander perspective, misuse is when this increased muscular activity is concentrated in specific areas.

The way in which a pregnant woman compensates for the increased imbalance will reflect her habitual misuse. If she has a tendency to an over-tense posture, she will pull her head and upper back backwards, by over-contracting the muscles of the lower back. The woman with a more collapsed posture will give up all attempt to retain her uprightness. In both cases the deep muscles in the pelvis and the muscles of the legs have to work extremely hard to maintain the balance, and there will be excessive tension in the joints, which will restrict their range of movement. The ligaments are also put under a lot of strain, because instead of doing their normal job -which is to make the joints more stable - they have to do a great deal of the work of supporting the body (which should be done by the muscles).

Unfortunately, instead of stabilizing the balance, this way of compensating creates a vicious circle of misuse. In both the over-tense posture and the collapsed posture, the lower back is allowed to curve forwards excessively, which throws the weight of the baby even more forwards. The body then has to further compensate by contracting muscles in an attempt to bring the centre of gravity back. And so it goes on, made worse by the fact that the baby meanwhile is increasing in size. This gives us the commonly accepted image of the pregnant woman having a very hollow back with the pregnancy carried far out in front. Some pregnancy books even suggest this is a physiologically natural aspect of pregnancy!

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WHAT MAKES A WOMAN FEEL CONNECTED AND INTIMATE: WOMEN FEEL CONNECTED AND INTIMATE WHEN A MAN INCLUDES US IN THE PROCESS OF HIS LIFE

One of the most powerful ways to create an intimate connection with your partner and make her feel truly loved and cared for is to include her in the process of your life.

Including your partner in your life means:

Share the details of your daily experiences.

When you share with your mate about what goes on during your day, it allows her to harmonize more with you and feel closer since she understands what you've experienced. Talking about your everyday experiences invites her more deeply into your life, and that creates a powerful sense of connection, as if your two separate worlds are linked together as one.

Inform her about problems or difficulties you 're facing.

Conventional wisdom plus thousands of years of conditioning tells a man to shield the woman he loves from his problems—that if he appears to be weak or not know the answer, he will lose her affection. Nothing could be farther from the truth. An emotionally healthy woman will feel even closer to you when you share your difficulties, because she will realize you are opening your heart to her. One wife said:

"When my husband tells me he's feeling down or sad or insecure about something, my heart just opens up even wider to him. It makes me feel like he really trusts me. To tell you the truth, it's one of the most intimate things he can do."

Remember: Shared vulnerability creates intimacy. Besides, hiding problems never works—she will feel it anyway, and the act of not reaching out to her will make her feel you don't value her. More about this later.

Involve her in decisions you need to make that affect her.

So many women mentioned this point in the surveys and interviews I did for this book. When a man internalizes his thinking or decision-making process, and doesn't discuss it with his partner, it makes her feel very left out and disconnected. I know many men don't do this on purpose, nor do they want their mate to feel shut out. But this is, indeed, the effect it has.

"I feel so disconnected from my husband when he disengages and acts in isolation," one woman told me. "He makes decisions alone without asking for my opinion, as if I don't exist. He just goes ahead on his own and shuts me out of the process, like that part of his life has nothing to do with me."

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