"); Skip to main content

Natural Awakenings NYC & Long Island

The Power of the Allowing Hand

By Jean McClelland

The hands of an Alexander Technique (AT) teacher are extraordinary. Through disciplined training, their hands learn to guide and help a student experience their wholeness and improved coordination. Even though Alexander teachers practice “non-doing” and “allowing hands,” their hands are not passive; they are filled with intention, and they communicate integration and improved coordination (called “use” in AT). Teachers don’t fix the part that ails someone. Instead, they guide the student to experience how overall good use can support the body in such a way that no one part of the musculoskeletal anatomy is overworked leading to pain. 

Allowing is powerful, and anyone can learn to put an “allowing hand” on themself. Allowing helps us touch our wholeness, and the practice of allowing hands helps us become totally present. To understand this further, try this experiment: Take one hand and place it on the upper chest. Notice how contact is made. Is the hand pressing into the chest as if to feel it? If so, let go of any tension in the hand and simply let it be with the upper chest. Let the sternum come into the hand rather than pushing the hand onto it. Can you feel the rise and fall of breath under your hand? 

At first it might feel strange to give up the idea of breathing and let our body breathe us. But we might also notice that a full and deep breath arises spontaneously. It is pleasurable to feel our own body open up to be breathed—to be inspired. 

When we sense the difference between imposing and allowing, we will notice the shift instantly in our whole being. Imposing closes us down and allowing opens us up so that the inner muscles of coordination (i.e., our respiratory muscles) engage and we feel light and buoyant. Don’t be surprised if emotion begins to well up inside. Allowing connects us to a profound place of wholeness in ourselves and to our “still small voice within.” M. Scott Peck, the author of The Road Less Traveled, describes this eloquently when he says, “Whenever we touch our wholeness—our holiness—there are tears.”

Jean McClelland, MAmSAT, is a senior teacher of the Alexander Technique and teaches voice and Alexander Technique in the MFA acting program at Columbia University. For more information, visit JeanMcClellandVoice.com

Join Our Community Newsletter
Your Wellness Dream Team



Special Offers & Savings


 Click on Globe

Holistic Local Directory




Follow us on Facebook
Distribution Map


NA Long Island
Natural Awakenings Videos