How Alexander Technique helped me recognize and ease anxiety and depression

How Alexander Technique helped me recognize and ease anxiety and depression

I was raised by two parents who live in a constant state of anticipatory anxiety. When I started my Alexander Teacher Training at ACAT in 1987, I had mild panic attacks, which disappeared over the three years of training.

When I would subsequently experience the physical sensations that came with those panic attacks, I would notice my inner narrative would start to tell me frightening things. Other times I would begin thinking about something that was frightening and the sensations would begin.

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Working with Rhythm: Smoother movement for better coordination

Working with Rhythm: Smoother movement for better coordination

As an Alexander Teacher, I have been trained to observe and analyze my students’ movements and behaviors, so that I can teach them tools to maximize their efficiency while minimizing physical and mental stress.

One measure I use to that end is movement quality. I use a couple different scales, one of which is the range from smooth to jerky.

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Learning the Alexander Technique can reduce your degree of head forward posture, and most students enjoy their lessons.

Learning the Alexander Technique can reduce your degree of head forward posture, and most students enjoy their lessons.

A simple google search with the term “effects of head forward posture” yields results that show a possible correlation between degree of forward displacement and pain in computer users; increased time spent sitting at a desk increasing instances of neck pain; and a decrease in respiratory efficiency

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For Alexander Teachers: Foundations of effective teaching

For Alexander Teachers: Foundations of effective teaching

There are many signposts of the progress during training.

One benchmark I monitor is the how hard the student is trying to “get it right”. Alexander used a term called end-gaining, which refers to a degree of habit and automaticity in carrying out an activity.

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Still Procrastinating, and making progress: AT in a technical crisis

Still Procrastinating, and making progress: AT in a technical crisis

My writer’s block is still with me. I have written down notes and titles for 12 or more topics, but just can’t seem to find the inspiration to sit and get the writing done.

In the meantime, necessity is the mother of invention. I somehow managed to delete every email in my inbox on my desktop computer. 14,000+ to be exact. I only keep the last week’s worth of messages on my web-based server. 11 years deleted.

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Problem Solving

Problem Solving

Alexander didn't have a teacher to help him solve his vocal problems.  He had no one telling him where to begin or how to approach finding a solution, so he began with simple observation and then experimented on a trial and error basis.

One of Alexander's observations and concerns, as he worked for over 60 years teaching people from all walks of life, was the lack of critical reasoning people brought to problem solving.

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My Valentine to the Alexander Technique

Happy Valentine’s Day. I wish you chocolate, pleasure, connection, ease, and a generally good day.

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I started the day with dance class, one of those spaces in my life where my mind focuses on the present moment. I don’t think about anything but what I am doing. It’s the best form of meditation for me - moving and active.

I spent the rest of this day arm deep in old documents from the American Center for the Alexander Technique, preserving the history of 54 years of people who came together in our shared love of The Alexander Technique.

For those of you who haven’t experienced it yet, find out for yourself. Take a lesson and decide for yourself.

While I was scanning documents and organizing things, I had on Spotify, listening to a one of the curated playlists they have called “Easy 80s”. That music really takes me back to a formative time in my life, and the soundtrack that played kept the pleasure coming all day.

What has all this got to do with the Alexander Technique? My capacity to be present, pay attention, focus and productive has been greatly enhanced by the technique. I am having such a lovely day, enjoying myself and grateful to be alive. Alexander Technique helps me choose where to direct my focus, so more of my days are spent in ease and pleasure.

Don’t get me wrong, I know life isn’t all roses. I’ve written about some of my not so great days in these blogs, you can read about how the Alexander Technique helped me then, too.



For Alexander Teachers: Perfection Not Required

For Alexander Teachers: Perfection Not Required

My great joy is training Alexander Teachers. I had the honor of serving as Director of Training at The American Center for the Alexander Technique from 2008 through 2018, at which time we closed our doors. In my tenure on the faculty, from 1992 until 2018, I had a chance to participate in training over 130 teachers. I have also had a chance to serve as guest faculty on other courses and offer post-graduate training to colleagues from all over the world.

I have been profoundly impressed with all my colleagues’ commitment to excellence, regardless of their “Alexander lineage” or style of teaching.

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The trap of wanting to have “Good Use”

The trap of wanting to have “Good Use”

As I sit here at my computer typing this, I am a bit slumped, resting on my forearms, legs crossed, breath somewhat shallow. Before I rush to change position, I am finding a bit more inner space. I loosen tension in my face and jaw, and realize I want to raise my desk chair and sit closer to the edge. Phew, that’s better!

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Finding my Inner Adult and other Adventures in the Alexander Technique

Finding my Inner Adult and other Adventures in the Alexander Technique

Most people consider the Alexander Technique a highly effective resource for improving posture, recovering from injury and managing the physical effects of stress, repetitive strain injuries and the demands of daily life. It certainly can provide relief and improvement in all of those areas. READ MORE

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An Approach to Training Teachers: start with Alexander's means-whereby

An Approach to Training Teachers: start with Alexander's means-whereby

This week, a student on the ACAT training course (trainee) commented that there didn't seem to be specific instruction on the nuts and bolts of teaching: where to put hands, what to say, and the sequence in which to do things.

Within the ACAT curriculum, those types of specifics do get covered, in a fair bit of detail, as the terms progress. However, before that level of specificity is introduced, I want to give the trainee an understanding of Alexander's means-whereby for using the hands.

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You are lighter than you think: getting up from a chair

You are lighter than you think: getting up from a chair...One of the side benefits of being an Alexander Teacher is my constant search for novel ways to help my students relate to the skills we are teaching. It is no surprise to me that after almost 30 years of teaching, I can still find a new, simpler and more accessible way to describe a common,  habit that gives my students access to an easier, less stressful way to perform a task.

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Embracing Change

Embracing Change...

Alexander Teachers could be considered “change agents” for the individual. We help our students expand ways of being in thinking, movement and behavior.

That can seem vague and hard to articulate, and many Alexander Teachers find ourselves momentarily tongue-tied when someone asks: “What is the Alexander Technique?”

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Thinking to muscles

Thinking to muscles:

From the archives: originally published 10/22/04

Last week, I wrenched my back lifting an air conditioner out of the window. It was a pinching, shooting pain when I moved in certain ways.  I finished carrying the air conditioner into the other room to tuck it away in a closet, and then I lay down on my teaching table. I began sending my Alexander directions, and imagining the knot in my back muscle releasing and unwinding.

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