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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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?”

Read More

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.

Read More

Organization: start with yourself

Organization: Start with yourself

"When we have our body and mind in order, everything else will exist in the right place, in the right way.  But usually, without being aware of it, we try to change something other than ourselves, we try to order things outside us.  But it is impossible to organize things if you yourself are not in order.  When you do things in the right way, at the right time, everything else will be organized. "   -- Shunryu Suzuki (Japanese Zen Master)

Read More

Rate of Change

Rate of Change (originally published 8/8/05)

When people begin studying something new (especially if it's helping them feel better), it's natural for them to want to learn all they can, right away and be a model pupil.  Often, my clients get a great deal of relief when they first start to study, and because they have been in discomfort, they want to do all they can to hold onto the new state they are in.

Read More

It's about so much more than posture...

These are my thoughts on why Alexander teaches us not to end-gain to fix localized conditions or problems, but instead apply the means-whereby that begins with the more beneficial carriage of the head in relation to the spinal column.

statue-2905239_640.jpg

I have been thinking about AT as a tool for change: When you improve conditions through the head/neck/back and begin to function in a way where they are integrated, your perception of situations change as your sensory appreciation becomes more accurate and reliable. This change in perception is where AT facilitates the greatest change of use. It’s not about better body mechanics, or posture, or more refined coordination on a purely movement based, motor behavior level. It’s about totality, the constellation of perception and action relative to how we experience the world through our use, that affords us the most profound level of change, healing and transformation. We can respond more effectively and masterfully to the stimuli we meet.

7 Tips for Bringing Alexander Technique Awareness into Everyday Life

7 Tips for Bringing Alexander Technique Awareness into Everyday Life

Private lessons are a great way to understand your own habits and how Alexander Technique tools can help you find greater ease in daily activities, and specialized skills. We refer to our clients as students because we are teaching skills that offer independence outside of sessions.

Read More