Recently in Alexander ~ Notices Category

Holiday Dates

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Holiday Time!

I will be taking a break from teaching over the festive season:
Lunchtime Sat 22nd Dec. - resuming teaching Thursday 3rd Jan.   

Next Introductory Workshop will be held on 20th January to celebrate 
F M Alexander's 150th Birthday 
Watch this space for further details



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Don't forget to keep up with the AT over the holidays!

You might like to try lying down with your feet resting on a chair for a change. It's a good way to help your legs and lower back free-up and a useful variation of position you can use for the Active Rest procedure. 

Stress? Take it Lying Down. Candlelit Event

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Stress? Take it Lying Down
11 October 7.0pm ~ The Old Church Stokey N16

Candlelit event in London's only surviving Elizabethan Church

I am running this event with four AT colleagues, as part of International Alexander Technique Week 2018. Jessamy Harvey, Caroline Sears, Natasha Broke and Daniela Sangiorgio all trained at LCATT where I am a visiting teacher. The event is also fundraising for local charity Safaplace, which was formed to promote the positive mental health of children in Stoke Newington School and in the local area. 


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  • Come and hear about Safaplace charity
  • Learn how the Alexander Technique can help you manage stress
  • Experience the wonderful Active Rest procedure 
  • Try a mini hands-on turn with one of the 4 local AT teachers
  • Support Safaplace by your generous donations 

Tickets

SOLD OUT! However, we have a waiting list, so do book a free place below and we will contact you if tickets become available.

This is a 14+ event. Get your free tickets from Eventbrite, with suggested donations on the day to Safaplace, at entry and at the bar (yes, there will be a bar, run by kind volunteers!): 

Safaplace on the BBC

There is an interesting article about the sad reasons behind the formation of Safaplace on the BBC website. If you cannot attend this event, you might like to make a donation to Safaplace:  https://bbc.in/2NY8AkH


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Alexander Technique Intro Courses

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* Six Week Course for Beginners & Returners
Mondays: 10 September- 15 October ~  10.15am - 11.45am

Earlybird Fee by 20 August: £80 ~ Later Payment: £90
Hilary will be assisted by Jessamy Harvey MSTAT. 

Complete beginners need to have attended an Intro Workshop or had a 1:1 lesson before joining this Course.

NEARLY FULL - please phone to see if places are available: 020 7254 9206


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Small friendly group please enrol in advance - Further Info and Booking 

Venue overlooking Clissold Park:
3 Queen Elizabeth's Walk, Stoke Newington, N16 OBF




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Clissold Park Tennis Pavilion

The Club Room has a lovely view over Runtzmere Lake and the woodland area by Queen Elizabeth's Walk Gate.

Privacy Policy

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GDPR and Privacy

With the introduction of new laws re Privacy and Data Protection, I have introduced an improved Privacy Policy and a basic version of it is now accessible on my website. 

At the moment I am still refining this policy, along with information about Cookies and Terms and Conditions. This information will soon be completed and will also be available on my website. 

You may read my Privacy Policy here.

Walk With Awareness on Slippery Paths

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Use the Alexander Technique While You Walk

Winter brings rain, fallen leaves, ice and sometimes snow on the ground, which can make our footpaths very slippery and treacherous. 


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Icy Newington Green

You can see how quickly snow compacts into slippery ice, here on Newington Green - making it so easy to skid, slide and lose your balance, if you are not careful.

Observe Your Reactions and Walk Mindfully

How do you cope with slippery surfaces and paths? If you are aware, you can notice your reactions as you think of going out into the cold - do you start becoming tense at the mere thought of icy conditions? Perhaps you can say 'no' to bracing and choose not to do that, so that you can avoid building up unnecessary tension. Observe how you walk on slippery surfaces and experiment by relaxing and being thoughtful about how you move - and you may well experience a different, easier way of walking on slippery surfaces so you feel more secure and confident.

Try Ice Grippers on Your Boots

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Adding ice grippers to your footwear is a practical aid to helping you cope with icy condititions. They make it much easier to balance and to avoid tensing up if you have a fear of falling. 

I know from my own experience that it is very tempting to tighten up our legs, feet and ankles, the muscles around our hip joints and even our neck and shoulder muscles when walking on slippery surfaces. Most of the tightening is the result of anticipating a possible fall and this can be tiring plus restricts our movements and circulation - and it's a waste of energy! 

Say 'No' to Bracing!

We really don't need to brace 'just in case' we might slip and fall. This doesn't serve us. In fact, tightening our neck muscles reduces the information we can obtain about our balance, and locking our ankles and hips also interferes with our ability to fine tune our balance. A recent Research Trial concluded that Alexander Technique lessons aided older people with their balance and fear of falling, so that they felt more secure. 



I remember an occasion when I was walking tentatively on an icy pavement and I was gradually getting very tight muscles around the tops of my legs - then a teenage girl sprinted down the icy road in front of me with beautiful grace and freedom of movement. Seeing her easy running skills reminded me to keep freeing up my neck muscles and my whole body as I moved and I felt a lot more comfortable as a result! When we do this, we are able to obtain more information about our balance, not only from the structures in our ears but also from the tiny movements our heads make as we walk and the AT can help us to do this. It is always helpful to walk mindfully but it is particularly important when paths are slippery.  

If you would like to try out the AT, 1:1 Alexander Technique lessons are available on a regular basis. 

LieDownDay 9 October

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International Alexander Awareness Week 2017 9-15 October EVENTS

EVENT 1: Free Lying Down Day Workshop 9 Oct ~ Now Ended. 

EVENT 2: The first 6 people that contacted me have had a FREE 1/2 hour semisupine table-turn during IAAW week! 
Chill out and relax with the SemiSupine Lying Down Procedure, something that you can use throughout your life.

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EVENT 3: One Reduced Rate 3/4 hour private lesson at £30.
Available during October to participants of the workshop and to those having a table-turn session. Bring your diary....


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EVENT 4
Small Group Introductory Course:  30 October ~ 20 November ~ £60
Four Mondays: 1.30 - 3.00pm 
Limited Places so please enrol in advance 

Teaching the Alexander Technique

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I've been teaching the Alexander Technique for 29 years!

That deserves a quiet celebration....

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What an enjoyable and satisfying job this is too. I have met so many wonderful people from all walks of life, who have come to me for AT lessons and at least six of those have themselves gone on to train as Alexander teachers.

Of course I have also met many excellent and inspiring AT teachers over the years, including several first generation teachers who trained with F M Alexander himself.  I am very grateful to them as they have helped me to develop my skills and my own teaching work and I would like to thank them all.

One of the best things about being an Alexander teacher, is that I have to keep using the AT work for myself, otherwise my teaching would be worthless and I would probably end up with creating problems for myself, such as back pain.  There are not many jobs where looking after yourself is formally built-in, as an essential part of the process of working. Of course STAT expects teachers to have to have ongoing CPD training  but we also have to we aware of our own body-use minute by minute as we teach - and whilst we live our lives.

One of FM Alexander's graduates was Margaret Goldie and I had the privilege of having some lessons with her and of working at the Bloomsbury Alexander Centre with her for some years. Miss Goldie had had been teaching for 60 years and had her 90th birthday whilst teaching there - now that's an inspiring role model!

F M Alexander's Birthday

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F M Alexander was born on 20th January 1869 in Tasmania. 

Alexander was a premature baby and had a struggle to survive. He later attributed his frequent bouts of illness as a child and young man to his poor body-use and once he taught himself to improve this, after several years of meticulous research and experimentation, his health also began to improve.

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This print was made by FM Alexander's pupil Ronald Searle in 1953 and I am grateful that I can enjoy looking at this every day in my teaching room. Searle wrote under his signature:
"For 'FM' from the reconstituted artist, with thanks"

Alexander's family had originally lived, for many generations, in the ancient village of Ramsbury in Wiltshire. Whilst exploring some of my own family history I discovered that some of my mother's family also came from Ramsbury and one of them married a Mary Alexander in 1764, quite possibly part of F M's family, although I have not been able to verify this yet..... research still to be done here. 

F M's paternal grandfather, Matthias Alexander was a hurdle maker and other family members were craftsmen. However they supported the impoverished agricultural labourers during the swing riots, in which they protested against the new threshing machines which were costing them their livelihoods. As a result of this support, Alexander's family was sent to Tasmania as convicts in 1831, something that F M never admitted to in public. If you are interested in discovering more about Alexander's background, his biography by Michael Bloch makes for interesting reading.

From these difficult beginnings, F M developed an interest in horses and in the theatre and in 1889 he moved to Melbourne, Australia and began to train for a career as a reciter. A few years later, after many bouts of illness which threatened his new career, F M began to develop his now famous Technique. This process is described in some detail his book 'The Use of the Self' and it is highly recommended reading for anyone interested in learning more about the Alexander Technique.

After Alexander's death in 1955, a group of teachers that Alexander had trained, formed the Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique, STAT, in order to maintain and develop high standard of Alexander Technique Teacher Training and Professional practice. 

Alexander has been listed as one of the top 200 most important Australians and in Tasmania there's this inscription acknowledging his importance:

"On a nearby property was born Frederick Matthias Alexander, 20th January 1869 - 10th October 1955 Founder of the Alexander Technique, Discoverer of Fundamental Facts about Functional Human Movement. One of 200 who made Australia great".

Introductory Workshops

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My last Intro Workshop was for Women and Teenage Girls, celebrating International Women's Day 2015.
          
Although this particular workshop was just for women, it followed a similar pattern to the mixed workshops that I run at other times. Deena Newman, a graduate from the London Centre for Alexander Teaching and Training, kindly assisted me. We had an enjoyable morning introducing the AT to a group of women who were aged from a 17 year old, right through to a Senior, which was great. 


These intro workshops give people a chance to try out the Alexander Technique and to discover how we can begin to reduce stress and discomfort, whilst becoming more poised and increasing our sense of wellbeing. Some aspects of the Technique were explored through a mixture of experiential games, discussion and hands-on work whilst sitting, standing, walking and bending over to pick things up. 


One of the procedures that was learnt in the workshop was the Constructive Rest procedure, which is performed in a semi-supine position, as in the photo which shows some of the workshop participants lying down. (Many thanks to the women for allowing me to use this photo). This is a great technique to use in order to develop self-awareness and learn about ourselves, to help us calm down, to free up and to look after our backs. It is also something that people can start using to help themselves, immediately. 


When people start having 1:1 AT lessons, this procedure usually takes place whilst lying on a table, rather than the floor, whilst the teacher uses her / his hands to give feedback and to indicate to the pupil how to free up and make the best use of the process. Pupils are asked to practice this every day in order to develop the skills that make this a very powerful tool to use in our everyday lives. 


There is more info about using this lying down procedure here.


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One participant contacted me after the workshop and told me that she was in the middle of moving house and that 'I had to move a vanload of stuff after the group session - (the workshop) was ideal preparation'.  It's great when someone can have an immediate realisation like this, as to how useful the AT can be, for instance when picking up and carrying boxes in a way that can protect our backs! 


This IWD workshop was held in The Green House N16, which is an exciting new venue on Green Lanes and it is a co-working initiative.


My next Intro Workshop is for both Men and Women 25th April 2015

Alexander Technique for Women ?

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Why put on an Alexander Technique Workshop just for women?

Well, in the first place, some women just feel more comfortable attending this type of workshop if it is for women only and for some, their cultural background encourages them to attend classes in an all-female environment. 

Also, women do have some specific issues such as wearing high heels, pregnancy and childbirth, all of which can be thought about within the context of the Alexander Technique. For instance, many women experience back pain during pregnancy, or as the result of their habits or wearing stilettos  - all of these can compress the lower back, which can create an exaggerated lordosis, often leading to pain. By learning and using the Technique, which can help women use and carry their bodies differently, many such problems can often be alleviated.

Childbirth itself can be helped by using the Technique, as can carrying the baby once it is born - although this latter is (hopefully) not exclusively a woman's activity! One pupil said this:

"I wanted to thank you for all that you taught me over the 9 months of my pregnancy. My weekly Alexander Technique lessons with you were so valuable and I feel contributed hugely to my healthy pregnancy and were so helpful in preparing for the birth". 

A lovely little sculpture I saw in South Africa shows a baby being played with whilst the mother lies in semi-supine position, in a similar manner to how one uses it in the Alexander Technique (although the angle the woman is holding her head would probably be modified in an AT lesson). Lying in this position offers people a chance to let their spines lengthen and for their nervous systems to quieten down and this is a procedure that people are encouraged to practice every day as part of learning the Alexander Technique. (We don't usually lift babies above out heads during the constructive rest procedure though!)

This position can also be used more casually as in the sculpture, allowing parents an easy way to be in close relationship with baby, whilst looking after one,s back. Older babies will climb all over you but this can add to the joy - and your back is still being supported and protected.

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Andrew Gibson - Woman and Child ~ The Annexe, Kalk Bay S.A.

Would you like to find out more about the Alexander Technique?

Individual lessons  ~ for both men and women ~ are available on a regular basis. 

Next Workshop for Men and Women 25th April 2015