I Love My Work
How often do you hear people say that? Possibly not as many times as you would like – but you would probably hear a lot of Alexander teachers saying this – myself included. In fact I heard a colleague saying this a couple of days ago.
Helping people to be more comfortable in their bodies and at ease with themselves, is very satisfying and it is a privilege to be able to do this. Also, in order to be able to teach other people, every Alexander teacher has to look after themselves and to pay attention to their own body-use, particularly during the act of teaching. Regularly practising the active rest procedure in semi-supine is one part of this process and it helps to maintain a lengthened spine, relaxed body, a quiet mind and nervous system – and helps us to re-charge our batteries. What a lovely work requirement!
This is in contract to my first career in classical ballet. Life at the Royal Ballet School could be very exciting but also challenging and could be unpleasant with all the pressures involved. Once I started training as an Alexander teacher I realised just how much I had, as a dancer, been trying to force my body to perform better and better and to stretch more and more – and just how this way of making my body do things had caused damage. I had to unlearn lots of negative attitudes and habits that did not serve me! Learning the AT introduced me to the initially strange concept of allowing my body to work the way it needs and wants to, without over-controlling it all the time. Such a relief!
I find AT work is so rewarding, particularly when my pupils say things to me such as
- “Lying down in semi-supine is the best part of my day”
- “My back pain has improved massively since starting AT lessons”
- “I can’t imagine how people manage without using the AT”
- “AT has helped me be more upright and confident so I don’t feel I have to hide any more”
- “It feels as if someone has just oiled my spine!”
- “I have already benefited a lot from this first session”
It is immensely gratifying to know that 1:1 Alexander lessons can bring so much help and indeed pleasure to pupils who learn it and use it in their daily lives. The more people take the AT work on board and think about how to use it, daily, the more they will benefit and the more at ease in their bodies they will be. Many people find that learning the AT really improves the quality of their life – and it has also greatly improved the quality of my life AND my working life.
I also work at LCATT, teaching Alexander teacher trainees, which is very enjoyable stimulating and rewarding. The students and staff are such a dedicated and friendly group of people at this Alexander teacher training course and it is very special to see each person blossoming into becoming an AT teacher. It is great sending more Alexander teachers out into the world, so that more people can experience the joys and benefits of learning the AT.
It is quite special when one of my Alexander pupils who has gone on to train as an AT teacher, then teaches a pupil who also trains and qualifies as an AT teacher. It’s like being a Grandparent!