There was an interesting article by Sam Murphy in the Guardian (Wed 6th November ’07) called ‘More Speed, Less Pain’. Murphy writes about the experience of learning to run differently through having a running lesson with Malcolm Balk, who combines the Alexander Technique with running skills and has developed an approach to his teaching called ‘The Art of Running’. This article can still be seen online at Guardian Unlimited and is well worth reading, whether you are interested in running to improve your health, or the Alexander Technique, or both, as it gives you a taste of the way in which you can train yourself to run using the Technique.
As Murphy puts it ‘I’ve been running for 18 years and it’s never felt this easy and, well, bouncy’. The article’s title also indicates that it is possible to move faster when using the A/T, not that we all have to slow down, as some people fear they will have to do, in order to be aware of their use. When we let go of habits that interfere with our movements, it is possible to act freely and more speedily, if we choose to. This is quite another experience to that of rushing around, whilst end-gaining in a driven manner.
In his article, Murphy refers to several of F M Alexander’s theories such as doing, non-doing and end-gaining – and for those of you have not come across these concepts as used in the Alexander Technique, you may like to refer to my Glossary Definitions of these terms.
Murphy also quotes Alexander as saying “Stop what you are doing wrong, and the right will take care of itself” – something we could all do well to remember. However some people may benefit from the help of an Alexander teacher, in order to understand how to do this during our activities.
Malcolm Balk has also written a book which many Alexander students have found interesting and helpful to use when thinking about how to apply the Alexander Technique to their running, so that can can run freely and with poise, whilst helping themselves to avoid injury.
Master the Art of Running by Malcolm Balk and Andrew Shields is available here for just £8.39 at the moment – (usual price £12.99)