Category Archives: Alexander ~ Notices

May 2024 be Healthy & Happy. Alexander Term 8 Jan

Wishing everyone a happy, healthy and peaceful New Year!

Alexander Technique Term Starts Monday 8 January

I am looking forward to teaching Alexander lessons again and to helping people feel more comfortable in their own bodies. Our next AT term starts on Monday 8th January. Some days each week I will be teaching at LCATT, the Alexander Teacher Training Course in Highbury. I will of course also be seeing clients at my AT studio on the Harringay Ladder, near Finsbury Park.

My Alexander Technique Studio is close to Finsbury Park 

My Teaching Studio

Many thanks to my pupils for their patience over recent weeks while I had the builders in and then was away visiting my family in Brazil. With the completion of the building works, I now have a cloakroom on the ground floor next to my teaching room, so it is more accessible for people. Also, the floor in my studio has been replaced, which will make working in that room more pleasant for everyone.

Room Hire

In the near future, the studio will become available for other practitioners such as teachers and therapists to use. If you are interested in hiring the room on a part time basis once it is available, do contact me.

Malcolm King

Sad News

It was with sadness that I learned of the death of Malcolm King on 16 June in Brussels.  He was a singing teacher, Alexander Technique teacher, my ex-husband and father of our two children.


Malcolm King

Malcolm and I met when we were both working with Sadlers Wells Opera – now the ENO.  I was dancing in the Opera Ballet and Malcom was initially singing in the chorus but he soon began being offered solo parts there. We married and had two children. Malcolm’s work with Scottish Opera, Glyndebourne and the Royal Opera House further developed his career as a soloist.

Malcolm moved abroad when we got divorced and he built up his international singing career and remarried. He worked with major US and European companies and conductors, in both concert and operatic settings.  Malcolm also began to teach singing in the Italian Belcanto style, following on the tradition from his own teachers.

He later trained as an Alexander Technique teacher and he incorporated ‘this inestimable tool’ into his singing-teaching practice and also ran master classes in Europe.  Malcolm was an active member of  AEFMAT, the Association of Teachers of the F.M. Alexander Technique in Belgium, which is affiliated to STAT.

Malcolm King will be missed by many whose lives he touched, including his wife Lorenza (Enci) and his children Adam and Sarah.

Have You Noticed Your Reactions When Taking a Covid-19Test?

What is your reaction when you think of having to take a Covid-19 Test?

I was surprised to notice my reactions when taking a Covid-19 Test today. I have taken dozens of Lateral Flow Tests, yet still have a low level of anxiety at the thought of taking a test!

What is your reaction when you see a Covid -19 Test?

My anxiety reactions were more obvious recently, after I discovered I had been in contact with someone who’d tested positive. I had a sinking feeling deep in my belly and my back and neck muscles tightened up. Despite my being multiple vaccinated, still being very careful and wearing masks occasionally, I do still worry that I may catch Covid.

I thought I was relaxed about Lateral Flow Tests but noticed I tensed up merely at the thought of needing a test.  My reactions were stronger when I recently had to have a PCR test as well. Thankfully it was negative again.

I have taken regular tests for my teaching and I can get a bit blasé and fall into end gaining. When I do this, much of my awareness can vanish.  ‘Let’s get this out of the way’ sort of reaction kicks in. I often tighten my neck and jaw as I wipe the swab around my nostrils.  Do you notice doing that and if so, can you choose not to? At least with the newer test kits, we don’t have to wipe our tonsils as well. I had to be very thoughtful doing that, to avoid tightening my neck as I looked at my throat in the mirror.

Waiting for the Test Results

If I go into automatic or anxious mode, I tend to curl down to peer at the test cassette. Firstly, in order to drop the liquid into it, then to read the results. That is not looking after my neck or back!  Why do I contract down, rather than using an easy folding movement?  Also, why do I rush to set the timer, to tell me when to check the results? Rushing does not help in any way. Have you noticed how you react  when you perform Covid-19 tests?

It is interesting to be reminded of how old unhelpful habits tend to return under stress

Preparing for My Next Test

So next time, I will pause briefly before getting out a Lateral Flow Test and will aim to avoid that unnecessary tension and end gaining. Being more aware should help make the testing process easier, more comfortable and less stressful. After all, I’m going to have to take many more in the future, so let’s make it a more positive experience!

Alexander Technique Offer for Junior NHS Staff

Alexander Technique lessons offer for NHS nurses and junior doctors.

Alexander Technique lessons offer for nurses and junior doctors: 10% reduction.  Just contact me using an NHS email address. More senior Doctors and Consultants are of course welcome to have Alexander Technique lessons but are now charged the usual rates for these.

During lockdown, I offered all NHS staff six free online Alexander lessons as a thank you for their dedication and hard work during the COVID-19 pandemic. I am pleased to say that several doctors and midwives took up that offer.

I am registered with both STAT and the CNHC and have an enhanced DBS certificate

Online lessons usually take place on Zoom

The Constructive Rest Lying Down Procedure

Learning the constructive rest (or lying down) procedure, for instance, gives us a tool we can use to relax, reduce tension and pain, plus recharge our batteries.  Using this procedure daily can help us avoid burnout through stress and overwork, whilst reducing problems such as back pain.  Is is such a refuge!

In lessons, we also begin to recognise our habits of body use that cause us problems.  When we learn to let go of unhelpful habits and reactions, we can move and act more mindfully in the world, enhancing our wellbeing.

Testimonial from a GP

You may like to read a testimonial from a student of mine, a GP and amateur musician:

 “A very committed and experienced teacher

“As an amateur musician with problems of tension getting in the way of performance, I was delighted to discover that (Hilary) had experience with helping musicians, but I can thoroughly recommend her to musicians and non-musicians alike. She is a very committed and experienced teacher. I have found it fascinating to explore with Hilary the more general applications of the Alexander technique. This has led me to some important insights about the relationship between my mind and my body… An excellent listener, she is able to focus on whatever problem I bring with kindness, encouragement and gentle hands-on expertise. She always strives to find the root of issues of bad use of the body, with suggestions on how to work on them…  When it is time to leave, I always feel revitalised both in mind and body. Dec 2018. “

Martha ~ Doctor and Musician

Contact me   If you are an NHS staff member, please use your NHS email address

Interview for Hackney Magazine

Hackney Magazine Article

I was honoured to be interviewed by Hackney Magazine, who published an article about how the Alexander Technique can help people during the COVID-19 pandemic (April 17 2020). I’m not alone in finding the AT a great self-help tool that we can utilize in many ways. It helps me keep calmer and more positive;  I use it to reduce discomfort and tension; it recharges my batteries and helps me manage stress.

Active Rest Procedure in Semi-supine

The lying down procedure is the easiest way to start using the AT, even if you haven’t had lessons. It’s more effective than relaxation exercises – the AT reaches the parts other disciplines just don’t reach! You can find more info about how to practice the Active Rest procedure here. The Alexander Technique has many more applications than I was able to mention in the article, that can aid us during this stressful period.

There is a positive gift to be found within lockdown: STOP  

Many of us have to stay home, to stop our usual activities and very often our work. So we have to stop living in our habitual way. Despite the hardship and trauma, this stopping can be a gift, as it allows us to experience living differently and see the world afresh. For instance, many people appreciate the fact that there’s less pollution now, plus enjoy having more time with their children – and they are spending less money.

I’ve just moved house and immediately had to self-isolate with lockdown. Fortunately I’m used to living on my own and looking after myself. It’s hard not seeing my family and new grandson and it’s hard asking for help from people I don’t know – but I am very grateful to my new neighbours in Umfreville Road. They are so welcoming, offering help and shopping for me. I’ve had to adapt to new ways of doing things – very abruptly – and the Alexander Technique has helped with this too.

Letting go of old habits allows us to adapt

These are challenging times and we all need to adapt. Psychologists know that change in itself is a major stress factor for most people.  Incorporating Alexander principles can help us gain some choice over how we respond to these changes and stresses. Having the AT, a tool we can use, also helps us avoid feeling powerless.

Choosing not to be ruled by old habits is a skill worth developing. Learning the Alexander Technique helps us to stop and let go of unhelpful habits, so we can choose new ways of acting and being. This allows us to be adaptable, which is invaluable, particularly when we’re facing such huge changes in our way of life.

For those of us fortunate enough to avoid the virus, remember what Charles Darwin said:

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change”.

Hilary King is teaching Alexander Technique in Harringay N4

I have relocated my teaching practice to the North side of Finsbury Park. I am teaching in  Harringay, N4.  This is part of the London Borough of Haringey – and yes, they have different spellings.

It was with mixed feelings that I said goodbye to my Stoke Newington home where I taught the Alexander Technique for 33 years. I miss my lovely old teaching room but enjoy the new one  in Harringay.

Goodbye to my Alexander studio in Stokey

My Alexander Technique studio in Harringay 

The Harringay Ladder N4

I now live and work in the Harringay Ladder . The name can be confusing, as Harringay is part of the eastern side of the London borough of Haringey.  It is very close to the site of the old Harringay Stadium and Arena, which was a greyhound racing, motorcycle speedway and sports venue.  I remember seeing many greyhounds being walked in local parks, years ago now. The stadium was closed in 1987 and is now the Arena Shopping Park. It is possible to get some free parking there, which is useful!

The Ladder is a series of roads that run between Green Lanes and Whiteman Road. On a map, they look very ladder-like.  These roads are one way and if you come to me by car, you enter Umfreville Road from the Green Lanes end.  There is restricted parking on the road and you need to pay by RingGo

Transport Links

Transport links are very good. My house is only a couple of minutes walk to the Harringay Green Lanes Overground station.  This runs east-west between Gospel Oak and Barking.

Also nearby is the Harringay Rail Station with mainline trains running north-south from here.

About 12 minutes walk away is Manor House Tube station with the Piccadilly Line.

The buses serving the area are – 29, 141, 341 and W5.

Further info about my Alexander Technique teaching practice in Harringay:

Contact me for full details of my address, fees, lessons, courses and workshops.

Misha Magidov

Another sad notification, this time for Misha Magidov who died on 28 May ’19 aged 90.

Misha ran the North London Teacher Training Course where I qualified as an Alexander teacher back in 1987. Misha had trained with Patrick Macdonald, who in turn trained with FM Alexander himself.  Misha was always so caring towards his students and his valuable teaching gave me a wonderful basis from which to work on myself and to teach the AT to others. Misha ran his course for many years with his lovely wife, Judith, until she went to Israel for cancer treatment but sadly died in 2005.  Misha continued to teach in Israel but he visited the UK occasionally to run some workshops for AT teachers.  We were always so pleased to experience his work again and he will be missed by many people. 

I took this photo of Misha in 2008 when I participated in a Workshop that he ran in London.

Kevin Saunders

It was with great sadness that I learned of Kevin Saunders’ death {2019}.  Kevin came to me on and off for many years for Alexander Technique lessons and during that time he trained as a yoga teacher then, I’m happy to say, as an Alexander teacher. Kevin went on to develop an approach to yoga teaching that utilised his AT training and wrote an excellent Blog on the topic.

Kevin Saunders. Photo: Ron Cox 2003

This lovely photo of Kevin shows him about the time he first came to me for Alexander lessons. Kevin thoughtfully explored many ways to incorporate the AT into his daily life – whilst playing the guitar, working in IT and fine- tuning his yoga.

The only photo I took of Kevin was when he challenged his sense of balance. He performed a deep ‘position of mechanical advantage’ whilst on a wobble board.  Not something every pupil is asked to do, or could even think of performing!

Kevin Balancing on a Wobble Board

Kevin came to lessons with an intellectual curiosity and gentle thoughtfulness about the human condition. He discussed theories and explored many different ways of using the AT. He really made it into a way of life, which was great.  I always found it stimulating to teach Kevin and in turn, I learned a lot from him over the years.

I miss him and I’m sure Kevin will be missed by many other people as well.

Teaching the Alexander Technique

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

That deserves a quiet celebration….
STAT Cert.jpg
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!

Alexander Technique for Women ?

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.
Thumbnail image for Woman & Baby sculpture A .jpg
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