Category Archives: Alexander ~ Notices

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 triple vaccinated, wearing masks and being very careful, 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 take regular tests for my teaching and I can also 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 these new 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 NHS Staff

Alexander Technique lessons offer for NHS staff

Alexander Technique lessons Offer for NHS staff: 10% reduction.  Just contact me using an NHS email address.

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

Other people are of course welcome to have Alexander Technique lessons and are charged the usual rates for these.  Online lessons usually take place on Zoom. Face to face lessons include the hands-on element of Alexander work and take place in a Covid secure environment. I am registered with both STAT and the CNHC and have an enhanced DBS certificate

The Constructive Rest Lying Down Procedure

Learning the 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

Happy New Year Everyone!

Alexander Technique lessons start again on Tuesday 4th January.

A new day, a New Year and a new term!  The sun is shining and the sky is blue, so let’s relish it!

Wishing everyone a healthy, happy New Year!

I have enjoyed the holidays but I’m looking forward to teaching again soon. If you would like to find new ways of looking after yourself and would like to book a lesson (both face to face and online are available)  contact me here.

Interview for Hackney Magazine

Hackney Magazine Article

I’ve had an article published in Hackney Magazine, about how the Alexander Technique can help people during the COVID-19 pandemic. 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.

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. Change in itself is known to be 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”.

Coronavirus and Alexander Technique lessons

Well the short explanation is that they don’t go together! Alexander Technique lessons are a hands-on teaching procedure, so we can’t comply with the rule to keep 2 metres apart.

Alexander teachers have to cease teaching until the coronavirus epidemic has passed. Sadly, I am unable to set up my new teaching practice in Harringay at the moment but look forward to doing so in the future. Online teaching is something I aim to set up soon.

Use the Alexander Technique to help you through this difficult time

Use the Lying Down Active Rest procedure to help calm and centre yourself, for instance.  Think about your body use when doing your daily exercises.  Not only will you  help yourself keep healthy but you’ll look after your back and muscles at the same time.  There are many good books and videos on the internet about the AT.  If you have had lessons already, this is a good time for you to enjoy using all your AT skills to help you through this challenging time.

Hilary King is teaching Alexander Technique in Harringay

I have not posted here for a while as I have been busy organising to move house.  I will soon be relocating my teaching practice to the North side of Finsbury Park, in the Harringay Ladder, N4. Providing all goes well I will start teaching the Alexander Technique in Harringay in late March.

So it is with mixed feelings that I say goodbye to my Stoke Newington home for over 42 years and where I have been teaching the Alexander Technique for 33 years. I shall miss my lovely teaching room but look forward to creating another one in my new house.

Goodbye to my Alexander Technique studio in Stokey.

The Harringay Ladder is just a couple of miles further up Green Lanes and transport links are very good. It is only a couple of minutes walk to the Harringay Green Lanes Overground station and about 12 minutes walk to Manor House Tube station (or a little longer if you take the green route through Finsbury Park). The buses serving the area are – 29, 141, 341 and W5.

Watch this space for updates about my new Alexander Technique teaching practice in Harringay and do contact me for full details of my address and details of my fees.

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‘ recent death. Kevin came to me on and off for many years for Alexander lessons and during that time he trained firstly as a yoga teacher then, I’m happy to say, as an Alexander Technique teacher. Kevin went on to develop an approach to yoga teaching that utilised his Alexander training and he wrote an excellent Blog on the topic.

This lovely photo of Kevin by Ron Cox shows him in 2003, about the time when he first came to me for AT lessons. Kevin thoughtfully explored new ways to incorporate the AT into his daily life, whilst playing the guitar, working in IT, improving his eyesight and fine- tuning his yoga.

The only photo I took of Kevin was during a lesson when challenging his sense of balance whilst on a wobble board, performing a deep version of the position of mechanical advantage (2012). Not something every pupil is asked to do, or could even think of performing!

Kevin always came to lessons with an intellectual curiosity and gentle thoughtfulness about the human condition, discussing theories and exploring different ways of using the AT. Teaching Kevin was always stimulating for me and I also learned a lot from him over the years, for instance about different approaches to the AT. He will be missed by many.

Celebrate FM Alexander’s 150th Birthday

What better time to explore the AT than on F M Alexander’s 150th Birthday on 20th January 2019!
 
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Special Offer – A limited number of Reduced Rate private lessons of one hour are available, only during January, for just £30. Just 4 are left……
 
Here’s a chance to discover what Alexander work is all about and just how it can help you throughout your life, when you use it during your daily activities.
Let go of old habits that don’t serve you and start afresh for the New Year.
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Alexander Technique Intro Courses

* 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.

 

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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.