Born to Run: The Secrets of Kenyan Athletics.
Heart v Mind: What Makes us Human?
Elisabeth Walker, the last remaining teacher who trained with F M Alexander himself, was interviewed on Woman’s Hour, BBC Radio 4 (12 June 2012).
Taster Workshop ~ Saturday 4 August ~ Stoke Newington N16
- Experiential Exercises
- Hands-on Work
In a previous Blog entry which explored the concept of end-gaining I mentioned a very stressed young woman who had come to me for her first Alexander Technique lesson, because she had high blood pressure levels, migraines and lots of tension in her neck and shoulders, which wouldn’t go away despite trying various things, including physio and yoga.
This short piece was written by a young secondary school child for his Religious Studies homework and it illustrates an aspect of the Alexander Technique that is not often known by about many people, who often think that lessons are only about ‘sitting up straight’ – until they have experienced the work for themselves.
No mention of the Alexander Technique had been made by his school teacher. However, the boy had experienced some Alexander Technique for himself and he had also seen how people around him had changed in themselves, after taking a number of Alexander Lessons.
The boy’s words illustrate the fact that the Alexander Technique is a form of psychophysical learning which explores the relationship between the way we think and feel and the way we express those aspects of ourselves through the way we use our bodies. The Alexander Technique can even have aspects of being a spiritual experience – it’s not just a set of ordinary physical exercises that you do in order to improve your posture.
I will leave his homework to speak for itself.
The University Boat Race 2012
Ella Fitzgerald’s ‘Tain’t what you do but the way that you do it’
Some people manage to retain their good body use into adulthood, without ever having an Alexander Technique lesson. However, most adults lose the free and often graceful movements that we had as children and often end up rather ‘crumpled’, with a variety of aches and pains. One of the joys of having Alexander lessons is that we can often regain – or find – some of the co-ordination and freedom of movement that is more natural to our bodies.
I watched this woman in Mexico as she sat quietly working away at her knitting and she demonstrates that adults can indeed sit and work in a relaxed manner, with a lengthened spine and good posture. As she sits in the cafe, she has a lovely
strong back and quiet poise, which allows her arms to move freely as she concentrates and works on her task. So many people drop their neck and head forwards to do knitting, computing and similar tasks, with the result that they get neck and back pain from their mis-use and from the weight of the head dragging down towards their hands. Such poor posture and body-use can contribute to developing RSI, particularly if there is lots of habitual muscle tension.
I doubt this woman has had AT lessons and there is no knowing how much attention she has paid to thinking about how she uses her body all the time but she is using herself in a way that, unfortunately, is not often seen amongst students and office workers for instance. This woman appears to be comfortable in her body. How many people do you see sitting at desks, pianos and computers, who have a similar free and easy poise and balance in their body as they work?
If you want to re-find your natural poise and freedom of movement and would like to prevent having pain whilst you work, come and try some 1:1 Alexander Technique lessons.