I believe this is a Zen saying and it is very pertinent to what we think about in Alexander lessons.
Many people come to me for lessons, for whom these words can bring about quite a profound realisation, as they notice the way they exist in their bodies a lot of the time.
This is particularly true for people who are very hard workers or are perhaps very stressed. They often seem to sit on the edge of the chair, ready to leap out of it at a moment’s notice, or stand with their weight mostly on the balls of their feet, as if they are about to rush away somewhere. There’s a sense that they don’t really think they should be ‘here, right now’ but ought to be doing the next thing, whatever that is.
This over-active way of being pulls us off balance, both literally and metaphorically and can contribute to aches, pains, exhaustion and a sense of being ungrounded.
However, when a pupil allows herself to ‘sit when sitting’ and to ‘stand when standing’ her weight spreads through her sitting bones or her feet in a way that allows her to feel grounded and more balanced with an easy poise, even if she is only in this position for a few seconds.
See if you can notice how you stand, try it for yourself and see if you allow yourself to be balanced easily on your feet, or do you find that there is an urgency in you that makes you want to move on all the time? This exploration would probably be easier to do in an Alexander Technique lesson, where you can have some help with becoming aware of the way you use your body. If you want to explore more, you can contact me here to set up an intro lesson.
Hilary King is on the CNHC Register.
The Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council, CNHC has been set up with the help of the Prince’s Foundation, to develop a structure of self-regulation for professional disciplines such as the Alexander Technique.
CNHC will work with the Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique, STAT, to maintain and monitor high standards of Alexander Technique teaching and of professional Codes of Conduct. The CNHC is developing and expanding the number of disciplines that are eligible to join the register.
If you are already having Alexander Technique lessons, you might like to join AT Friends and go to some of their talks and Workshops, which take place at various venues around the country. These talks are an excellent way for you to extend your understanding of AT work and to meet other people who have some experience of the Alexander Technique.
Joining costs very little and the talks cost even less.
The next talk for London AT Friends is:
Thinking in Activity – How Space Shapes Attention ~ by Glenna Batson
Date: Tuesday 20 April
Time: 6.30 – 8.30
Fee: £5 (£3 Concession)
For further info visit:
Switch Off to show you care about Climate Change
27 March 8.30pm
your habits and turn off all electrics that are not essential for one
hour. No lights, no TV, no music, no computer…. Have fun and create a different sort of evening for yourself, along with hundreds of people around the world that are joining this WWF campaign. Draw attention to the issues involved with adapting to climate
change and think about what life may be like without our familiar appliances available to us if there are power shortages in the future.
So why am I mentioning this here on my Alexander Technique Blog?
I aim to run my Alexander Technique teaching practise in an environmentally aware way and work towards being as energy efficient as I can, so this falls naturally into my field of awareness.
Also, in Alexander lessons, we are always learning how to let go of habits that don’t serve us and in many ways we all need to do exactly this – let go of many of our habits – in order to reduce our carbon footprints and energy consumption. How often do we leave the tap running, the lights on, or the the TV constantly on, just by habit, even though we are not even using them? What a waste of these valuable resources!
We can inhibit, stop these habits and make simple but important changes in our lives that will help conserve our fragile environment.
As the WWF says – Be Bright, Turn Off the Light!
Further info about WWF Earth Hour:
RSI Conference 2010
RSI Action – The Repetitive Strain Injury Charity will be holding its Annual Conference in the Friends’ Meeting House on Euston Road on 20 March.
The Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique, STAT, will have a stall at the conference. Mini-sessions will be available, so that people can begin to get a sense of how the Alexander Technique can help them change the way they ‘Use’ themselves so that they can begin to reduce and control RSI.
I shall be there on the STAT stall in the afternoon, after the end of my morning’s Introductory Alexander Technique Workshop in aid of the UNICEF Haiti Earthquake Appeal as below.
If you would like to read more about the application of the Technique in relation to RSI, there is an article on my Website here.
Date: 20 March
Venue: Large Friends Meeting House, 173 Euston Road, NW1
Time: 9.15am – 4.45 pm
New Research Paper
A new paper has been published in the OUP Family Practice (23 December 2009) which reports the findings of research into patients’ views and attitudes towards learning the Alexander Technique, as part of the ATEAM Trial into treatments for chronic back pain.
This research looked at the psychological aspects underlying the ATEAM Trial and the outcomes showed that patients found the Alexander Technique was ‘effective’ and ‘made sense’ as it could be used during everyday activities, it had a ‘convincing rationale’ and that teachers provided good support and personal advice. The Alexander Technique was generally seen to be more acceptable to patients than the exercise regime which was prescribed by the doctors.The Technique was also seen as improving the patients’ quality of life, which is great!
As one of the teachers selected to teach on the ATEAM Research Trial, I welcome this publication and the findings it reports, which tally with my experience of teaching the Technique to pupils from a wide range of backgrounds who predominantly find the Technique effective, not just for back pain but for helping and preventing the development of many conditions.
Alexander Technique Courses and Classes
If you would like to find out more about the Alexander Technique, you might like to join my upcoming
Introductory Alexander Technique Course, or you might prefer to dive straight in and try some individual lessons which are available on an ongoing basis.
Alexander Technique Pupils – your help is required please!
The Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique, STAT, wants to collect information about as many Alexander Technique pupils as possible and has created a survey which they would like people to fill in and send to them by email or FREEPOST by 15 December 2009.
STAT wants to improve the services and information that is available to all AT pupils and this survey will help them to do that. The last survey was conducted in 2006 and the 2009 survey will be compared with the previous data collected.
All returned surveys (with contact details on them) will be entered for a prize draw, for the chance to win ‘The Expanding Self’ by Goddard Binkley. This is one of the books recommended in my Alexander Technique Reading Lists.
If you would like to take part and have your voice heard in the Alexander Technique world, with the chance of winning en excellent AT book, you may download a survey form here:
Not tried Alexander Technique Lessons yet but you would like to?
You can find out more information about individual lessons and can contact me here:
It is now possible to see a couple of free videos about the Alexander Technique online, thanks to AT Friends (see my previous blog entry about this group which you can join for a small fee). The videos are of talks given at previous London AT Friends evenings.
The first talk was given by Peter Nobes and was called ‘Alexander Technique in the Office’ and you can see it here:
The second video is of Peter Buckoke and Judith Kleinman who talk about ‘Alexander Technique in the Music World’:
These two talks illustrate how the Alexander Technique has a wide range of applications beyond the well known uses as a method of helping back pain or improving our posture. Once learned, the Technique can be utilised throughout all our activities and can help prevent problems from developing – and life often seems easier and more pleasant as a result.
If you haven’t had AT lessons yet, why not try the Technique out with an Introductory Lesson, or perhaps you would like to return to learning the Alexander Technique again? You will probably enjoy it, so contact me now!
The Back Show 2009 takes place at Earls Court 2 – 4 October
There will be a host of interesting items on display that are designed to help our backs. There will be talks, demonstrations and many exhibitors who will be keen to discuss their approaches to dealing with back pain.
STAT, the Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique, will be one of the Exhibitors there and you will be able to find out more about how Alexander lessons can help people prevent and heal a variety of problems, including back pain. Alexander Teachers will be there to answer your questions and to give short demonstrations of the work. If you would like to find out more, come to the Back show and find us at Stand 311.
You can also contact me to find out about individual Alexander Technique lessons in Stoke Newington N16 and my upcoming Introductory Short Course, which is an International Alexander Awareness Week event.
Tel: 020 7254 9206
Dilys Carrington, one of the senior teachers of the Alexander Technique who had lessons and had trained with F M Alexander himself, died peacefully at her home on the 22nd September 2009.
Dilys Jones was born in Stourbridge, Worcestershire and later read Mathematics and Psychology at the University of London. For a short period, she was F M Alexander’s secretary at Ashley Place, where Alexander ran his teacher training course and his private teaching practice. Later, Dilys worked as secretary at the Physical Society.
Dilys began taking lessons with FM Alexander in 1938. In 1940 she married Walter Carrington who had graduated from Alexander’s Teacher Training Course in 1939. They had three children.
Dilys also started to train as a teacher with F M Alexander, shortly before his death in 1955. She then completed her training with Walter Carrington. Together, they developed and ran the Constructive Teaching Centre, which is still running today and is the oldest Alexander Technique Teacher Training Course.
Throughout her teaching career, Dilys was an active and influential member of STAT, the Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique and was a member of the STAT Council for a number of years.
Dilys Carrington will be missed by many people.