My primary aim is to provide students with tools they can use on their own to enhance the way they sit, stand, and do whatever activities they engage in. The Alexander Technique is above all about how you do whatever you do and so I help students with everything from walking, running, working at a computer, speaking, singing, playing a musical instrument or anything thing else they would like to do better. I also directly address the special challenges of using Zoom, including taking Alexander Technique lessons online!
I teach in a very interactive way, inviting you to do simple experiments to learn how to apply the ideas I share and determine if they are in fact useful. A general rule that underlies this process is that these are just experiments, and that it is impossible for you to make a mistake.
Every student is different and so I do not have a formal lesson outline. However, there are some of the fundamental skills that I teach all my students:
1. Alexander Technique Constructive Rest. This is a simple and effective process anybody can use to release harmful tension. It involves lying on a firm surface with your knees elevated relative to your hips, and an appropriate amount of support under your head. Once you have become accustomed to it, Constructive Rest can be a powerful platform for exploring movement and Alexander Technique directions (see below). It is also an excellent way to recalibrate any incorrect ideas you may have about what’s involved in doing nothing. You can learn more about Constructive Rest here: Alexander Technique Constructive Rest
2. Body Mapping. This is a process of learning, on yourself, where certain key joints and structures are located and how they are designed to function. The basic concept of Body Mapping is that if your idea of what is going on when you move differs from what is actually going on, your movements will be less efficient and more likely to create harmful tension. We’ll explore key relationships such as how your head moves in relation to your spine, how your shoulder girdle and arms connect to your torso, what goes on when you breathe, where your sit bones are located and how your elbow joints work. The level of anatomy involved is very simple – nothing at all like a medical text book! Sometimes I teach this material in a class called “Kindergarten Anatomy” because it can be learned by most 5 year olds. You can learn more about Body Mapping here: Body Mapping
3. Alexander Technique Directions. This is the heart of what I teach. Directions can be thought of as a way to bring intentional choice into how you do whatever you want to do. They have also been called the art of attention management. Alexander Technique directions are extremely simple, but it can take take some training to learn how to use them effectively. I’ve created a series of podcasts that go into this in some detail: New Developments in Alexander Technique Directing. I’ve also created a series of experimental short videos (with audio versions) describing some basic Alexander Directions: Lessons in Self-Direction – Using the Principles of the Alexander Technique Paradoxical Directions and Questioning Directions. You can learn more about these directions here: BodyLearninCcast.com/teachers/directions I always show you ways in which you can test their effectiveness for yourself.
4. Understanding the external forces that are operating on us, and how to make the best use of those forces. As we move about on the surface of planet Earth, we are receiving a number of forces that have a huge impact on us – gravity, the reaction force of the ground underneath us and atmospheric pressure, among others. Our physical structure (which we’ll explore with Body Mapping) is perfectly designed to take full advantage of those forces, but sometimes we develop patterns of posture and movement that prevent us for receiving their full benefit. The Alexander Technique can be seen as a way to reestablish a healthy relationship with them. You can learn more about the external forces that effect us here: Gravity, Support and Freedom – and the Alexander Technique.