You are lighter than you think: getting up from a chair

You are lighter than you think: getting up from a chair...One of the side benefits of being an Alexander Teacher is my constant search for novel ways to help my students relate to the skills we are teaching. It is no surprise to me that after almost 30 years of teaching, I can still find a new, simpler and more accessible way to describe a common,  habit that gives my students access to an easier, less stressful way to perform a task.

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Embracing Change

Embracing Change...

Alexander Teachers could be considered “change agents” for the individual. We help our students expand ways of being in thinking, movement and behavior.

That can seem vague and hard to articulate, and many Alexander Teachers find ourselves momentarily tongue-tied when someone asks: “What is the Alexander Technique?”

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Thinking to muscles

Thinking to muscles:

From the archives: originally published 10/22/04

Last week, I wrenched my back lifting an air conditioner out of the window. It was a pinching, shooting pain when I moved in certain ways.  I finished carrying the air conditioner into the other room to tuck it away in a closet, and then I lay down on my teaching table. I began sending my Alexander directions, and imagining the knot in my back muscle releasing and unwinding.

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Organization: start with yourself

Organization: Start with yourself

"When we have our body and mind in order, everything else will exist in the right place, in the right way.  But usually, without being aware of it, we try to change something other than ourselves, we try to order things outside us.  But it is impossible to organize things if you yourself are not in order.  When you do things in the right way, at the right time, everything else will be organized. "   -- Shunryu Suzuki (Japanese Zen Master)

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Rate of Change

Rate of Change (originally published 8/8/05)

When people begin studying something new (especially if it's helping them feel better), it's natural for them to want to learn all they can, right away and be a model pupil.  Often, my clients get a great deal of relief when they first start to study, and because they have been in discomfort, they want to do all they can to hold onto the new state they are in.

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It's about so much more than posture...

These are my thoughts on why Alexander teaches us not to end-gain to fix localized conditions or problems, but instead apply the means-whereby that begins with the more beneficial carriage of the head in relation to the spinal column.

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I have been thinking about AT as a tool for change: When you improve conditions through the head/neck/back and begin to function in a way where they are integrated, your perception of situations change as your sensory appreciation becomes more accurate and reliable. This change in perception is where AT facilitates the greatest change of use. It’s not about better body mechanics, or posture, or more refined coordination on a purely movement based, motor behavior level. It’s about totality, the constellation of perception and action relative to how we experience the world through our use, that affords us the most profound level of change, healing and transformation. We can respond more effectively and masterfully to the stimuli we meet.

7 Tips for Bringing Alexander Technique Awareness into Everyday Life

7 Tips for Bringing Alexander Technique Awareness into Everyday Life

Private lessons are a great way to understand your own habits and how Alexander Technique tools can help you find greater ease in daily activities, and specialized skills. We refer to our clients as students because we are teaching skills that offer independence outside of sessions.

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Back in the Studio: Applying Alexander Technique in my return to dance

Back in the Studio: Applying Alexander Technique in my return to dance

For many years, I found myself unable to find the motivation to exercise, whether it was yoga, strength training or cardio. I had also been thinking about revisiting modern jazz dance classes, in the SImonson Technique, which I had studied in high school and college. Within the past 5 or 6 years, I had even gone online and located beginning classes. For some reason, I couldn't overcome inertia so never got to a class.

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Strategies for a Lie Down #2: Breathe easy

When people think of a full breath, they focus on inhaling. Without first effectively exhaling, it’s like trying to fill an already partially full tank beyond capacity…

Instead, learning to allow more volume of air to leave on the exhale sets up conditions of release and more space for fresh air to mix in with the residual levels of atmosphere in your lungs.

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Alexander Technique applied to weight management

Like many of my friends and family, with age my metabolism has slowed down. Once I could eat whatever I wanted, and as much as I wanted, and my weight was stable. In my mid-thirties, I noticed a slow but steady weight gain. At one point, I was 25 pounds heavier and decided I would need to change my habits.

Losing weight proved fairly easy, and I took of 12 pounds in 12 weeks, but maintaining the weight loss was a challenge. After regaining 11 pounds, I accepted the fact that I was going to need to change my long-term habits around and relationship to food.

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AT applied to mindful eating

In an effort to reduce stress, I have stopped watching the news. I skim the homepage of the Guardian and the NY Times to keep current, but otherwise, I rarely watch news on TV or online.

Instead, I watch British films and TV, comedies and crime dramas, home improvement shows and I am a huge fan of the Great British Baking Show.

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