by Anastasia Pridlides
We are so pleased to have visiting teacher Bob Britton presenting a workshop—"Tuning Direction"—and there is still space for you to join us at ACAT on Saturday May 14th at 1pm. In advance of him joining us in our space we thought we would ask him a few questions to introduce him to the community.
Q. How long have you been teaching?
A. I first started taking lessons in 1974, and graduated as an Alexander Technique teacher in 1978.
Q. What was your first exposure to the Alexander Technique?
A. I first experienced the Alexander Technique because I had a knee injury as a result of sitting intensively in Zen meditation. A friend recommended that I try taking a lesson with Frank Ottiwell after I found out that the surgery for my knee injury would be a major operation. As soon as I walked into the lesson Frank noticed that my habitual style of walking was awkward because I habitually carried my right foot pointing out to the side ever since I had broken my leg when I was 10 years old. Frank asked me to completely relax my leg and then to drop the foot to the floor. My foot came down pointing straight ahead. Frank then asked me to take a step and I put it down with the toe facing out to the side. Frank said, “You see the foot knows where it wants to go, but you think the foot should be pointing out to the side.” I was amazed that what I was doing with my foot would make a difference in my knee. Gradually after six weeks of lessons my foot gradually came back around to pointing ahead as Frank introduced me to the larger organization of my whole body. Then the knee problem basically took care of itself and healed. I was impressed!
Q. What made you decide to become a teacher of this work?
I was not planning on becoming an Alexander teacher while I trained. I really was training to deepen my own experience of this marvelous work. After I graduated many people started coming up to me with ailments and the Technique was quite successful in helping them out. So when I left the Zen community it was a very natural choice to pursue the way of life of being an Alexander teacher.
Q. What most excites you about your upcoming workshop at ACAT?
A. Teaching workshops in the Alexander Technique is always energizing and gratifying. Somehow, thanks to human evolution, when we are sharing knowledge and skills about moving with more grace and efficiency everyone has a chance to experience joy and satisfaction. This is because our nervous systems are not neutral about the experience of moving with more efficiency. If we are moving with more skill we have more of a chance of survival, and the nervous system rewards us with endorphins. Of course working with old friends and new teachers who want to learn is always is a delight.
Q. What is your favorite way to engage with the AT in your daily life right now?
A. My favorite way of engaging with the Technique is organizing myself dynamically upward each morning, and throughout the day, especially by allowing my ribs to move buoyantly upward and engaging with the engaging with the environment around me. Meeting life from a dynamic and energetic organization is a true pleasure.
Q. What is most fascinating to you about the AT today?
A. Our human vertebrate structure is very, very old, and tuning into its beauty and brilliance is constantly refreshing. In addition, I love refining and finding more depth and sophistication in Alexander’s work.
Q. What is the most surprising effect your study of the AT has had on your life?
A. My experience is that everything changes with our posture. When our posture is dynamic, expanded, and engaged with our environment, the freshness of being happens. This is possible in every moment. The Alexander Technique is the best thing we can do in the present moment to improve our quality of being.
Q. Tell us about an interest/skill/passion of yours other than of the Alexander Technique.
A. One passion I am following now is going out with my local astronomy club to observe our Universe from dark sky locations. To be peering through my telescope and suddenly see the light from a distant galaxy that left there millions of years ago and now is arriving inside of my eye, is a rather awesome experience.
Robert Britton graduated in 1978 from the Alexander Training Institute-SF (Frank Ottiwell and Giora Pinkas). In addition to his private practice in San Francisco, he has taught the Alexander Technique to musicians at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music since 1984. He served as the Chairman of the American Society for the Alexander Technique, and was a director of the 2011 International Congress of the Alexander Technique. He has helped train Alexander Technique Teachers since 1989, and regularly gives workshops to Alexander Teachers around the World.Find out more about Bob at uprighthuman.com
There are still a few spaces left in Bob's workshop. Go here to find out more and to register.
[author] [author_image timthumb='on']http://www.acatnyc.org/main/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Anastasia.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]ANASTASIA PRIDLIDES teaches Alexander Technique, Bellydance and Yoga in New York City. Studying the Alexander Technique has been a deeply transformative and life changing process for her. Every day she wakes up excited to know that her job is share it with others. You can find her at movementhealingarts.com[/author_info] [/author]