Learning the Alexander Technique can reduce your degree of head forward posture, and most students enjoy their lessons

Learning the Alexander Technique can reduce your degree of head forward posture, and most students enjoy their lessons

by Brooke Lieb

A simple google search with the term “effects of head forward posture” yields results that show a possible correlation between degree of forward displacement and pain in computer users; increased time spent sitting at a desk increasing instances of neck pain; and a decrease in respiratory efficiency. Read more here.

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For Alexander Teachers: Foundations of effective teaching

For Alexander Teachers: Foundations of effective teaching

Training teachers and offering post graduate lessons and classes has been one of my passions during my 30 year career as an Alexander teacher. It has informed my studies, how I interpret Alexander’s writings, and is the area I focus my continued learning and development.

One consistent standard I see across all approaches to training is to emphasize that the teacher’s application of Alexander principles to the act of teaching is the foundation of teaching. Before working hands on with another, a level of self-organization is vital.

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Training Journal: Classes with Judith Leibowitz #6

Training Journal: Classes with Judith Leibowitz #6

November 8, 1977: "Direction is a form of meditation.”

It is a simple repetition of words. Just being without trying. No need for results or defining: words can be used anywhere, anytime in any position.

  • Stance appropriately wide to height of person

  • Releasing into monkey with no goal in mind

  • Maintaining shoulder width against gravity's tendency to pull shoulders in as torso bends, releasing shoulders out without contracting in the back

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Marjory Barlow on the Alexander Technique: "Just think it. That's all you can do."

By Witold Fitz-Simon

"Just think it. That's all you can do. Any thing extra you try and do... and we all do this. We all think, "It won't matter if I do just a little bit of doing." And the whole thing is ruined. Immediately. What you're doing, what you're changing, is the pattern... are the patterns in your brain and your nervous system. And that manifests in your body. So, in a sense, you're not working on the body, except very indirectly. Do remember that, because you have control to a certain extent over what you're thinking. You have very little control over what's happening in your body. If this were not so, if it wasn't a question of the brain and nervous system, F. M. could never have discovered the work. It was only because he was able, by thinking, to stop those wrong habits. Probably one of the biggest discoveries ever made by a human being." —Marjory Barlow

Marjory Barlow (1915-2006) was F. M. Alexander's niece, who trained with him to teach the Technique in 1933.

Thanks to Jeffrey Glazer for highlighting this clip.

[author] [author_image timthumb='on']http://www.acatnyc.org/main/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/After-crop1.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]WITOLD FITZ-SIMON has been a student of the Alexander Technique since 2007. He is certified to teach the Technique as a graduate of the American Center for the Alexander Technique’s 1,600-hour, three year training program. A student of yoga since 1993 and a teacher of yoga since 2000, Witold combines his extensive knowledge of the body and its use into intelligent and practical instruction designed to help his students free themselves of ineffective and damaging habits of body, mind and being. <a href="www.mindbodyandbeing.com">www.mindbodyandbeing.com</a>[/author_info] [/author]

 

 

Fishing For Our Body's Wisdom

Japanese-fish by Dan Cayer

I can remember trying to ‘feel’ the swampy mess of bodily sensations and emotions I felt trapped inside me. What were these squeezings in my chest and throat, this panicked gripping in my abdomen? I knew there was wisdom in the body and that if I could relate with it, I might feel less stuck in my life and more able to make decisions. Yogis and meditators had written luminously about the wisdom we have inside us.

So I sat very silently and very still. Like a fisherman with my line in the water, waiting and listening for something to surface. I sat and bent my ear low, trying to divine the meeting of every little stirring. Is this anxious squeezing in my throat related to my childhood? To creativity? Yet like a deer at the edge of a meadow, the more I approached, the more these sensations retreated or froze up.

The framework of me needing to intellectually understand physical-emotional pockets proved to be stifling. Too much to ask for. It was best to see what bubbled up on its own, bringing its unconventional intelligence to the situation at hand.

Over years, I’ve come to relax my judgments, analysis, and pressure on the body to hand over all its secrets. Now it’s more like relating joyfully with my 19 month old daughter – genuine communication that doesn’t require language or agenda. There are simply waves of presence going back and forth between us.

I see now that the bodily feelings – wise, scared, and finicky – are always transmitting. They may not meet my expectations of solving problems or telling me what I should do with some difficult choice. Nonetheless, what my body offers is beautiful, wet and real; the fish jumping into my boat before I even can prepare the line.

This post was originally published at dancayerfluidmovement.com

[author] [author_image timthumb='on']http://www.acatnyc.org/main/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Dan-Head-Shot-13.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]DAN CAYER is a nationally certified teacher of the Alexander Technique. After a serious injury left him unable to work or even carry out household tasks, he began studying the technique. His return to health, as well as his experience with the physical, mental, and emotional aspects of pain, inspired him to help others. He now teaches his innovative approach in Union Square, Carroll Gardens and in Park Slope, Brooklyn. He also teaches adults to swim with greater ease and confidence by applying Alexander principles. You can find his next workshop or schedule a private lesson at www.dancayerfluidmovement.com.[/author_info] [/author]

How To Do Constructive Rest: The Alexander Technique Lie Down

Constructive Rest, Semi Supine, Lie Downby Witold Fitz-Simon The Lie Down is an important component of self-care. All it takes is ten minutes once or twice a day. It will give you a chance to calm your mind and rest your body while exploring the principles and the “means-whereby” of the Alexander Technique: observation, inhibition and direction.

Set Up

  • Find a clean, firm, comfortable surface to lie down on. The floor is better than a bed as it will give you a level surface for better support. If your back pressing into the uncovered floor is uncomfortable, lie down on carpet or a folded towel or blanket instead.
  • Lie back with your head supported by a number of books. There should be enough height under your head so that the back of your neck can be firm but soft to the touch, and that there is a sense of space on all sides of your neck.
  • Lie with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
  • Lie with your elbows bent and your hands resting comfortably on your torso, perhaps your lower ribs or abdomen.

Expanded Awareness

As you lie here, calm your mind and soften your gaze to become aware of what is going on in the periphery of your vision. Allow the light of the room to come to you, rather than staring out.

Keep the level of your eyes above your cheekbones rather than turning down towards them. This will help to keep you alert.

Expand your awareness to include the room around you and your body. Allow the sensations of your body to rise up to meet you as you look out through your eyes, rather than dropping your awareness down to feel your body.

Inevitably your attention will wander. Gently bring it back to the present moment, looking out at the ceiling with the center of your awareness behind your eyes and above your cheekbones.

Observation

As you rest here, become aware of the touch of your body against the floor. Observe where you might be pressing down into the floor or where you might be holding yourself up away from the floor. Observe where you might be narrowing or compressing. Observe where you might be holding.

Inhibition

As you observe all these places where you might be doing something muscularly in your body, let go of what you do not need. You may find that there are places where something is holding or doing that aren’t ready to let go. Leave those places be.

As you consider your legs, you will find that some muscular effort is necessary to keep them up. See how little you can do without your knees falling in or out. If, as you explore, they do fall in or out, simply send them back up towards the ceiling.

Direction

Without feeling to see if anything is happening, send a message to your neck to be a little freer so that your head can ease away from the top of your spine. Send a message to your back for it to lengthen and widen. Send a message to your knees to ease up towards the ceiling. Send a message to your shoulders and elbows to ease outwards away from your wide chest and back.

Become aware of the movement of your breath. Without trying to shape or change anything, and without losing your expanded awareness, follow each exhalation to its logical conclusion. Allow your inhalations to drop in without actively taking a breath.

Coming Up

When you decide it is time to get up, pause and let go of your first response to the thought. Come back to your expanded awareness. Use the process of coming up as an opportunity to explore your expanded awareness. Once you have got to your feet, pause.

Once again, send a message to your neck that you would like it to be a little freer so that your head can be balanced in poise at the top of your spine rather than being held in place. Send a message to your whole torso that you would like it to be long, wide and deep. Send a message to your legs that you would like your knees to be easy and pointing forward and away from you. Send a message to your shoulders that you would like them to widen off your wide chest and back. Do all of this without feeling to see if anything is happening. Then go on about your day.

[author] [author_image timthumb='on']http://www.acatnyc.org/main/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/After-crop1.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]WITOLD FITZ-SIMON has been a student of the Alexander Technique since 2007. He is certified to teach the Technique as a graduate of the American Center for the Alexander Technique’s 1,600-hour, three year training program. A student of yoga since 1993 and a teacher of yoga since 2000, Witold combines his extensive knowledge of the body and its use into intelligent and practical instruction designed to help his students free themselves of ineffective and damaging habits of body, mind and being. www.mindbodyandbeing.com[/author_info] [/author]