Thursday
Jan252018

Could your posture be causing you pain?

If the answer is yes, then you may be interested in this Alexander Technique workshop!

It would suit anyone who has no (or minimal) experience of the Alexander Technique but is interested to learn what the Technique is and how it could help you to move more easily in your everyday life; helping with issues such as pain, poor posture and stress related tension that can build up in our busy lives.

For example, how would it be to feel less muscular stiffness or joint pain? To have a better sense of balance and co-ordination? Or to improve performance and prevent injury in sport or your occupation? 

During the course of the morning we will explore: 

  • the habitual nature of movement and thinking
  • our human design and some essential anatomy
  • sitting, standing, walking, bending - finding easier ways to move
  • constructive resting
  • there will be individual hands-on guidance by me  
  • and of course, there will be tea and cake! 

The workshop will be held at the lovely setting of Loudwater Farm near Rickmansworth and it will be a small group of 4 to 6 people to maximise learning and in an atmosphere that is friendly and fun.

If you have previously attended a workshop or had lessons, do you know anyone who might find this useful? 

If you wish to ask any questions or to book a place please contact me via email or by telephone on 01494 783684 or 07739 836174

 

Monday
Aug172015

New website photos!

I am very grateful to Angela Geldenhuys for my new head shot and website photos. I think they look fab!

Angela was very patient (I'm not keen on having my photo taken!) and easy going which helped me to relax and she has a great eye for catching the character of her subjects... I love her work with animals. 

If you are looking for a professional, talented and very reasonably priced photographer I can highly recommend her! Take a look at  her website for examples of her work http://www.angela-g-photographer.com/  

  

Friday
Jul242015

Beautiful blooms

I was delighted to receive these gorgeous flowers to use in new photos for my website!

They were grown locally and organically by Bettina and Trevor Davies of Gillyflower who grow seasonal blooms as a welcome alternative to imported flowers grown with artifical fertilizers and pesticides. Great as cut flowers or for special occasions. Take a look at their website for more info: http://www.gillyflower.org.uk/index.html

 

Saturday
Mar092013

The origin of the Alexander Technique

The Alexander Technique can seem rather mysterious and people who have heard of it are often not quite sure what it is. Here is some background about how the Alexander Technique was developed, which also helps to explain more about what the Technique is.

In the beginning

The Alexander Technique is named after Frederick Matthias Alexander, or FM as he was often called, who was born in 1869 in Tasmania. As a young man he developed a love and talent for reciting Shakespeare which eventually became his professional career. 

However, after some years he began having trouble with his throat and vocal cords which caused hoarseness. This became progressively worse over time and was a disaster for his budding career.

Medical examination showed that he had irritation of the mucous membrane of the throat and nose and inflammation of the vocal cords. His doctor suggested resting his voice, which seemed to do the trick as long as he wasn’t reciting, but then when he started again the hoarseness reoccurred, usually worse than before, and at times completely losing his voice.

Facing the prospect of an operation, FM decided to see if he could find a way to help himself. Starting with the evidence that his voice got worse when he recited, he figured that it must be something he was doing whilst reciting that was causing the problem.

Mirror mirror

Using mirrors, FM spent many hours observing himself, both when speaking in his normal manner and when reciting, to see if he could identify anything that might be causing the problem. He soon noticed that when he started to recite, especially when the passages made extra demands on his voice, that he tightened his body in such a way that his head pulled back, he depressed his larynx (voice-box), and sucked in breath through his mouth making a gasping sound. The combination of these things, done repeatedly over time, strained his voice, aggravated the membranes and caused the hoarseness.

Key discoveries

Over many months FM continued to observe himself in more detail and began to notice a wider pattern of tension in his whole body that was clearly part of the problem. He saw that not only did he pull his head back, depress his larynx and suck in breath; he also tended to lift his chest and shorten his stature. He realised that the problem in his throat was the result of him distorting the whole of his body, especially the torso. And that how he ‘used’ his body directly affected the way it functioned.

The solution

Through years of experimentation and refinement FM gradually worked out a method to prevent the harmful habits of tension that not only affected his voice but also influenced the way he moved in everyday life. He learnt to apply conscious thinking to redirect the tension in his body and bring about a more balanced way of moving that improved his overall coordination. Through this method he regained his voice, restored his natural poise and greatly improved his general health and functioning. The Alexander Technique was born!

World recognition

He realised his approach had enormous potential for others, and began to teach his method at first to other actors and performers. He taught many influential people of the day including George Bernard Shaw, Aldous Huxley and Stafford Cripps as well as many leading doctors and scientists. 

In 1904 Alexander came to London to bring his technique to a wider public. And in 1931, he started to train others to teach his method. He continued to teach until his death in 1955.

The Alexander Technique today

There are over 2500 teachers worldwide who have undertaken the three year full-time training required to teach the Alexander Technique. It is taught to people of all ages and walks of life for relief from muscular and joint pain, better balance and coordination, and a freer, easier way of moving in everyday life as well as in sport, work and play.

The Alexander Technique is now part of the curriculum in most music and drama schools, and has also been introduced in a number of primary and secondary schools.

In 2008, the results of a trial into the effectiveness of the Alexander Technique for chronic and recurrent back pain were published in the British Medical Journal. It showed that a course of lessons in the Alexander Technique provided the most effective solution for long term relief. Click here for the full report.

You can read FM Alexander’s full account of his discoveries in his book The Use of the Self, chapter 1: Evolution of a Technique.

Photograph of F. M. Alexander © 2013, The Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique, London

Thursday
Feb092012

A video introducing the Alexander Technique

This video is a good introduction to the Alexander Technique. It is produced (2010) by an American Alexander Technique Teacher called Fred Lacy and is approximately 20 minutes long.