One of my students, Margaret , attends a diabetic clinic once a year. On each visit her height is measured. Her height used to be 1.6 meters. Last year the clinic measured her at 1.57. She has been coming to a small group class with me since September. Half way through our session last week she said ‘Can I share something with you?’ And it was then she annouced that on recent visit to the clinic her height was measured at 1.63!! ‘I’ve never been that before!’ . She may not reach the height of Johnny in the picture but 6cm is pretty good going after 2 months…
No he doesn’t have Alexander lessons as far as I know, but his ‘use’ is pretty Alexandrian, isn’t it? And a great example of how change can occur. I hope he gets that basketball court to maintain his ‘up’, ( or an on-house AT teacher) otherwise I predict his height might lessen and a ‘two term in office’ stoop might manifest.
I’d love to think Alexander helped my student Peter win the Arvon Poetry Foundation prize this year with Shoreditch Orchid, but again, think that was all his own doing. The Daily Telegraph have it on line and there’s a link to it from www.arvonfoundation.org or google the title and there are loads of sites with it on. Congratulations Peter I love it! This is a picture of a bee or spider orchid I took last April in a field above Patitiri in Alonnisos. Maybe it will be an orchid like this that one day will grow in Shoreditch….
A recent study of 579 patients with Lower Back Pain has shown Alexander Technique lessons to help long term. In the study it showed that 24 lessons in AT lowered pain significantly – benefits still there after a year. Next beneficial was 6 AT lessons with GP prescribed exercise- half an hour brisk walking a day. There was no significant long term change using massage although it did give temporary relief. The results are published online in British Medical Journal www.bmj.com or there’s s good article about it in the Guardian on line www.guardian.co.uk/society/2008/aug/20/health.healthandwellbeing
I will be starting my next course of lessons in London from September 15th. Book now, either for a course of individual lessons (£45 a session) or for my 6 week group course for 4 people starting Wednesday 17th September at the Bunhill Meeting House EC1, 8pm, (£90 the course.)
Pictures are of some beautiful backs on a boat in Alonnisos; my recent group in EC1, lying down in Balanced Resting State; and teachers sitting well and looking after their backs in Lugano…
I’m back from the International Congress in Lugano and reflecting on all the wonderful teaching I received there- such a meeting of minds, new and old friends. Coming down to breakfast in the hotel in the morning was extraordinary – even in early morning consciousness there were us Alexander Teachers sitting up and out and staying in the moment, and there were the one or two non-Alexandrians, sitting huddled and pulled down over their coffee and rolls. Eek! I use the title Life Force, as it seemed to be a word I heard more than once, to describe the ‘up’ direction…..something beyond the bodily tissue….when our head is going forward and up, released up off the spine then the Life Force is unblocked, available.
The first picture is of two master teachers working with each other…….Rivka Cohen in black in her 70’s who works all over the world, based in Haifa, Israel, and Elizabeth Walker, in her 90’s, from Oxford, the last remaining teacher on the planet who was trained by Alexander himself.
The next picture is of Shmuel Nelken taking a master class. Shmuel, another master teacher, is based in Jerusalem and had two lessons with Alexander in 1955 just before he died. All of these teachers have certainly got that Life Force working for them .
If you would like to experience something of this Life Force with me, come over to Alonnisos, or book some lessons with me in London. I’ll be back after 14th September .
If some of you muggles notice there are no lessons available next week, this may be because your teacher , like me, is whizzing off ( in an exuberant but non-end-gaining way) to meet with fellow wizards at Lugano for our 4 yearly Congress. (What do you call a collection of Alexander Teachers? A unified field of teachers? An inhibition of teachers? email me with your suggestions on firstname.lastname@example.org. ) There will be over 500 of us there, exploring all the latest news in neuro science and back pain trials, and gently exchanging work and ideas and…well what a buzz. Anyone who has lessons with me after 18th August will be ‘upped’ in profound extraordinary ways I’m sure. I will be giving my presentation on the Higher Creative Self. I’ll write a paper on this so you can all read it here at a later date.
Meantime, here’s a picture of my last student resting gently on the table in my teaching terrace at Alonnisos…..still plenty of time to take off for a summer course in AT here on the island. I’ll be back by 18th August…..
Just finished a wonderful weekend with some great musicians in Thessaloniki The theme of my workshop was ‘coming back to the centre’, or ‘playing from the directed self’. One of our methods was to stand for 5 minutes and not do anything. I recommend this as a practice in inhibition and direction and non-doing. And we played the game of choosing whether to play or not, and to notice if the playing brought us out of the centre, and if so to stop immediately and wait for the centre to return, and then play again….
Followed by an exciting trip to the sea side and nearby taverna with a table full of delicious food to stop and choose from …kalamari or octoupus? Sardines or gavros? Beetroot or tzazkiki? Mussels or chilli pepper?
Thank you Despoina, Costas, Alexis, Sapfo, and Maria for your habitual hospitality (one habit I hope you don’t change!) and see you all again in September for more exciting experiments with your music and movement.
I have been having a wonderful week swapping work with Pippa Bondy, a teaching colleague from my days when we trained in the Alexander Technique in North London. We walk down to a special bay nearby every morning for some swimming and Chi Kung and then walk back up the steep path. I find again that place of non-doing, where letting the legs go as I clamber up the hill moves me gently easily lightly…..in the water I let the arms go and as they automatically sink into the water beneath me, I find myself propelled forward effortlessly, no pushing, connected, conscious…..
Pippa has develpoed a shamanic healing practice and I recommend you visit her site www.ancienthealingways.co.uk – a very practised and sensitive guide.
What’s going on? I asked Justin as he paused perplexed for rather a long time during our lesson together this week. ‘mental gymnastics’ he replied. And we laughed because that’s exactly how it is – a brain workout. Inhibition and direction:
“Have a thought of walking, then say no, I’m not immediately going to walk, but I I’m ging to keep my directions going. Then ask yourself if you are free to sit in the chair. If you are free to sit, then you are free to walk…..”