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Self-kindness and serendipity

I’ve been allowing myself to feel wrong, because I know that feeling wrong has benefits which far outweigh doing the opposite. I’m not seeking to ‘fix’ anything, I’m accepting the situation, accepting how I feel about it. We are so often so convinced that if we do something, as we understand doing, then we will bring…

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Switching from habit to awareness

How do we feel when we acknowledge and accept that we unconsciously made a mistake, something about which we may have already been thinking all along didn’t serve us well, that we were aware how this affected us? Of course it’s all usually riddled with our unconscious habit. We may indeed be aware of pain…

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The opposite of wrong is wrong

Are we aware that it is very much possible for us to learn how to interrupt and intercept our habitual unconscious reaction by stopping and thinking, very much applying the Alexander Technique principles of inhibition and direction? Our wholly unconscious habitual reaction is to somehow think that we need to do something in order to…

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In the moment of now

Yesterday I was fortunate to participate in some Alexander Technique work with a visiting teacher. I very much enjoyed the whole experience of working with this teacher and was grateful for the opportunity to do so given that we go back some way in terms of my experiences of the Alexander Technique. Everything very much…

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Head balance: ongoing importance

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I wanted to write a little about the ongoing crucial role of head balance. As we go about our day-to-day lives, head balance isn’t generally something we even think about, just as we don’t generally tend to think about how we use our postural mechanism. The head weighs around 6 Kilos in weight, it’s that…

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Boosting metabolism the indirect way

We do learn to observe much more closely what is going on within ourselves with the Alexander Technique in terms of postural and co-ordination habits and how these affect everything else, even down to how we think, feel and communicate. Whilst attending a course last weekend, my metabolism started to stir, something which has been…

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Self-appreciation via head balance

I was sharing some work with an excellent teacher very recently, who I know from experience is very positive in outlook in all respects, perhaps because of the very fact that she has a hearing difficulty. She was observing my head balance, of which I’m all too well aware, and encouraging me to send my…

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Onwards and upwards

  I had previously written this blog on Friday, but with amendments in respect of my website occurring yesterday, it no longer exists. I don’t particularly wish to re-write it as I wrote it previously, indeed I cannot as I wrote it in the moment,  but I do wish to incorporate some of the thoughts…

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Solution-orientated thinking

I’ve not posted here as of late, but there are very important reasons for keeping up with my writing. I certainly have found myself finding solution-orientated thinking useful in the recent months. It’s getting on for being a year since my digestion showed signs of improvement and the past couple of months have seen a…

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Conscious direction versus habitual feeling

I am re-reading Michael J Gelb’s book “The Art of Connection” because I knew upon first reading that there is so much more to this book than meets the eye and read a sentence which I thought would be worth sharing here, “Feelings may be stimulated by the words or actions of others, but are…

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Trusting oneself to do what we intend to do

I attended a 3-day intensive seminar last weekend. Thirty participants and yet I felt very alone when I really did wish to connect with others. If they were looking in my direction, I noticed they would very quickly avert their gaze, without saying a word, they had other people to connect with. This repeated itself again…

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Relying on instinct or choice in thinking

Whilst reading Michael J Gelb’s “The Art of Connection”, I came across a reference to a clip from Seinfeld which I took the opportunity of looking up. Within the clip, I came across this simple phrase: “If every instinct you’ve had has been wrong, then the opposite would have to be right.” I’ve certainly had many…

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Walter Carrington on postural habits

“The muscular reactions that pre-empt loss of balance generate feelings of insecurity, anxiety or fear. Thus, bad postural habits can cause fears and anxieties, but fears and anxieties, of whatever nature, also result in bad postural responses.” (Walter Carrington, “On the Alexander Technique, As I understand it”, April 2001 published in “Walter & Dilys Carrington,…

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The right thing does itself

I wrote previously about a change that I wasn’t expecting to happen. I had attempted a variety of things to improve what I thought was wrong, to no avail, and eventually gave up trying, realising that this is not where the ‘problem’ actually lay. People tend to think that they don’t require Alexander Technique lessons,…

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From known to unknown, new habits replace the old

When I came to the Alexander Technique it was with a lot of lower back pain and excessive neck tension, not to mention lack of poise. It was exactly a year ago that I wrote a blog about how things were beginning to show glimpses of improvement, but at that stage I realise now they…

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Unreliable Sensory Appreciation

In this day and age, it’s popular that people like you (or should that be ‘like’ you), or is it? Some people have the need to be liked by others, to be adored for their abilities or their personalities, whilst others are content with not being liked so much, but discovering that they do indeed…

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Wishing and Willing

There’s a Buddhist saying that “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” I’m a firm believer in that since I discovered the Alexander Technique. Maybe there is something in your life with which you’ve been struggling, with which it would be useful to get some assistance? We cannot always resolve our ‘problems’ and…

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Re-education, learning and unlearning

Anyone with an interest in the Alexander Technique knows that at its heart is that it has something to teach and learn, meaning that it is in quite a different class of its own when it comes to the benefits of taking lessons. The pupil doesn’t attend a lesson to have something done to them,…

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Taking one’s time

Do you often find yourself in a rush and hurrying about, not allowing yourself time to think in the process? This often befalls people who have a variety of commitments, trying to juggle everything in their day, they are so busy with being busy that they tend to forget about themselves. Lessons in the Alexander…

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It’s never too late to learn

I’m a firm believer in the fact that you’re never too old to learn the Alexander Technique. What’s that, I hear you cry? Well the Alexander Technique is a technique you can learn, whatever your age, to become more aware of what you’re doing with your body and all of this is done by thinking.…

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Learning not to do

Instead of thinking of the Alexander Technique as being about posture, I find it more helpful to think of it as becoming more aware of what you are doing with your body and what we’re doing with our bodies on a daily basis is something common to all of us, except that exactly what we’re doing…

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Forward and Up, Joined Up Thinking

I’ve just seen a reminder about us being what we think and I would totally agree with this. If we are pulling down and shortening ourselves, then this also affects the mind and vice versa. To remain in optimal balance, it’s important to remember our directions and to remind ourselves continually of where the upright…

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A new learning curve

Would you like to learn how to live a life free from pain? The Alexander Technique provides us with a learning environment to do just that. Having been around for over 100 years, it is not some faddy treatment but rather provides us with the tools with which to lead a life in which we…

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Directions

So what actually happens in an Alexander Technique lesson? I suppose it depends very much on one’s teacher’s way of teaching, but all teachers of the Technique follow the same basic principles. I’ve been watching a video of a first Alexander Technique lesson and one of the things to which the teacher immediately introduces the…

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It's all in our thinking

A sore back and/or a stiff neck are not pleasant and you can find yourself in a vicious circle of pain travelling from one to the other, nothing you do seems to get rid of the pain. Not even treatments which are supposed to help with back pain and neck tension. You go for the…

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The space underneath

I’ve been doing some reading in my anatomy books about the shoulder girdle and how it floats over the ribcage and is attached only to the sternum. However, I’m also aware of the importance of the space under the armpits when it comes to thinking of further expanding and widening. I’ve been encouraged to think…

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Faulty sensory appreciation

When we take Alexander Technique lessons, often what the teacher is asking of us by means of their hands feels unfamiliar and unnatural to us, because it it against our habit, it feels all wrong, but FM Alexander writes about how such thinking is unreliable because it is based on feeling, not on reason.

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Use affects functioning

How do you use your body and mind? This is what the Alexander Technique refers to as Use, with a capital ‘U’, and it’s a noun. Use includes not just the way we use our body, but also to the way we use our mind and in an Alexander Technique lesson you will be introduced to something…

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Learning about our habits

The Alexander Technique has something very unique to offer in that it offers us an opportunity to learn about ourselves and there is always something new to learn, it doesn’t matter how many lessons we’ve had. This is why it definitely falls within the realm of education, together with self-care, as opposed to being a treatment…

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Inhibition and direction

In an Alexander Technique lesson we refer to two main principles, inhibition and direction, which are taught by means of using the chair and table. Inhibition refers to stopping when met with a stimulus such as getting out of the chair as soon as a teacher’s hand is placed on your back and neck, at…

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What's the difference?

You might well be sitting here and wondering what the difference is between the therapy you’ve been having for a sore back or stiff neck and the Alexander Technique, and whether it might be worth your while exploring it further. Unlike osteopathy or chiropractic treatment, the Alexander Technique is an educational technique in that it…

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A life in pain, or living pain-free?

Life doesn’t have to be about being in pain, but rather can be about living pain-free. Have  you been pain-free in your life, would you like to be pain-free? How would it be if you were pain-free? The Alexander Technique is a tried and tested technique, especially of benefit to those who suffer from back…

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Observation and awareness

I was reminded yesterday how stopping to notice where one is tightening and/or shortening can bring about release of that tension. It really does take place in the mind with a teacher’s hands guiding you more into the upright, you can really become aware of the release of tension when you are  thinking about where you might be…

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New Year, new beginnings

It’s common at this time of the year to be thinking about resolutions and new interests/commitments heading into a new year. The Alexander Technique is a holistic approach to how we use ourselves in our everyday activities, such as standing, sitting and generally moving about. It was the best decision I ever took in that…

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Brain work

The Alexander Technique is about how you meet a stimulus such as a chair and how you move in response to that stimulus in a co-ordinated manner, in other words how you use your brain whilst thinking about how you use your body and preventing that which you don’t want. If your mind is on another subject entirely,…

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Improved muscular co-ordination

The Alexander Technique can benefit those in back pain and neck tension, but it’s not about back pain and neck tension. Rather it’s about restoring the co-ordination of muscles and how these work in relation to the whole muscular system. Certainly when we’re of a young age, we haven’t acquired the poor postural habits we acquire…

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Getting the height

Thinking of getting the height is one of the things that is experienced during an Alexander Technique lesson. The term ‘forward and up’ refers to the forward position of the head on the spine and up is the direction in which the head leads the rest of the body. Forward and up is what a…

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Discovering balance within ourselves

If lessons in the Alexander Technique are partly about finding balance, how do we find this balance within ourselves? I know when I first came for lessons I was very much out of balance, with a busy mind and muscle groups which were contracted and tense. It wasn’t until I experienced a teacher’s hands working…

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Coming to quiet

One of the things I value most whilst having an Alexander Technique lesson is being in an environment and state of mind in which I’m able to come to quiet. Previously so much of my day was spent being busy for others that there was little room to find a moment of peace for myself so…

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Going Up

When I write about ‘going up’, what do I mean? It’s a very difficult concept to put into words, perhaps it’s easier to express what it’s not. It’s certainly not pulling down, shortening, collapsing, all those things which drag us down towards the floor, nor is it feeling glum, downcast or, dare I say it,…

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How you use your body affects the way it functions

How you use your body affects the way it functions. This is very much the thinking behind Alexander’s analogy of a car, which needs to be in good condition to run well. You take a car for a regular service and keep it in good order. The same applies to our bodies. If we are…

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'Going from known to unknown'

Alexander mentions Joseph Rowntree’s comment about ‘going from known to unknown’ during Alexander Technique lessons. Certainly it is a process and as such takes the time it takes, not a ‘quick fix’ by any means but a process of educating oneself about one’s unhelpful habitual postural habits and how these can be prevented. This should…

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The breath

Breathing through your nose, as opposed to your mouth, when vocalising (or playing a wind instrument) means that you have more breath to vocalise or play with. It’s worth experimenting a bit with this in terms of vocalising scales or even reading a passage out loud from a book and seeing how often you take…

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Paying homage to holistic education

Really thinking of my teachers, near and far, not just those of the Alexander Technique, but also others whose books I’m reading which are proving really helpful. I know I’m one for reading well-written texts and not forgetting these, such as words on teaching, with which some of you may be familiar. When we learn and…

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Connecting up…

This week marks a time when we traditionally remember those who sacrificed themselves that we might live in freedom and peace. In my thoughts are my father and his side of the family. Fighting as he did at the age of a young 20-something and experiencing loss in the process, was part of the times,…

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Just saying…

There are a million different ways of saying anything, in fact we humans love using as many words as we can possibly find in our vocabulary to say what are in essence very simple messages. We may even find ourselves in trouble as a consequence of this, or we may decide to re-think what we…

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Making life easier on ourselves

It’s been well over a year now since I re-discovered what it was like to have normal movements when it came to my digestion and going to the bathroom. Ahead of this I had experienced decades of pain and discomfort, to the point where it was near nigh impossible, It was hot last summer and…

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Neck free

How often do we think about our necks when thinking of other things during the day? Quite possibly the answer may be only when we have a stiff achey neck, perhaps from having slept awkwardly, or more seriously perhaps experience the aftereffects of whiplash or something similar. We often do not even know where to start with…

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Smart thinking for beginners

I’ve never been what I consider to be smart or even street smart. I wore hand-me-down clothes as a kid, lace-up shoes with padding stuffed inside just to keep them on my feet, listen(ed) to classical music, read a lot and found I failed at sports so from the early beginnings of my life I definitely…

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How our breathing benefits from how we think

I had no idea that I was holding my breath until I was shown that I was, sitting at a desk gives us ample opportunity to explore this for ourselves if we first know how to bring it to our attention. Business people who speak in public, those in the performing arts world, even yoga…

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Direction of our human laboratory

If we are unhappy about some aspect of ourselves, whether this be a failed relationship, in some way our looks, level of confidence, emotional reasons or our reactions towards the opinions of others, then the tendency is to remain unhappy with this rather than taking the time to observe ourselves. We may even develop a critical habit, which…

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