My life before the Alexander Technique…
My favorite part of the week is my dance class. It is one of the things in life that keeps me both active and happy.
But I remember a time when I wasn’t sure if I could get through a 2-hour dance class without hurting myself. I also didn’t have the confidence that I could improve my skill level without my teacher telling me what to do. And, even with help, I didn’t always feel as though I made the progress I wanted.
But that was before I started studying the Alexander Technique.
After the Alexander Technique….
I am now one of the hardest working students in my dance classes, but my fellow students might not know it. You see, the extra work happens in my mind – in honing how I am thinking about my posture and body movements.
This conscious process of applying the Alexander Technique in activity translates to much less work – less tension or effort – in my body. Similarly, when I play banjo or sing, applying the Alexander Technique often leads people to comment that I make it look so easy.
Applying the Alexander Technique to our activities isn’t exactly easy, though…
… it takes a lot of practice and attention, but it isn’t hard either. In fact, it often makes things feel or look easier. That’s because those nagging tensions or pains, or our fixation on achieving something during practice, are no longer drawing our attention away from what is most important about what we are doing.
When we apply the Alexander Technique to our activities, we shift WHAT we pay attention to and make clear choices about HOW we direct that attention. We set our priorities in advance of practicing or performing so that we can take charge of what is most important and not let the unimportant things interfere.
Managing our energy with the Alexander Technique is like good money management – we take our energy away from the things that drain it and invest it into the areas that will lead to the greatest growth over time. As we keep putting in little bits of the right type of attention, the return on that investment grows exponentially.
Here’s what we’ll do during lessons…
All Alexander students will spend most of the lesson time working on implementing Alexander principles in simple movements, like sitting and standing. You will learn to consciously direct a more integrated use of your body and to inhibit, or stop, bad habits from interfering with your posture and movement.
The last 5-15 minutes of any lesson can be spent learning how to bring the incredible changes you are making in your posture, movement, and thinking into any activity – to change how you approach that activity. You can develop a conscious approach that will let you achieve more, but with less effort, and find more enjoyment in the process of learning and performing.
When you apply the Alexander Technique principles to some skill or activity, you’ll do that activity better!
Improve your ability to learn and perform – in any activity, really!
We can take gym exercises, sports, dance techniques, or yoga positions and approach them with greater attention, a more stable torso, and greater freedom in your joints. Instead of stiffening your back and swinging your pelvis around, you can stand grounded and stable as your arms or legs move freely. You can learn to have control of your whole self – but not by separately controlling a whole bunch of independent parts. You can be fully in charge of one, integrated you, moving with ease and poise.
When you bring in your musical instrument, we will start by working on how you hold the instrument. Wait… did I just say hold the instrument? Actually, we’ll stop holding it up all together. Don’t worry, we won’t drop your priceless violin, but we will drop the habit of thinking that it takes effort to hold it up or that there is some right position you should stay in. Instead, I will show you a process for finding a whole different relationship between yourself and your instrument – one that comes from being more present and livelier in your whole body and mentally more conscious of how you are practicing and playing.
After working with your instrument without even playing it, we can work on a whole range of skills. You can find better technique with your arms by releasing control of the things that just create tension and paying attention to what really matters. You can learn to think about your process for learning, improvising, or performing so that you can make more in-the-moment adjustments. This can give you better intonation, better tune recall, or the ability to be more creative and spontaneous on stage.
When you want to work on something that can’t be brought into the studio, like horseback riding, motorcycle racing, trapeze, or gardening, we can mimic similar movements and develop a plan for how to start bringing the Alexander Technique into that activity.
Be the best you can be!
We all have bad habits holding us back. Now is the time for you to let them go.
Let me show you how to practice effectively and to perform your activities with a clear mind and integrated use of your body. You can take charge of your progress, gain greater control and ease, lose the fear of tension or pain, and watch your skill level skyrocket.