My Journey With The Alexander Technique

journey with the alexander technique

Before I discovered the Alexander technique I had no connection with either my body or my feelings. I had received a Ph.D. in pure mathematics from Imperial College, London and my only concern was how to think better, how to solve problems using my mind.

The only problem I had with my body was when I did DIY or gardening, especially digging, as my shoulders started aching
afterwards. Somebody suggested that I investigate the Alexander technique. So I started taking lessons and it was strange for me in the beginning as I did not have any idea what was going on. The teacher kept on telling me what I was doing and and I didn’t believe her. It was difficult to relate to what she was telling me as my experience was quite different. I did, however, find the lessons really interesting and although it was difficult to catch on I knew it was very important for me to persevere.

After six months of two lessons per week I decided to join a training course to become an Alexander teacher. It was not that I wanted to teach the Alexander technique; I just wanted more experience and time learning about it. As time went by I began to understand what it meant to have a connection with both my body and my feelings. Whereas before, if I went into a room full of people I could not sense the atmosphere, now I could see what was going on and could relate to the look on people’s faces and what kind of state they were in.

Also, and this was a big thing for me, having a better connection with my body gave me a confidence that I had never experienced before. So, in a nutshell, I started to relate to the world around me because I was better related to myself. In the Alexander class, working on the other students, I started being able to sense what was going on in them and their bodies. I will always remember the first time I sensed someone’s spine from the head down to the pelvis and I realised I wanted to become an Alexander teacher.

It was a very interesting change for me. Instead of living my life through ideas and thinking about everything the connection with my body and feelings became much more important. After I qualified as an Alexander teacher the more lessons I gave the more I saw how differently people live their lives and it was a real privilege to be allowed to see inside them. I worked on a lot of
people who were like I used to be, living their lives in their heads with not much connection to their physical presence.

The interesting thing was that they were so tense and stiff and often frightened they could not just relax and be themselves. Also, they were not aware of this state of tension. I started to notice that outside of lessons in general people are not aware of how tense they are.

So during a lesson I spend a lot of time getting them to just keep on coming back to the awareness of their body and the fact that it breathes. Everyone is so surprised that they keep on holding their breath and that this inhibits free movement. Now that I have been working on people for over 30 years it seems normal that I can sense what is taking place in their bodies and their emotional states and that I can effect a change in them. I still put a lot of effort and energy into being aware of myself in general and in particular what is taking place in my body.