Alexander Discovery, Alexander Technique

What’s your quality of contact?


The quality of contact with others is very important and if you contact without thought things will generally go wrong. This is not just about touch, it’s all forms of contact.

Following on from my previous post https://alexanderintheforest.co.uk/2019/10/28/why-do-i-keep-tripping-myself-up/ I mentioned non-doing, you may be wondering what that is.

It was something that was impossible for me to discover then one day someone said the right words to me and there I was with non-doing hands. It’s an exquisite place to be, neither doing too much nor doing too little, balancing on a knife edge in non-doing space.

I’m having difficulty in explaining this, as it is a non-verbal space hence my difficulty. Perhaps an example is when you master riding a push bike and can cycle without holding the handles, you are at one with your bike and the space and ground around you.

Non-doing is a quality of contact, it not just touch, it is all ways, speech, visual, energetic contact and the contacts I don’t know or understand. Years ago when we only had landlines without caller display, yes they did exist once. When my mother phoned I knew it was her before the phone rang, I picked the phone up and said “Hi Mum”, I was always right, she did the same to me when I phoned. So I assume contact can come in many forms.

From my understanding and experience non-doing isn’t available unless your in balance with yourself. An awareness of where I am physically, allowing my reflexes respond to gravity whilst I sit here writing, not trying to balance myself another way. An awareness of the room I’m in and my dogs enjoying the quiet energy that is allowed to manifest from my awareness. Knowing that I only have a single moment to enjoy and this is this one, now it has gone and now can enjoy the this one, these moments never stop and never stay.

Of course you need to plan and dream of things else you’ll be frozen by the moment, though it is beautiful to be permanently in the moment, it’s not productive, it doesn’t buy you food or pay the mortgage.

Being in the moment in activity with the awareness of yourself and the environment non-doing naturally becomes available, it cannot be done else that would be doing!

If you are intrigued and want to experience this, then perhaps contact me or another Alexander Technique Teacher.

I worked with someone recently and they said this awareness is like smoking dope, everything becomes extremely lucid, calm and beautiful.

Alexander Discovery, Alexander Technique

Why do I keep tripping myself up!


I’m writing my body of knowledge of what I understand the Alexander Technique means to me. I’m deliberately not going to write in this blog using the accepted principles and concept of the Alexander technique as I feel you will leave at the end of this sentence: I’ll put them in my own words!

I plan to use my body of knowledge as the backbone to my teaching, adding to it as and when discovery something.

Today’s topic my be a little deep for some, the intention of the topic is on the lines of “why do I keep tripping myself up!”.

My understanding is that we model from past experiences, good or bad, onto an activity we are about to perform, the quality of the performance depends on past experiences. I think that is generally true however you can learn how not accept past these marring past experiences onto your activities. This is one aspect that the Alexander Technique can help with.

The Alexander Technique works by being indirect to the issue you are having. Meeting an issue directly you will no doubt do something else to work around the issue and from my experience make if more complex and more difficult to manage. This is true for businesses and you personally.

Going indirectly you have the opportunity to look at the issue from the outside, you’re not stuck in issue fighting to resolve it. Working indirectly is good to a point, you might see the resolution to the issue, then jump in and fix the issue. Fixing makes it more complex, it may work for a while however will fail eventually.

If you add a non-judgmental demeanour to viewing indirectly, a deeper knowledge of the issue can be seen, however this is not quite enough to stop tripping up. Most people can get to this quality of demeanour, the next level takes some practice, hundred of hours of practice. You can shortcut the practice by engaging with an Alexander Technique Teacher who will help you.

At a certain point during an activity you will decide, you may not notice the decision as it may be subconscious, to get on with the activity and finish it, At this point past experiences will be called to complete the activity. You will revert to habit. Fear may raise its head, a tightening in your stomach perhaps, you wonder why you’re doing what you’re doing, it wasn’t my plan to behave like this, what’s going on, I’m out of control!

What the Alexander Technique Teacher will teach you initially is to notice the critical point, firstly you might not be able to stop yourself from continuing but you can notice the critical point. Then it’s time for practice, noticing the critical point, then continuing or stopping what you plan to do. This takes practice and even more practice. What the Alexander Technique Teacher give you is their skill to notice your critical point and more importantly a non-doing support for you to experiment with your activity.

I not aware of any teaching, coaching or modality ( I’d like to know if this is true) that provides this type of deep understanding of why you do particular things in a particular way, and then help you change your way if your choosen way doesn’t met your intention.

How to get things right without trying too hard.
Alexander Discovery, Alexander Technique, direction

Non-thinking thinking


Again I’ve not been writing, this time it has been deliberate, I needed time to reflect and also to great some inspiration from somewhere or someone. Last week they arrived at the same time.

I was at the ATI (Alexander Technique International) conference in Ennis in Ireland and Megan Macedo presented for a couple of hours, she’s the story writer.

I’ve been stuck in not writing as I don’t want to write about my troubles and how the Alexander Technique helped me in that particular trouble, the Alexander Technique did, that’s not my problem, I was bored of writing the same sort of thing.

My problem was what to write instead?

The Alexander Technique works for all; it raises your consciousness and awareness in how you move and life your life. Some people have problems raising their consciousness and awareness without loving support. I’ll put my hand up to this.

The Alexander Technique is seen as something to do with posture, a good straight back, sorting lower back pain out; physical sort of stuff. The secret it isn’t any of that stuff, the side effects are those things. The Alexander Technique is about thinking, non- thinking thinking.

Confused, let me explain.

To do something, like writing this blog, there is a series of thoughts I have to generate to build this sentence and then turn this sentence into keystrokes to make it visible on my screen.

Writing this blog starts way before I get to my keyboard, I need an intention to write using my learnt skills to form sentences in English and manual skills to touch the correct keys. There is also emotions that generate intention, in the past I wouldn’t be writing as my emotions would be saying NO WAY! I’ve agreed to differ with that emotion that I’m rubbish at writing, and even more rubbish at writing from the heart, the emotion hasn’t gone, i choose not to engage with it. This week I stood and recited in front of an audience, again I choose not to engage with the emotion that was saying I’ll be rubbish at that. Emotions get empowered by other people agreeing with them, again I can choose not to engage with their comments. The crux of the Alexander Technique is that you can empower your power of choice.

You may be thinking what is choice to do with non-thinking thinking.

There is a point of balance with everything, thinking included, in fact thinking is the heart of our balance. If we try we over balance our thinking and force something to happen you may get away with it in the short term but it won’t be your best option.

There’s a sweet spot in our balance where no effort is required, just like balancing a fork across your finger, too much one way our another and the fork will fall off.

Emotions are the same, there need to be some energy in the emotion but not to much, enough energy with start the flow of emotion > feeling > thought > then into the conscious realm > behaviour > activity. If an inappropriate emotion starts this flow, the behaviour and activity may well be inappropriate or sub optimal.

So how do you stop your emotions running away with you?

From the Alexander Technique view, it is about the teacher being in balance observing in a non-doing non-judgmental way on what you are doing, noticing the critical point when your activity starts to go awry, pause at this moment and work out an alternative indirect way to achieve the activity.

These Alexander skills don’t come cheap, it is many hundreds of hours of practice, more like several thousand hours of practice to develop the skill to notice and understand what is noticed, learning how to be fully aware of yourself and what’s happening around you in each moment are skills needed to help others to develop their consciousness and ability to choose.

Don’t underestimate the skills of an Alexander Technique teacher, that may appear to the quiet and keep to themselves, that is because they respect your space and energy and will not trespass across your boundaries. This makes it very difficult as we can see your pain and troubles, your hubristic way hiding your difficulties. Why not be brave and discover what we have to offer.

Alexander Discovery, Forest Naturals

Have you lost your gazelle!


Ever feel flat and weary, that Boxing Day tummy that is full and wallows that stops you from moving like a gazelle? Well today that is me…

It may be a combination of good food, too much of it and the being over heated with the beautiful sun. Yesterday felt like August and it’s only April, today is supposed to be the same.

I guess many will feel the same, all I just want to be is wallow and enjoy the sunny weather, the gazelle inside me seems to have gone hiding in the tall grass for the moment.

This is hard; tempting my gazelle out so I can enjoy my aliveness fully whilst wanting to slowly and aimlessly wallow in the mud. Perhaps today is the day to contemplate and do little more.

Yesterday evening I got a message that there is stand available at a show, would you like to attend. In a flash, yes, but what should I do, is it Alexander Technique, I’m not too sure how that could work or is it our beauty product business. We opted for Forest Naturals.

We are off to Stroud on the 6th May, this is our first stand since Christmas, it’s strange how things know when your ready, My wife how who leads on Forest Naturals has been off work for the past 4 months, unable to do very much at home, this week things changed, she has more energy and is returning the way she was before Christmas, then a call from nowhere just at the opportune time. Perhaps my wife has now done her wallowing and her gazelle is ready to spring to life!

Developing the products for Forest Naturals has taken sometime, deciding what to make, attend training courses, not only how to make the soaps, creams and balms, there were the legislation course on how to provide products that are used on skin. Engaging a chemist to review our recipes and then the worrying wait when samples were tested in the lab. We now have certification to produce our products, that’s the ones that have been certified. More need to go away for certification before they are available for sale.

Deciding what raw ingredients to use has been problematic. We only wanted the best, none of the low quality or doctored raw ingredients that are available.

  • Where are they manufactured,
  • where in the world,
  • who manufactured them,
  • are they ethically sourced,
  • does the manufacturer abide with high environmental standards?

Sourcing raw materials to meet our standards is expensive, there are plenty of cheap options that we disregarded. We now have a range of products that not only smell good, they have best essential oils.

The feed back from our customers is fabulous.

I seem to have digressed, that’s because I believe what we produce is fantastic.

Not much about the Alexander Technique today, it’s always there, it’s there when making conscious decisions which recipe to create, measuring out the ingredients, stirring the recipe, there’s a lot of stirring. Potting creams or wrapping soap.

Believe it or not the hardest and most difficulty part of making our products is creating and putting labels onto the products. Please have a look and like our Facebook page.

Alexander Discovery, Alexander Technique, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire

Being out of control


It is Easter Sunday, it is sunny and looks like its going to be a beautiful hot day here in Gloucestershire. I will enjoy the beautiful hot day but somewhere inside me I feel guilt not for enjoying it but during my life contributing to the global warming. A strange mix of feelings, one is close up; the enjoyment of my day with my family and later on with friends coming around for diner. The other feeling is so nebulous, so unreal, from a personal point of view, unmeasurable and so huge, I feel powerless to do anything. Looking around my desk as I write, I guess as I don’t knows as I’ve never checked, the majority of items have been imported, some may have raw materials that have influenced the change in our environment.

This feels so out of my control, if we all stopped buying we would put other humans at risk of starving, their infrastructure would crumble as the need for product they manufacture would disappear. This has happened before with mass closures in the 1980’s of the UK coal, steel and shipbuilding industries, whole towns and village suddenly became unemployed. I’m guessing again, this has happened all over the world when a method of production has become unprofitable and has moved to somewhere where profits can be made.

Perhaps these closures need to happen again, I really don’t have an answer, I really don’t have a clue on what to do.

What I can do is,

  • reduce my mileage
  • reuse things
  • reduce what goes to the tip
  • eat all the food we buy
  • only buy what is necessary
  • review what is necessary
  • keep things until they are worn out before replacing them
  • leave plastic packaging at the shop

What is your list?

Learning the Alexander Technique has helped me as I am a lot more conscious in what I am doing, I make conscious choices instead of jumping in and making brash decisions as I used to. Raising your consciousness will help you to really enjoy your day, whatever the weather, whom ever you meet, whatever is troubling you. A raised consciousness helps you to take a moment to wait for a decision to manifest, it is strange how it works. I find the right answer is found, or the right situation or person will turn up to help. Many appear to believe that the Alexander Technique is about sitting and standing, about helping physical pain. It does have those characteristics, whoever it is about raising your consciousness so that you can choose how you move and react with your environment in anyway you choose. Stunningly simple in its concept and stunning simple to be.

However the simplicity has a catch,

  • if you want it, it isn’t available
  • if you try for it, it disappears
  • if you pine for it, it hates you
  • if you hate it, it will tease you
  • if you push at it it will push back harder

The secret is

  • if you don’t try, it will appear

The training takes sometime, to teach it can take many years to learn the art of just being and having the skills to show others how to be, I know it as I’m on that journey.

To experience what a teacher can offer and show you that you have the freedom and ease to be can take a few moments. However this will be fleeting, then you may want, try, pine, hate or push it to get is back. It will resist you.

Your teacher will teach and show you methods and techniques for you to notice and act in different ways that brings about the freedom and ease. If you don’t believe it, find an Alexander Technique Teacher, as you have got this far and if you live in somewhere in or near the Forest of Dean, why not contact me for a free session.

Alexander Discovery, Alexander Technique, direction, freedom

Strange and Wonderful


I looked in the mirror yesterday and laughed, it was a spontaneous laugh, I didn’t start the laugh it was my image in the mirror. Normally my image is demur and doesn’t like being looked at, maybe for a few seconds, then looks away.

Something changed this weekend, I may get to it later or not. Let’s see!

Well, it’s sooner than later, I had some wonderful words write that have disappeared for a while, they my come back or not.

This weekend I was continuing my training to be an Alexander Technique Teacher, it’s taken longer than most but not as long as other I know. I love the work and rediscoveries that I have made about myself. There has been tears and snot, lots of it. Especially this last Sunday, even before we started at ten. I have a dear friend, she’s an Alexander Technique Teacher in Scotland, we message each other regularly, she’s sometimes my safety valve, she sometimes pushes my boundaries. Last week she wrote some thoughts for horses, “In our Hands“. On Sunday morning I read it again probably for the fifth or so time, I was in the restaurant where I was staying, I had to leave the restaurant to get to the safety of my room and sobbed and sobbed: I discovered for me it wasn’t about horses, it was about me!

The second part was particularly poignant for me.

“2. Can you sit in balance on a chair, easily for a prolonged period of time without discomfort? If not, learn to do so before you sit on a horse. You are only bringing your inbalances to your riding and teaching your horse tension otherwise. You will create imbalances. Find your own poise first and then you will find the poise of your horse. It’s magical when it happens and totally worth the work on your self.”

Kirsten Harris

The learning I’ve been doing for these years is summed up in the last sentence ” It’s magical when it happens and totally worth the work on your self.”

Sunday was the third day of the weekend training, I’d discovered things that I wanted to explore, I usually have things to explore but normally I can’t seem to express them verbally, they normally disappear deep inside me, this weekend I let them all out, there was no resistance, well maybe a little with some things, Kajsa helped me with her kind and skilful words and touch. I was suddenly in the here and now without effort, I didn’t try to get there, I was just there and I wasn’t going anywhere else! I’ve experienced this a few times before but then it was fleeting, not the persistence I discovered on Sunday and that is still with me now.

My image is content with me as I am with my image; a strange and wonderful space and time to be in. I’m getting used to it and loving it!

Peter at South Bank has been training me for a few years to help me rediscover myself, this rediscovery brings naturally freedom and aliveness in everything I do. It is utterly fantastic, even when I’m angry, confused, happy or sad.
You have got to here in my blog and may be fasinated by my discovery, if you don’t know anything about the Alexander Technique, go find a teacher. Rediscovering you freedom and aliveness is easy with the help of a teacher, it will be fleeting. The skill is freedom and aliveness with persistence; knowing that if something or someone knocks you off balance, your freedom and ease can return in an instant. This takes practice, loads of practice, as Kirsten wrote “It’s magical when it happens and totally worth the work on your self.”
Love to you all that have helped me this far on my journey, there have been many.

Alexander Discovery, Alexander Technique

How can I rid myself from pain?


  • DO YOU ever have the thought of ah, I’ve arrived, then stop and switch everything off?

What I mean is switching your awareness off! Sometimes this is a very good thing and sometimes not so good. If it’s automatic then you don’t have the option to decide if it is good or not so good.

  • DO YOU seem to get pain somewhere when you do a particular activity?

Being in auto may be the reason why you have pain, you will have a habitual movement plan that you use that triggers pain, wouldn’t it be great to renew your movement plan!

There are many ways to suppress or relieve pain but somehow does your pain keeps coming back?

  • How can you get sustained relief from pain?

These questions can be answered by raising your awareness of yourself, you can get part way on your own however to get the full embodiment of yourself you will need help. You need a mirror of some sort, a real mirror, watch yourself on video or get someone with the skills I have to observe what you do in activity and then work together to develop a new movement plan that is pain free, this may seem impossible to achieve, I know it is not as I’ve witnessed it many times.

Pain may be coming back because of how you do things, you may work in auto without noticing very much; I’m sure you have wondered how

  • Your tea was made,
  • You missed a road junction on a road you travel regularly on,
  • If you cleaned your teeth this morning?

We are odd creatures; things get so habitual we don’t know we have done them.

This is equally true to how we do things,

  • Straining our eyes to look at something,
  • Looking busy by pulling a face.
  • Straining yourself to lift something then discovering it was really light, then possibly jarring your back because it was too easy.

Much of our pain comes from an activity that we did and you probably did the activity not in a very conscious way.

Pain is your body shouting really loudly to STOP doing it that way!

There is a way to stop most pain and that is to learn how to do things consciously. Meditation and other modalities will help; you can even learn consciousness on your own.  It’s relatively easy to have a high level of consciousness when being still or working through a directed activity; the real test of consciousness is when we undertake your familiar activities whilst maintaining a high level of consciousness. This embodied use of yourself will reduce the risk of pain and possible injury.

Alexander Technique teachers are trained to be your mirror to help you see when you loose your embodiment; then offer ways to regain it. More so, we teacher you to realize that embodiment is available to you and everyone; it is only a conscious choice that many never realize they have this choice. I’ve found that many are very resistant to discovering there own embodied consciousness; I guess they are comfortable with their pain and beliefs; their pain is who they are but is it really?

Little do they know life is a whole lot better without the restrictions of pain and doubt?

  • Doubt stops investigation and experimentation,
  • Doubt keeps you where your are,
  • Doubt keeps you safe or so you think,
  • Doubt will stop you rediscovering the freedom and ease you had when you were a child.
  • Doubt has loaded you with pain by continually holding you back mentally and physically.

By improving your embodied consciousness doubt has less control over what you think and do; life becomes joyous and fun, the things you thought were troublesome melt away to nothingness. Please believe me this has happened to me and through applying the Alexander Technique.

If you live or work around Gloucestershire or the Forest of Dean please seek me out so I can teach you what I’ve learnt.

Life will be as it is but a whole lot better.

Alexander Discovery, Alexander Technique, anxiety, attention, breathing

Life becomes a whole lot better. 


We all love getting ready for something,

  • getting ready for friends coming round
  • getting ready for dinner
  • getting ready to catch a ball
  • getting ready to run
  • getting ready to stand
  • getting ready to sit

You probably know even more.

Some activities of getting ready do need some preparation, like making dinner, preparing for friends how will visit. However some things we get ready for there is no point is getting ready as we are ready already. These activities are generally when we move from one activity to another.

  • from sitting to standing
  • from walking to running
  • from observing to catching a ball

We all tend prepare for the change in activity by getting ready, the getting ready is a tightening of muscles in preparation for something we are already prepared for. We overthink things so we think we need to do something to get ready. Maybe grimacing your face to lift a heavy weight, if you think about it, we don’t tend to lift things with our facial muscles so why all this extra effort?

It is not just our facial muscles that we tense to get ready, it may be holding your breathe,   tightening your shoulders, we all have our favourite tightening for our own way of getting ready.

What’s yours?

The difficult bit is noticing your own getting ready patterns, that’s where I come in, my years of Alexander Technique training and practice, I notice these things in people and can offer you a different plan for getting ready where you don’t grimace to lift heavy weights or don’t hold your breath when you decide the run or don’t tightened your arm just before you catch a ball.

I’ll introduce you to rediscovering your freedom and aliveness you once had, then life becomes a whole lot better.

If you want to know more, drop me a line or two.

Alexander Discovery, Alexander Technique

A helping hand


I’ve been writing blogs about my Alexander Technique discoveries for a few years, my discovery is how the Alexander Technique has helped me with firstly asthma, which I can say has completely disappeared; if there are any signs I use the Alexander Technique to quieten down and allow any signs of asthma to vaporise.

Secondly to manage anxiety, the Alexander technique is a wonderful tool to help with anxiety, I’ve had plenty of triggers recently to fire up anxiety however I now have the tools to help me quieten down anxiety and get on with my life.

I’ve very rarely had the typical problems that many people discover the Alexander Technique for, namely;

  • lower back pain,
  • neck pain,
  • shoulder pain,
  • carpel tunnel syndrome
  • in fact almost any type of physical pain.

To make things clear the Alexander Technique doesn’t fix anything, it is training that teaches you how to think differently. 

A friend of mine eventually came to me recently as the wanted to reduce the number of pain killers; they have had lower back pain for longer than I can remember. They’d  taken up previous offers of my help sort of reluctantly so recently I’d decided that I’d wait to be asked for help. Their request eventually came, I helped them and their pain mitigated for a while.

The Alexander Technique has many facets that can be investigated and experimented with. The base of all these facets is constructive conscious control of yourself. This needs practice, like learning to dance, sing, read, write, etc. When I helped my friend, they with my help switched on their constructive conscious control and their pain mitigated however has soon as I stopped working with them their pain slowly reappeared. As I wrote above, this is training and sometimes it takes awhile to cope on your own with new thoughts and ideas, just like speaking a foreign language.

It takes practice and sometimes lots of it especially if something is deeply embedded in your habits. The Alexander Technique is training where you learn how to return to how nature intended, being in balance with gravity and time. Where you are not leaning forward, backward and to the side fighting gravity, you are in balance with gravity. You are not guessing about the future or blaming the past, you are here balanced with time.

Achieving this balance doesn’t happen over night, it will take a while to slowly make small changes that will manifest in huge positive changes to your life. It has for me so I don’t see why can’t for you.

Please let me know if you want to know more.

 

Alexander Discovery, Alexander Technique

Am I Bovvered?


Am I bovvered? (Am I bothered?)

I think it’s three weeks into this lovely sunny weather, I’d normally pay a lot of money for flights, hotels and restaurants for the experience instead I’m at home enjoying the sun and heat, with Wimbledon in full swing, the Football World Cup seems to be in Englands favour and the British Grand Prix is on today if I can be bovvered to watch it.

We all have choices whether we are bovvered or not, I wasn’t bovvered with the football but with a constant media overload I actually watched part of England’s quarter final with Sweden yesterday; I didn’t intend to I got caught up in the hysteria of the day but I did.  They played like a team, their composure was a joy to watch. Was I bovvered?

Is not being bothered a sort of being interested but not letting on to others and yourself. Surely by knowing about something I’m influenced by it wether I want to or not.

Is not being bothered a negative connection to whatever?

Do negative connections like to stick? I think they do, therefore if I’m not bovvered I will become more and more influenced by the whatever. Something that I say I’m not interested will start to control my life, this seems to be a lose-lose situation. Perhaps I could turn the statement to “I am bovvered!” then I can decide how to treat the whatever.

The whatever my never change because my responses to it will.

Have a play with something on your “Am I bovvered” list, keep it safe. Change the words to “I am bovvered” and see what happens. You may notice it change from a lose-lose to the win-win.  My I’m bovvered for sport this week is;

  • For the Grand prix today that will happen without me watching it, I’ll wait for the highlights later,
  • I’ll watch the Federer tennis games when I can because he is a joy to watch
  • For the World Cup semi final on Wednesday, I’ll make a decision to watch the England game on Wednesday.

Watching sport on TV are on the easy “Am I Bovvered’ list

Now to start some harder ones.

What’s on your easy list?