Alexander Technique

2018


The end of the year is very near, it’s just a couple of hours away; I’ve been thinking and reflecting on the past year. It’s been a busy year and it has flown by.

The end of the year is very near, it’s just a couple of hours away; I’ve been thinking and reflecting on the past year. It’s been a busy year and it has flown by.

I’ve written 39 blogs, there are a few blogs that may be worth reading again. The first comes to mind is when I visited the vets and I talked to a vet nurse about the Alexander Technique and demonstrated with her and the dogs in the kennels. This is better than smoking dope.

Another blog I liked was when I was in Bordeaux on a Alexander residential course. I discovered the essence of what the Alexander technique is; It’s all about love. I’ve just read it a gain, I was inspired through the work we did there.

In October I was feeling particularly anxious and could sleep so I wrote a blog exactly how I felt at 1AM. I find writing very cathartic, this blog helped me sleep that night.

And finally, yesterday I really enjoyed my coming out, this took a lot of courage and encouragement from a friend for me to write and then to post.

I hope you have enjoyed my blogs over this year and the previous years. I’ve enjoyed writing them and as I wrote above they are very cathartic for me, I’ve also come to learn that many have similar life issues and I’m not alone. I do encourage you to speak, write about the things that are holding you or find someone to help you, obviously I’m biased but find an Alexander Technique teacher to help you to rediscover your ease.

Let us all have a fantastic 2019. Please keep reading, you can always join my mailing list then you’ll get my blogs via email then you won’t miss any.

What was your favourite blog?

Alexander Technique

The Christmas Conundrum; the great expectation!


It’s early on Christmas morning, I wanted to sleep on but the dogs had another ideas or did they sense I’d woken. Anyway I’m up, the dogs have gone out and I’m drinking tea and writing far to early in the Christmas Day morning.

I’ve had many a Christmas morning, firstly with great expectations when I was a child, Santa was going to deliver the toy or game of the year, he didn’t, I got something else not quite what I wanted, I was disappointed but held a brave face; perhaps next year I’ll get what I want.

It never happened.

When I was with my children, they got the toys I’d always wanted and more. Christmas was fantastic but I still had an underlying feeling I didn’t get what I wanted.

Was I chasing a fantasy?

Divorce happened, my children and I separated by distance and financial cost, then parent alienation syndrome cut in and I was well and truly separated, I pined for the Christmas’s I had with my children. Nothing has helped with the sense of loss I’ve had for many years. Christmas has become the focus of my pain of loss. I’ve played games with myself by

  • ignoring Christmas,
  • having extravagant holidays at Christmas,
  • being thoroughly depressed at Christmas
  • being over generous at Christmas

Nothing seems to work, I’m still expecting the great expectation but I don’t know what it is. The separation from my children has made it even worse.

How can I not know what it is if I’m expecting it?

Christmas is a sad time of year as are their birthdays. Christmas is worse as everyone is ‘enjoying themselves’. Not everyone; there are many like me who brave the festive season with stomach churning pain. The pain is the loss and regret of others. This year I’m playing at ignoring Christmas, I’m too old for it, Christmas is for children, Christmas has gone commercialised.

Any excuse to ignore Christmas.

Reflecting on why Christmas is a great expectation. I think it all starts by being told to be good else Santa won’t bring you what you want. I was good and he didn’t, he broke his promise!

As a child my heart was broken every year because my great expectation didn’t materialise. In reality my parents could afford the latest and best presents for their children. Our society and commercialisation has a lot to answer for, I imagine there have been millions of children disappointed on Christmas morning and equally millions of parents spending beyond their means to satisfy the expectations of their children.

I have and you have been caught in the maelstrom of lost expectations that are the promises and dreams of Christmas’s past.

There is a simple present that everyone can have and give if they so wish.

That is love.

These great expectations are expecting something that is not love, the expectations are given in place of love, they are supposed to express love but they are only tangible gifts that can’t support love. They can support a memory of the time the gift is given. Love is in the person not the gift. There is a catch; to offer love you need to love yourself first, you need to be able to look yourself in a mirror without flinching away and tell yourself that you love the person you see in the mirrors reflection.

Loving yourself allows you to love others, then your gifts are tokens of your love.

Great expectations are an expectation of what others will provide you, they will never meet your expectations.

How about having no expectations from others and enjoy the shear joy of receiving their tokens of love.

This is what I’ve done this Christmas morning, it’s been wonderful with tears of joy, love and contentment with no great expectation.

Have a wonderful Christmas and pass your love on to all you know.

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 Technique

Life can be a breeze; the choice is yours.


One of the activities I really hate but secretly love is running, it is one of those activities that I used to hold my breathe as I prepared to run hence I didn’t get far before I was out of breath!

A pretty obvious outcome but I couldn’t understand why I was always out off breath; it has only been in the recent years that I worked out that I do hold my breath, in fact I hold my breath to start most activities.

You may think this is a strange thing to do, I do now, and many of us have particular foibles when we start an activity. For strenuous activities including running I held my breath.

In fact, I held my breath to start any activity! I wonder what you do?

Now lets turn this around.

From my perspective, getting ready to do something is your ego getting ready by calling up its favourite but not so useful habits; my habit of breathe holding. If I quieten my ego then I’m ready to run and I don’t need to hold my breath, things just happen.

Being ready is a completely different sensation to getting ready.

Being ready I feel light and buoyant, all my joints have the freedom to move, my thinking is livelier and brighter.

Getting ready I feel heavy and locked, my joints are tight and reluctant to move, my thinking is wondering what is going to happen, as I write and experiment with my thoughts, my breath is becoming laboured, butterflies are appearing in my stomach.

Being ready and getting ready are both thoughts generated from my mind and I can choose which thought, I much prefer ‘being ready’ to ‘getting ready’ it is a much happier place however I still have a lingering habit of not choosing and going straight for ‘getting ready’.

The trick is to notice, pause for a moment and then choose. How to choose takes skill and plenty of practice; this is what I teach. We all have the capacity to be ready, with lightness, buoyancy with freedom to move; we just don’t choose it.

Most of our life we have been cajoled, bullied, taught, encouraged to get ready for things by holding, hunkering down, freezing, grimacing so we can demonstrate to others that we are getting ready; I was like that with running.

Last week I decided to take up running again, I joined a 0 to 5 km club, it was into the 6thweek of training, my first for several years. I choose to ‘be ready’, no ‘getting ready’, no holding my breath; it was a breeze. I really enjoyed the run, the circuit we ran was about 3.5 km, dispersed with periods of running and walking. The moments when I noticed I was starting to try harder because of a hill or I was drifting away from the pack, I refreshed on thoughts of being ready and my lightness and buoyancy returned; the gradient became easier and I floated closer to the pack.

We all have this power to choose but many think that life must be hard and difficult if it is to be at all successful, in fact the opposite is true!

Life can be a breeze; the choice is yours.

Alexander Technique

Being a human being not a human doing


This week is Mental Health week, the hidden pandemic that we don’t like to talk about.

It is great that we can now speak about it but have we done enough, are some of the concerns just false platitudes of people stuck in their own mental health problems.

Suffering from mental health problems is shit; nobody really understands your own unique mental health problems.

There’s lots of help from lots of modalities, all trying to wedge your unique mental health problem into their niche. I may be hard on these wonderful people that have a deep urge to help others.

Remember this in my perspective and I may be completely delusional on this matter. I’m happy to be proved otherwise.

Many modalities are sticking plasters for a headache. They work for a while whilst you believe it is helping you. They add another layer to your thinking to smooth over and hide your personal unique problem. Your personal unique problem will break out of these layers when it needs to; like Dr Ford recently with Kavanaugh.

Plastering over things just postpones the problem, I know because that is what I do, but to a lesser extent now. Now if I feel shit I tell someone, I did this morning, hence this blog, thank you, you know who you are.

What has worked for me is instead of adding layers is removing the layers and meeting my problems naked and vulnerable. It sounds very, very scary; it is the first time and possibly the second time and the third. Now it is joyful, standing naked and vulnerable and letting my problems trying to get to me. (Standing naked is a metaphor; well most of the time, best not done in public!) Opening up to myself and braving my vulnerability is fantastic, terrifying, weird, freeing, stupid, enlightening; initially changing rapidly in the kaleidoscope of my thought. Slowly my thoughts slow to thoughts of freedom and joy, sometimes with tears of joy.
You may think this is mindfulness; it is but a whole lot more. We all have this within us, all we have to do is find it.

It has taken me, since the discovery that I have been suffering from anxiety, about ten years to write this. Some of these years I can’t remember. What I know is that I’ve been trying and trying to resolve and get over my unique personal problem.

Recently I’ve discovered, trying and trying to resolve and getting over my unique personal problem doesn’t work!

I wish I knew that earlier, the answer is not trying and not getting over my unique personal problem. Trying just adds layers to smoother the problem and the problem is me!  I’m trying to hide from myself.

The secret is to be; be yourself, be balanced with gravity, be now, be here, not drifting off somewhere in your thoughts. All this is easier to say than do but doing is the wrong approach, it is being, being a human being not a human doing.

I teach how to be an being, not using unnecessary energy and not being a human doing. The benefits are that life is freer, happier, joyous, loving, beautiful, plentiful, and peaceful. Life is like it is now, the same family and friends but much, much better.

My unique personal problem is still with me as it is me, now we live in harmony with each other. My problem does shout at times for me to do something, now I know how to return to a being.

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 breathe 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 Technique

Enjoy and see the beauty


On the London tube this morning, going home after a wonderful weekend learning to develop my psychophysical awareness.

What I noticed was no one in the tube carriage was there!

There was a whole collection of eyes.

  • Eyes in their phones
  • Eyes in their tablets
  • Eyes behind eyelids
  • Eyes staring aimlessly into space
  • Eyes with no energy

Which eyes do you have?

I can only guess what my fellow passengers where thinking about but I think I can safely say they weren’t enjoying the moment as I was. Why waste any moment even on the tube.

These moments are yours and yours alone, enjoy and see the beauty; there really is beauty in every moment. All you have to do is let beauty come to you, this is something I learnt this weekend.

.

Alexander Technique

Catching the ball


In many of my lessons I work with catching bean bags (they don’t roll under the furniture as balls tend to do).

Catching bean bags is a great stimulus for some, not so for others. A greater stimulus is not catching a bean bag and letting it fall by your feet.

We have had so much conditioning that letting something fall is a bad, even when there is permission to let it fall.

This conditioning has restricted your choices to only one;

CATCH THE BALL AT ALL COSTS. 

This single choice is not restricted to catching balls but to many other activities in your life. Simple things like not walking under ladders, using your dominant hand for many activities, what you do when you awake up in the morning, what you do in the evening, how you respond to people, sometimes in very different ways to different people. These are all yours and my habits; an easy way to move through life!

Sometimes the easy way to move through life isn’t always the best option for now, though it may have been in the past.

My thoughts about catching ball are that you were either great at catching or go into panic with the fear of dropping the ball; I was in the later group. The fear of missing the ball and wrecking the game for others in my team was my overriding thought, so like others I tried really hard to catch, however the more I tried the worse I got; how could that be!

Life moves on, team games with catching balls stay at school, I go to work, however trying too hard moved with me through work and leisure.

  • Trying too hard to please
  • Trying too hard to be successful
  • Trying too hard to be good

I’d been successfully conditioned at school, school was successful as I became an ace student at trying too hard and continued for most of my life.

However trying to hard has it’s limitations, there is

  • only one choice,
  • only one route
  • only one option

That is to work hard trying to achieve your goals.

I’ve since learnt that I don’t have to catch the ball, I can make another decision, one of many options! The strange thing is when there are options are I free up, as do whomever I’m working with. When they or I choose to catch the ball we pick the ball out of the air instead of trying to catch. There is a lightness and freedom in their movement, they become happy and joyful. I regularly hear comments about their pain disappearing.

You may be wondering what is happening, pain in many people is manifested by their habits, their habits sending messages to muscles to tighten and keep tightening, muscles tire and eventually send messages to stop in the form of a pain message. We get stuck in habitual behaviour, we don’t know how to get out of it hence we keep recreating and empowering a vicious cycle, it gets worse and worse, and if you are in pain then the pain may get worse.

Rediscovering that you have other options breaks the vicious cycle and for a few moment pain disappears, this is what happened when we played catch. Unfortunately our habits are well embedded and we quickly return to our vicious cycle of pain. That’s where my training helps, I’m trained to notice through observation and to instruct you that you have other options to lead your life, these options will lead you to rediscover your freedom and aliveness you used to have whilst making mature choices in the way you want to live you life.

If you want to know more, please contact me.

Alexander Technique

It’s all about love


I’ve been away in France on a residential training course learning more about the Alexander Technique; you know the modality that gets you to sit and stand through a session, it’s something to do with posture, but other modalities seem to do it better.

There’s probably some truth in that.

Nobody really tells you what the Alexander Technique is for, it seems to be for everything?

Surely there must be a modality for each pain and illness?

This week I discovered what the Alexander Technique is really about, you won’t find the answer directly in any of Alexander’s books, please prove me wrong. Not many teachers will say it directly but will display it.

The Alexander Technique is all about love, not the love that

  • expects something,
  • demands something
  • Controls someone.

This isn’t love, that’s something else.

It’s the love that totally and perfectly comprehends with total and perfect acceptance.

With this love, movement takes no obvious energy, there is

  • No effort
  • No pain

Love in perception,

Perception is action,

Action is perception.

Therefore,

Action is love and love is action.

It has taken me a long time to discover what I’ve been training for. My discovery is love, not to take love but to manifest and offer love to myself and to anyone who want to receive my love. If I accept love it is accepted with comprehension and acceptance.

The art of the Alexander Technique teacher is to guide others, if they so wish, to discover that they can have effortless activities in whatever they do.