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

Coming out!


I’ve have a couple of aborted blogs written but not published over this Christmas, I have difficulty with Christmas, bad thoughts and missing people that were close to me. I don’t want to write about that, A very dear friend of mine suggested I write about something else. Something that not everyone knows.

If your a regular reader you already know what this is about, if you don’t, you may wonder what all the coming out is about!

About fifteen years ago a woman put her right hand on my left shoulder, there was a shudder down my body and was left tingling, you may read this was a bad experience, it was anything but, I wanted more.

I wanted more

Little did I know where her touch would lead, I was intrigued by the

  • power,
  • kindness,
  • openness,
  • positivity,
  • offer of freedom,
  • a moment of being pain free,

that a single touch could bring in just a moment. She touched me through my shirt and jacket in a public place for maybe a couple of seconds at most.

I wanted to explore more, I did, We met most Friday afternoons for about an hour. I can’t remember in detail what we did, nor did I understand why she did it to me, I do remember the outcome though, I was happier, freer, more alive and I wanted more of the same. So when she said; “same time next week”; the answer was ‘YES’.

When you come and see me, you may well be confused in what I do but feel great afterwards.

YES

I had no expectations on any changes that were taking place physically or mentally, I just enjoyed the experience, I enjoyed the therapy, I didn’t understand that I was to learn something. I was learning, not in a conventional way. I was changing, my reliance on asthma inhalers was changing, there were times I completely forgot about them, then I remembered and got into a panic. I was getting taller, I was losing my slump, I was less of a rabbit in headlights. In fact I was changing for the better in many aspects of the way I lived.

Even after several months I still didn’t understand what she did, I tried to understand and rationalise it all but it didn’t make sense.

I still wanted more!

She was teaching me to think in a completely opposite way to the way I normally think without being too obvious. This all came to an end when I changed jobs. I thought that was it, but after a year without her touch I needed it more and more, I found someone else with a similar touch nearer to home, my learning continued. Later I started my training to teach what I’ve been learning.

I’ve studied for five years at different training school to discover her touch, only to discover her touch is a small but very important aspect of the training. All the while I’ve kept all what I’ve written above secret from my siblings and father, this has been deliberate to avoid there criticism; their underhand remarks, this secrecy was to protect me but now it is holding me back, so here I am,

I am an Alexander Technique Teacher.

This may seem very strange but I choose not to tell them to avoid ridicule, ‘what’s all this quackery’ etcetera. I just didn’t want the grief! I wanted to protect myself until I’m ready.

I’m ready now!

Learning to be an Alexander Technique Teacher, the first part of the training is to learn about yourself, noticing habits that I didn’t even know I had, simple things like waving my hands when talking, mumbling when reading aloud, worrying what other are thinking, astmhatic breathing. I decided I couldn’t manage to learn about myself with the additional load of family comments and criticism, I kept it from them. Most of our learnt behaviours evolve from within our families, they are so engrained that I and you won’t notice the behaviours happen or we may cringe after the fact.

My coming out is to declare that I’m an Alexander Technique Teacher, it is a wonderful career, even if it is little known. I offer you the opportunity to rediscover your lost freedom and aliveness that you were born with, that your learnt behaviours have taken away from you. These learnt behaviours keep you from fulfilling your dreams, keeping you in your box with pain, anxiety, stress, doubt. You can unlearn these behaviours like I have done and are still doing so. Wouldn’t you like your freedom back, if so, please contact me and we can start on your journey together.

Have a joyous 2019, I know I will!

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 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

With freedom and ease, pain evaporates


What is the Alexander Technique?

When I first started with my first teacher, I wasn’t sure, after a break and then started with another teacher, I wasn’t sure, when I started with my teacher training, I wasn’t sure.

This was about six years in total that I wasn’t sure, I think thats long time not to be sure about something that I have stuck with and started to learn to teacher it!

What is the Alexander Technique?

  • most people think it is about fixing bad backs, or fixing shoulder pain or any other pain they have heard in conversation
  • those how have had lessons, again its about pain relief with the added bonus of the sense of lightness and lightness the teacher can give you.
  • for some teachers I’ve met it is about doing body work whilst being in balance.
  • for other teachers it is about teaching others to notice their habitual behaviours, inhibiting them and choosing something else or not.

The Alexander Technique isn’t for the faint hearted, it is challenging, very challenging. The objective of the teaching is to teach how to notice habits, those obvious habits and also those hidden and embedded habits within you and then choose what to do with them.

Of course with any training you can stop and start again when you are ready. Even one lesson will be enlightening. The more training you can afford and do, the greater the insight into how you live and react to your environment.

Many habits cannot be met head on as they will kick off and stand their ground, they need to be approached stealthily. That’s where the skills of the teacher come in, noticing and not approaching and sometimes not mentioning the habit. Engaging the client in an activity that circumvents the habit so to demonstrate the habit isn’t needed. This is the sense of lightness and freedom that is noticed that I mentioned above. This sense is fabulous but it doesn’t last very long after the session if you are reliant on the teacher. The art is to listen and learn what is being taught and then experiment as much as you can between lessons to bring about your own freedom and lightness.

The Alexander Technique is:

  • Discovering that there is a choice between a stimulus and your reaction that doesn’t have to rely on habits
  • Making the best choice for that moment brings freedom and aliveness to your live
  • You can use body work to discover your reaction to a stimulus and make a choice.
  • Making the best choice for a given stimulus generally releases muscle tension, with freedom and ease, pain evaporates.

Go find an Alexander Technique Teacher to get back your freedom and aliveness you once had.

Please read what others think about my work.

 

 

Alexander Technique, Asthma

I panic, I get breathless


I used to be really bad at breathing, just one thought that worried me and I was on my inhaler. Tight chest, panicking and couldn’t go anywhere, life was shit, if it wasn’t for my loving wife and support from friends I guess it would have even been worse, I definitely wouldn’t have been writing this now.

I’ve discovered that I wasn’t alone with these thoughts and the utter dependency on asthma inhalers. What really annoyed me then and still does is the reliance our doctors have on drugs to cure all. I didn’t need drugs to cure me as there is nothing to cure, I was panicking because that is what I’d learnt was the best thing in these situations. I panic, get breathless, get noticed then I get love and support. Unfortunately getting drugs is no replacement for getting love and support.

Perhaps a better medical workflow would be I get breathless, see the doctor and they proscribe drugs for the immediate problem and also help to identify the root cause.

I see the issue is that doctors are expertly trained however the training steers to a pharmaceutical solution to most issues the patients bring, I may be completely wrong in my understanding but it is very rare that when I see the doctor I need to call by the dispensary to pick something up. Perhaps many like myself as patients also expect to call by the dispensary to pick something up.

Unfortunately I’ve never had the support to identify the root cause, my meeting with various asthma nurses never went well, I didn’t believe what they said as they were employed independently from the surgery, I may have been cynical but they alway wanted to try another drug. I don’t see the asthma nurse anymore nor take asthma medication.

Someone noticed, I don’t know what they noticed, that I behaved in a certain way that suppressed my breathing when I became anxious. This was my habitual response to the stimulus, if you remember, if I suppressed my breathing I received love and support. As a very young child it was a win-win situation. However in the adult world the love and support isn’t always there, instead it is a lose-lose situation, once started it is very easy to spiral down to very dangerous place, the asthma drugs do slow or stop the spiral for a short time. Drug don’t address the root cause.

The art is to notice when the response to the stimulus starts or just before then you then have a very good chance of not starting the spiral, in fact with practice the habitual response changes to something else instead of I panic, I get breathless, my panic increases, I get more breathless… .

This skill takes a time to grasp, I’ve grasped it but not without having the support and love of others, I did seek professional help, they helped me to notice my response to the stimulus and that I could choose to do something else.

Please let me know if you want to know more.

Alexander Technique

How to maintain your painful habits!


When I meet new people one of the many questions that are asked are;

  • Where do you live?
  • Questions about my family and relationships
  • Why are am I here
  • Of course the weather

then the terrifying question arrives, what do you do!

I do have two roles, I’m a business analyst, most guess what this is without asking too many questions – they probably don’t know but their guess will do and I’m happy with that.

We can move on.

My other role is an Alexander Technique Teacher, well I will be soon. People either know or think they know, they are the ones that tighten their back to become erect and tall or they mention that it is something about sitting and standing.

The others want more information.

I really don’t know which ones are worse to explain what the Alexander Technique is; those with preconceived ideas or those without a clue.

I’ve shuffled around many ideas on what to say at this point, my current words are about rediscovering your lost freedom and ease, changing your habits that give you pain to habits that allow you freedom and ease; regressing back to being an 6 year old.

You may think that is impossible,

I’ll tell you it is not,

it is only a choice like the choice you have to maintain your painful habits.

Changing habits is a little difficult as you have to go against your norm, your norm has helped you throughout your life, if you are not careful every time you choose to make a change your norm will be resistant and win over your well intentioned choice. If you are like me your norm will win every time. What needs to be done is approach change indirectly then your habit can claim it for itself. Your habits are like your manager at work that keeps stealing your ideas. If you know that they do this then you can steer them to what you want. Habits are the same.

You need to show your habit the benefit of the change so that your habit can steal your idea.

Do you ever get out of breathe when you do a particular activity, mine was walking up hill. I’d see a hill and get ready for the incline; hunker down and lean into the hill – this is absolutely stupid, it is making the incline even more onerous.

Being an engineer I have an understanding about levers and weights, leaning forward I need more energy to move myself than if I was upright therefore getting ready for a hill by leaning forward is a waste of effort and pretty stupid.

The other thing I noticed I was doing was making sure I lifted my knees higher than normal and putting more energy than I needed into moving my legs. Unless it is a very steep incline the height you normally lift your feet is enough to go up a hill.

I’ve almost forgot, not only did a get ready by leaning into the hill, I’d hold my breathe for some strange reason. I’d be breathless in a few steps.

Obviously something needs to change, being breathless did have it’s benefits I’d have to stop walking. I find working on breathing can be a difficult experiment as I get drawn into breathing, my view breathing should just happen so I avoid working on my breathing.

Going back to basics always works for me. whether it is a hill, or any other activity.

Get to know your environment, notice what you are touching, your feet on the ground,  your skin touching your clothes, the sense of the wind passing your skin, the heat of the sun. Be there with your environment. Allow yourself to receive whatever you can see, don’t go searching and focusing on anything. Keep refreshing these thoughts, these thought indirectly quieten down my breathing and magically I become more upright without any effort – remember in the beginning of this blog people tightened their back to become erect, there is no need for this, it happens naturally when you allow it to happen. Now I can carry on with my walk up hill. whenever the need to hunker down to get up the hill appears I can either stop for a moment to get to know my environment and refresh the thought on every step.  At some point awhile back my walking up hill habit changed from hunkering down to noticing the environment, walking up hill is now a breeze.

Perhaps you could experiment or find an Alexander Technique Teacher to help you to rediscover your 6 year old self again.

Being 6 again is fantastic.

Happy experimenting.