Outline proposal for evening classes early in my teaching career

This was written a long time ago!


1: Become aware of unconscious harmful directions.

2: "Inhibiting" those.

3: Sending new useful directions.


"Primary control"

Definition of jargon.

"Inhibition" simply means stopping sending unconscious harmful directions.

Brochure of a dozen or so pages.

1: The brain is continuously employed giving directions to the body. This is going on usually unconsciously.

Thus: to stand, and to continue to stand, requires continuous directions (unconscious) from my brain to my body. If those directions were to cease, I would no longer be able to stand. If I decide to sit, the directions alter and cause my body to go through the process of sitting.

2: The Alexander Technique attempts to bring the nature of these unconscious directions to our conscious attention.

Thus: while standing, or sitting, or engaging in any activity, I will, if I consider the matter at all – which is unusual – almost certainly notice that some of my directions from my brain to my body are harmful. I may not notice the extent of this at first; but lessons are designed to teach you the nature of these harmful directions. These harmful directions folow a universal pattern. They are most evident in movement, particularly a movement that involves any sort of forceful propulsion, such as sitting down or getting out of a chair. The pattern is commonly known as "the startle pattern" and will be familiar to many people as a typical reaction of fear and suprise. The neck usually tightens, the head is drawn down towards the shoulders, the shoulders hunch, the small of the back tightens, the spine shortens overall, the ribcage and stomach tighten and the breathing becomes shallow or non-existant; often the buttocks tighten and the thighs are drawn towards the pelvis. This pattern, while familiar to most people as something which occurs in extreme cases, is actually evident in the majority on a perpetual basis.

3: Having become aware, to however limited an extent, of the harmful nature of these previously unconscious directions, the next step is to stop such directions from being sent.

Thus: if I become aware that I am stiffening my neck, I can stop doing it. As I release my neck, my head will automatically release in what we call a "forward and up direction" (explain) and then the spine will naturally lengthen. This process of becoming aware of harmful unconscious directions and stopping such directions from being sent is known as "inhibition".

4: Progress depends on having enough lessons to bring you a clear awareness of where you are going wrong. To take it further you will need to learn to replace those inhibited previously unconscious harmful directions with new beneficial conscious directions. The more assidiously and often you do this the more effectively the Alexander Technique will work for you.

5: What is the point of it? Many, many problems are due to these unconscious directions, formed long ago as habits, causing physical tensions that bring unwanted symptons.

[I get much more of a buzz out of explaining the Technique than demonstrating it. I don’t find it easy to demonstrate: how does one demonstrate an intellectual concept?

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