Present Space and Thought Space

A lot of people in the Alexander world emphasise the need to understand the complexities of our physiology, and act on that understanding, if we are to have any hope of improving our use. That is, by knowing more about the way we should ideally function, we can somehow make it happen..

Given the obvious difficulty any dissension (of which there is plenty) in what constitutes ‘ideal functioning’ would cause in each of us individually trying to bring it about, it has always seemed to me there might be an Continue reading “Present Space and Thought Space”

Benefits from lessons

Two things I’ve read recently about the Technique have struck me. The first was the report by the British Medical Journal that:

“Six lessons followed by exercise were about 70% as effective as 24 lessons.”

The other was the claim by Alexander Teacher, Jeff Hall, that:

“We are selling benefits that exist so far up Maslow’s hierarchy of needs that there is a very limited number of people who will ever be attracted to it.”

In my view, the chief benefits of the Technique can be summed up as: Continue reading “Benefits from lessons”

Online revolution

The biggest opportunity I see opening up to us is devising a means of teaching the Technique online. I’ve already proved to myself there’s huge scope, just from email dialogue. I can’t imagine how well that could be enhanced, using Skype or its successors. If we can forget about hands on, there’s no obvious need to ever meet a student, in person. Would that be good or bad?

Well, if we can’t teach without using our hands, the main benefit from the online revolution is getting our Continue reading “Online revolution”


A comment I read recently:

“For two and a half days, every waking moment, I gave those directions–and I mean *every* waking moment–except when I was talking to someone, because I can’t give directions inside my head and talk at the same time.

I also added one:  “my neck to relax, so my whole head can move forward and up, my whole body can lengthen and widen and whatever I’m doing to cause that pain I can stop.”

In the middle of the 3rd day, I realized my back didn’t hurt any more.  And it never did again. Continue reading “Directing”

The use of the chair

I’ve just passed a couple of weeks in the presence of several adults and two young children. The adults spent most of their time lounging in various designs of chair, while pursuing a variety of ‘activities’ – reading, computing, talking, eating, drinking; occasionally, they would stand still, doing other activities – cooking, washing up, pontificating; sometimes, they walked about; occasionally, they ‘did’ an intense bout of something more active, like swimming or lawn mowing.

The children spent very little time either sitting or standing still. They did a fair amount of walking and Continue reading “The use of the chair”

Lessons and learning

My main quibble with the traditional approach to teaching the Alexander Technique, which is predominantly hands on, is the dependence it appears to foster in students, which can make for a lengthy and problematic learning process. At least, it did with me; although not everyone responds in this way.

My overriding impression from the initial course of lessons I had – and from subsequent ‘turns’ – was one of ‘being put right’. I don’t mean to imply I was handled roughly, or moved against my will, or anything like that; but I would say the Continue reading “Lessons and learning”


I’ve often wondered how to distinguish between ‘feeling things out’, an activity that bedevils Alexander enthusiasts, making them look, and probably feel, stiff and awkward, and ‘feeling the way to a better place’ which , I believe, represents the best available way of learning the Technique.

The danger is of confusing misguided attempts to recreate a kinesthetic experience directly with attempts to recreate the kinesthetic conditions which led to it. Both involve a kinesthetic appraisal of our current state, and both are motivated by the desire to change our use for the better; but whereas one tries to do this by emphasising the ‘good’, the other does it by Continue reading “Alexandroid”


In spring 2007, I went surfing. The weather was wild, the water was cold, and although it was exhilarating being thrown about in the waves, it was also chastening to feel so helpless pitting my relatively puny body against the churning tide.

At a certain point, turning one way but being propelled in the opposite direction by the sea, I felt a stab of pain in my left hip. I thought little of it then, though the next day I noticed a dragging sensation whenever I took a step. I shrugged this off as a minor injury, expecting it to settle down over time. Continue reading “THE USE OF THE HIPS”

Heads up

I recently visited India. Most of our time was spent in Goa, must of it on the beaches. Some were empty, others crowded. It was interesting to watch how differently people walked. Nationality seemed to have more of a bearing than age. There were a lot of hawkers, selling everything from fruit, to lengths of cloth, to jewelry. The fruit sellers carried large containers that must have weighed ten or more kilos on their heads. Many of the cloth sellers had their wares bundled up on their heads too. I even saw a couple of jewellery merchants whose small pouches were perched on their heads. Continue reading “Heads up”