Beverly Sky | Brickbottom Artists
The Promise of Enlightenment: Transcendence, Fabric Collage, 24 x 48, 2006  
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"Change involves carrying out an activity against the habit of life."
              __F.M. Alexander

You work at a computer and after a few hours your back is hurting and your arm feels numb. You are an actor and when you perform on stage, your voice wavers and you have difficulty remembering your lines. You are a musician and after practicing for an hour your body is tense and you feel pain in your arms. You have been playing tennis or golf for several years and yet your game doesn't seem to improve. You are the parent of a young child and by the end of the day your back is in spasm from lifting and carrying your baby.

These are just a few examples of the ways our muscular habits shape our daily lives. At exactly the times when most freedom of movement is needed, we create tension in our bodies to get us through the activity. This tension interferes with healthy mental and physical functioning. Our negative habitual responses to the stimuli of our lives, leads to poor use of our bodies often resulting in pain.

Ten years of careful self-observation by F. Mathias Alexander (1869-1955) led to the discoveries that became the cornerstone of the Alexander Technique. Simply defined as "Neuromuscular re-education."

While attempting to solve the vocal problems that were ruining his career as a Shakespearean actor, Alexander discovered that he was creating a pattern of tension that was interfering with the correct relationship between his head, neck and back. Alexander Technique teachers have been demonstrating empirically over the past eighty years how one can change this pattern of tension and establish in its place, greater calm and poise in motion.

"Many types of under performance and ailments, both mental and physical, can be alleviated... by teaching the body musculature to function differently."
              __Nikolaas Tinbergen, Scientist discussing the Alexander Technique in his Nobel Prize acceptance speech.

We are so accustomed to the tension we carry with us throughout our day, that, unless we are in pain, we rarely notice it. Yet this tension has a powerful impact on every goal we set out to accomplish. Our internal feedback system, or kinesthetic sense is no longer reliable, making it very difficult to change habitual postural or movement patterns on our own.

The Alexander Technique helps one to use the appropriate amount of effort for a particular activity, freeing up more energy for other activities. In the process, your kinesthetic sense becomes a more accurate guide for participating in new activities with greater ease, freedom and control.

The Technique is taught in private, forty minute lessons. It is not a series of treatments or excersizes. Dressed in comfortable clothing, the student is guided through a series of simple movements by the teacher. Even with a teacher's hands-on guidance, the muscular habits a student brings to a lesson can be resistant to change. Therefore, in the beginning, most lessons take place on a table with the student in a reclining position in order to avoid some of the habitual movement interference that often manifests itself while we are performing even the simplest of tasks. The basic movements of sitting, standing, walking are explored in depth using Alexander's dictum "Allow my neck to be free, so that my back can lengthen and widen and my head can go forward and up."

The Alexander Technique has been taught in a wide variety of academic and institutional settings. In the performing arts, the Technique has been taught at the American Dance Festival, American Conservatory Theater, Julliard School of Music and Dance, London Academy and dozens of other performing centers and training schools around the world.

I am certified by the North American Society of Teachers of The Alexander Technique (NASTAT) I have been teaching the Technique since 1989.

For references and further information and to set up an appointment, please contact me.

 

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