Inspire us!

This page is for your own uplifting ideas, stories, anecdotes, or experiences related to the Alexander Technique.  Share things you've learned that have been especially helpful to you here...little tidbits that someone else might be able to make good use of.

I'll start off with a couple of my own, to get you started!

This is also a place where you are welcome to give me ideas for how I can improve this blog, always keeping in mind that I'd like to keep it simple and practical.  What would you like to see here--or not see?  How can I make it more useful to more people?


  1. I was so inspired by my 11-year old student yesterday. I asked him to become aware of the things he is in contact with (expecting him to say the chair, the floor, etc.), and he proceeded to introduce me to the atoms named Bob, Mary, etc., all with a mischievous grin on his face! It was just common sense to him that we are in very real contact with Infinitude all the time!

  2. On giving direction concerned with using negative or positive framing of the words, "do not let the neck shorten while standing,....etc."
    Here is a third approach which I developed as an AT teacher at Esalen in 2004. Ir continues to produce a useful result.
    By framing the action of lengthening the neck with a common action which occurs in nature such as a turtle who is sticking his neck out of his shell versus the turtle who draws his neck into the shell ( which denotes shortening) and firstly by giving such a demonstration of my own neck as the example, gives the student an observable experience and language upon which to frame the problem that is objective, universal and NOT personal. And it provides an imitative example that can be found by anyone in nature.
    From then on, I simply need to mention the turtle out of the shell and the client can make some directional adjustments without my touch. Over time a more and more exactness is honed in but the basis is established. I even draw the turtles neck with a spring on it denoting the springability and looseness that we are striving for.

    Conversely if I talk about lengthening the body, give no example of my own body, and frame it within the context of "the neck must lengthen" all the while making subtle adjustments to a neck that has only known stiffer, perhaps more shortened postures since early childhood, the student dialogues it within this frame, "I have a neck, it needs to lengthen while I do things. (stand, sit, etc.)" What lies below the surface is that the I which has a neck is also the "I" that needs to do things perfect and constantly compares the actions of the "I" with perfection. Which leads to self-judging and the impulse of shortening.

    In this image based approach I have the client actually look at a line drawing or a picture of the turtle in both positions. By creating such a framework around the use of image rather than around the "pronoun", the "I" ,whose body needs to lengthen, there is not all the negative self judgement.

    Generally speaking, ones use of the pronoun to retrain ones' performance can be extenguished and replaced with the invitation to imitated nature and the imitating brain rather than the analytical judging brain is called to sequester the action, free of judgement.

    The obstacle of thinking we're seperate, by extension, to judge ourself against a perfect performance, by extension to coil and shorten at the slightest hint of not feeling the same lightness that the teachers brings about causes the process to become hindered.
    By using images the true brain, the prefrontal cortex is activated, and it works by imitation, not by judgement thereby producing internal communication in the brain to lengthen but not to judge!! It is the thoughts of seperation that send the child from it's inheritance in the first place. The use of images makes for a far less self judging student.

  3. Thank you, falcon, for posting this! I heartily agree with you that impersonal (even non-human) images to keep in mind can be very helpful in teaching. We can learn so much from nature. And yes, thoughts of separation are indeed insidious and hinder our growth, as does self-judgment. Thank you very much for your inspiring contribution!


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