Nicholas Brockbank, Alexander Teacher:
When we consider what we pay attention to, from the minutiae of our daily lives to the big picture of the world around us, it is extraordinary how much we take for granted the continued smooth running of our bodies and minds, on which all else depends. The work we do; the food we eat; the attitudes we have; all contribute to, or detract from, our health. But our primary influence – the way we do what we do – remains outside most peoples’ awareness and control. This is what the Alexander Technique seeks to address. (This is part of a blog that Nicholas wrote “What did Alexander Discover – And why is it Important?” at http://www.alexandertechnique.com)
Anna Lisa Taylor:
I had a riding accident in 2010 which left me with a broken neck. In spite of surgery, physiotherapy and exercises, I was still had a painful shoulder and restricted mobility and little strength in my right arm. I met James through his choir, and he suggested that I should come for AlexanderTechnique lessons to see if we could improve my situation.
James Butler was wonderful. Patient, thoughtful and wise, he listened and assessed and introduced me to the Alexander Technique, and we have done a lot of work together. I learned that it was not just my arm, but my whole self that needed to be re-educated, and that’s what we have done and I have learned a huge amount.
Not only did I regain my mobility and strength but I began to understand about the referred aches and pains due to bad alignment and as a result the general use of myself has improved beyond measure. I now continue with regular Alexander sessions as there can always be further change in body and mindset. I now move with better balance, with more lift and assurance and others can see this too: the benefits of mindful movement have been wide ranging: I play tennis often, I ride most days and ski in the season.
Michael Gelb, Academic author of 12 books, speaker and organisational consultant:
“A brain can improve at really any age. The issue is not ‘do we have capacity?’ The issue is that we get stuck in limiting habits. We do the same neuro-muscular patterns over and over again, as we do the same movements …
Rachel Stirling, Actor:
“The Technique in the hands of my teacher has put me back in touch with my body. I have a heightened awareness of my physicality as a result and and perhaps a greater enjoyment of it too”.
Alan Rickman (1946 – 2016) Actor:
“With the best intentions, the job of acting can become a display of accumulated bad habits, trapped instincts and blocked energies. Working with the Alexander Technique to untangle the wires has given me sightings of another way … Mind and body, work and life together. Real imaginative freedom …”
Roald Dahl (1916 – 1990) writer:
“The Alexander Technique works. I recommend it enthusiastically for anyone who has neck paid or back pain. My work plan is simple … the great thing is, of course, never to work too long at a stretch”.
Ronald Searle (1920 – 2011) Artist and Cartoonist, of whom Monika Koenig wrote “Great common sense and a wonderfully, insanely wild mixture of solemnity and lightness”. In turn, Searle wrote on the back of a cartoon he drew for FM Alexander: “What doesn’t matter is very visible. The Alexander effect still working?”
Ralph Fiennes, Actor:
“The Alexander Technique has been taught for many years at RADA. In the hands of a good teacher, the Technique is invaluable to anyone who seeks to maintain healthy physical posture and alignment”
Stephanie Dutton, Swimmer:
“Swimming, when you apply the principles of the Alexander Technique becomes effortless, graceful, fluid and powerful. Being in the water is about enjoying and exploring movement in a continuing flow of graceful, unforced strokes – every part of the body seems to be an extension of another part and nothing is hurried or rushed.”
Malcolm Balk, Runner and Cellist:
“The Alexander Technique is portable … and it ages well. I noticed how much effort I put into everything I did and realised that trying harder just made it worse”.
Joan Bakewell, Broadcaster and writer:
“The Alexander Technique makes a real difference to my often tense and busy life. Its thoughtful approach has made me calmer, improved my concentration and given me a clearer sense of my own well being. I am grateful for it”
James Linsey, concert pianist:
“I found the Alexander sessions to be pleasant but frustrating. My desire to be cured, to be functioning again was hardly touched upon … I could see its relevance to my work, once I was again experiencing a body that was performing well”
Dorothea Magonet, Artist and Alexander teacher:
“We think we know our bodies, but we don’t. The Alexander Technique introduces us to that ‘not knowing’ about ourselves and the possibility of a new kind of knowing … simple things that improve my life”
Anna Lisa Taylor:
When I came to James for lessons on a completely unrelated matter, I noticed his music keyboard, and we started to practice notes, as part of an exercise in breathing. “But” I protested, “I am tone deaf” and sure enough when James played a note, I could not sing it accurately. I remember it clearly – “Three Blind Mice”. But over time, I managed to overcome that, discovering that by inhibiting my usual tense reaction to the very thought of singing, and substituting a new thought, I could come up with the right note most of the time. It’s still difficult, because the old habit dies hard. But now I really love singing in a community choir, and in 2016 I took part in a choral workshop of Brahms Requiem at Shaldon Festival – and just recently I sang my first solo in front of an audience – Yay!
Would you like to discover what the Alexander Technique can do for you?
Sign up to my email list on the form opposite, so that I can be in touch to tell you about the ExpandingSelf teaching programme – I look forward to working with you 🙂