The Power of How: A journal about The Alexander Technique and Movement

Movement Research Workshop notes: 4/3/13

Hello Everyone!

Iʻd like to share the form the first Alexander Technique workshop in April took:

First, we spent a little time learning about each otherʻs background. Then, we spent about 45 minutes taking a sensory journey through the whole body, starting with the soles, sides, and tops of our feet, journeying through each separate part of our bodies, and ending with our heads. The purpose of this journey was to investigate the sensory side, as opposed to the motor side, of our nervous system. Though we were moving in order stimulate sensation to the skin of these parts of our bodies – sensing contact with the floor, or our clothes, or the air, it was primarily to experience the sensation of the skin itself, rather than to “make movement.” Sensory fibers and motor fibers are two different parts of our nervous system.

This was very refreshing for everyone! Dancers reported feeling tingly all over and much more “present” than before.

Then, we spent the rest of the time learning about the first two cranial nerves, C1 (which receives sensory information from our olfactory organs/smell, and controls head nodding) and C2 (which receives sensory information from the back of the eye, and controls head turning).

Each student made their own explorations of these senses and actions, and then I gave them some hands on guidance in the act of walking, crawling, and folding into a “fetal” shape, in each instance encouraging the free balance of the head as it is supported by a lengthening spine.

NEXT WEEK: we will investigate the lengthening spine.


April 4th, 2013 • 3 Comments


Clare Maxwell: Waves and Spirals

Alexander Technique based movement exploration

 Wednesdays 12:30 – 2 pm, April 3 – April 24 Cost: $14 per class                              

Edens Expressway, 537 Broadway at Spring Street 




Workshop Description:

Alexander Technique looks at the way we carry out our intentions. Often we use a process that is habitual, unconscious and counterproductive. The technique offers a simple practice that provides a framework within which to observe and let go of patterns of use that hold us back from moving freely. Clare is interested in using the Alexander process to discover deep underlying patterns of movement that are present in every dance form. Class will build on her work with developmental movement in particular, especially forms of wavelike motion (as in the wave-like curves of the spine) and the spiraling motion inherent in our muscular design.


March 27th, 2013 • No Comments


“What can I do to help myself?” This is the most common question that students bring to a lesson with me. Most people come with a problem to solve, or a pain to get rid of. And my answer is always, in some form, as follows: seek a pain-free pathway for the most simple movements of life. If you can find it, follow it as far as you can into action. Make this a daily practice and you will find your way to what you desire most – whatever your passion is. If you donʻt have pain – just stress or discomfort – the work is the same – just without the pain! Itʻs about learning to make use of sensations that many of us ignore until the pain kicks in.

Thatʻs what the Alexander Technique is about. Thatʻs what an Alexander Teacher can help you learn. The daily practice of finding your way to what you desire most – without causing yourself injury, pain, stress, to get it. By studying the basic building blocks of movement (like walking, sitting, and standing), we can see our whole self and change what is not working in how we think, how we move as a whole in relation to gravity.

Over the next few months, Iʻm going to tell a series of stories about a series of physical injuries, the resulting pain I felt, and the pathway I found out of the pain. In every instance, there were people to help me with the initial phase of treatment: recognition of the injury came from PAIN, which led to a doctor, receiving a diagnosis of some kind, and then either surgery followed by “physical therapy,” or just “physical therapy.” Then, after that – the rest was up to me! And “the rest” is the most important part. In almost every case, I was told that I would not heal or function normally again. In almost every case (but not all, and thatʻs an important part of the story), this turned out NOT TO BE TRUE. In every case, I enlisted the help of what I now know were very fine Alexander Technique teachers, and in each case I saw how what had led to the injury stemmed from how I was living my whole life. And in each instance I had to change myself – my attitudes, my ways of being, my way of moving, my way of thinking about my moving.

Iʻm not going to gloss over the fact that this is work. But to me, itʻs the work of life, itʻs what life is about, and I LOVE IT.

Here is a list of injuries that I have healed from completely – the initial injury site no longer bothers me at all:

– sprained ankles

– sprained knees

– damaged knee caps (well, maybe a little…..but not much)

– tindinitis in elbows, wrists, and hands

– ganglion cysts

– bursitis in shoulder

Stay tuned for more stories! In the meantime, here is a video of a beloved Alexander teacher, Elisabeth Walker, working on a simple lunge with a young man. Itʻs actually one of the most complex movements, according to his students, that Mr. Alexander liked to work with….but donʻt be deceived. You can imagine that doing anything else AFTER practicing a lunge this way would feel light and easy. If you were feeling crappy or crabby before, you probably wouldnʻt be able to continue feeling crappy afterwards. [youtube=]

March 19th, 2013 • No Comments