...where I post interesting news items, interviews, video clips, and other tidbits related to the Alexander Technique and/or showing off the human organism, in all its capacities, imagination, and ingenuity. Enjoy!
Check out this little game (it's actually an iPhone app but you can also use this online version) - it'll really make you appreciate the ingenuity of how we are designed to walk and live upright. Give it a try!
The Alexander Technique is all about getting out of the way and letting our natural postural responses work as they're supposed to. This game mimics in an extreme way what happens if we try to 'interfere' with this functioning.
I'm a big fan of Cape Breton music- I love the pulse and the swing, not
to mention the rockin' fiddling and piano playing that make it so
uplifting. But as with all strong emotions, all that exuberance gets
translated and transmitted by different individuals in very different
ways. In the following video, we can see the embodiment of this (what
Alexander termed in his books the "universal constant in living") in
the stark physical differences between two individuals performing
together. While one gets successively more and more tense and
"pulled-down" as the song progresses, the other remains light and
graceful, yet still retaining all the fire and drive he had at the
beginning. What a pleasure to watch and to listen to talented
musicians (the instrument swapping here is pretty unbelievable) when
this is coupled with such an exquisite ease of coordination (what in
Alexander-terms is called "use"). Enjoy!
Maybe you've heard about the possibility of a link between Lionel Logue-- the speech therapist who aided King George VI to overcome his stammer, as featured in the recently released film The King's Speech
-- and Frederick Mathias Alexander, creator of the Alexander Technique. More information regarding the relationship between these two men will certainly be revealed in the years and months to come, but the following article, recently published in the Limerick Post, unveils some striking historical details of the circumstances that led to their meeting. Not only did Logue apparently actively seek out Alexander in order to study with him, but both came from families with Irish roots who emmigrated to Australia in the 19th century! Read more here...http://www.limerickpost.ie/index.php/navigation-mainmenu-30/local-news/2713-marys-limerick-link-to-the-kings-speech.html
Take a look at this impressive --and so far quite successful-- attempt to market the Alexander Technique...
A major part of the Alexander Technique consists of so-called "directing" - giving yourself verbal messages. For me this is an essential part of the technique, as it allows such an efficient way to direct thinking constructively and bring it to bear on how we use ourselves in everyday activity. No matter what emotional state you are in, you can always think "I want to allow my neck to be free." Those adept at meditation have long known that fundamental changes in our capacity for self-control can be brought about by persistently channeling thinking in constructive ways. Indeed, FM Alexander himself stresses this in The Use of the Self, when he writes that the experience he gained in giving the directions repeatedly over very long periods of time "proved of great value when the time came for me to consider how to put them into practice." (Ch 1 - Evolution of a Technique, p. 41)Now, there is mainstream scientific evidence for the benefits of engaging the mind in a constructive and conscious inner dialogue. A new study by PhD Candidate Andrea Tullett and Associate Psychology Professor Michael Inzlicht at the University of Toronto Scarborough has shown that "talking to yourself might not be a bad thing..." See link below:http://scienceblog.com/38803/inner-voice-plays-role-in-self-control/
Just sit back and enjoy watching Phil and Kie dance over the London skyline... (what they do goes by the name of "parkour," by the way)
A very interesting recent podcast interview by Robert Rickover, with Dr. Theodore Steinman of Harvard Medical School:
Their conversation shows the possibilities for the Alexander technique to fill a much needed role in the area of chronic pain management. Since the publishing of a British Medical Journal study in 2008 (Paul Little et al.), which demonstrated the benefits of using the Alexander Technique to improve the treatment of chronic back pain, the technique has gained significant recognition in medical circles. Together Rickover and Steinman explore the potential clinical as well political and economic benefits to be offered by integrating the technique into standard medical care practices. Dr. Steinman's "inside perspective" also allows us unique insight into the motivations and pressures guiding the modern medical practitioner.
Related to this is another interview that Rickover has made with Dr. Paul Little, MD, the lead author of the BMJ study:
Here are some links to various articles published over the last few years on the BMJ study:
I really love this little video that San Diego-based teacher Eileen Troberman has put together about how we can use to better advantage our wonderful feet. Not only does she do a marvelous job of exploring the many facets of the functionality of this incredible weight-bearing apparatus, but the setting couldn't be more inviting! Birds tweeting in the background, crows cawing, one can almost feel the soft southern Californian breeze coursing over and in and around our majestic toes... a great summer blockbuster!
What she says about the arching that naturally goes on as we roll forward onto our last phalanges reminds me of a recent trip to the Galerie de Paleontologie in Jardin de Plantes in Paris.
Looking at all those bird and dinosaur skeletons, with their ankle joints suspended permanently far above their last phalanges, reminds one that we should be glad to have the possibility of letting our heels take their share of the weight. Even Victoria Beckham would get tired walking around like that all day, with our without her heels!
Modern gym-goers could do well to learn a thing or two about moving gracefully from this man.
...from the film Royal Wedding (1951)
Check out the younger Fred with his sister Adèle, working together in a vaudeville act ca. 1906: