This guest blog from Daniel tells how he went from taking lessons with me to embarking on a full Alexander Technique teacher training course. Naturally I recommended my old teacher training school and it's wonderful to hear how much he's getting out of it and how much it echoes my own experience of training to be a teacher.
I’m coming to the end of my first term at Alexander school and I thought it would be interesting to share my thoughts and feelings on the Alexander Technique with the wider world. Ok. Perhaps I just like the sound of my own voice, but please humor me for a few hundred words.
I came to the Technique, as have many before me, as a last resort after failing miserably to solve my back problems. I discovered Adrian Farrell online and had a few lessons a week with him for the best part of a year. Under Adrian’s tutelage I began to notice marked improvements in my freedom of movement and I made the shocking realisation that my back problems were not back problems, but mind problems (or should that be mind/body? I can hear Adrian cursing from here). I also realised that to make a full recovery I would need more intensive training so I made the bold decision to leave my job and join the Alexander Teacher Training School in Mayfair from April of this year. Many people have asked me whether I shopped around; I didn’t. I went along to a couple of open mornings and fell in love with the atmosphere of you can do no wrong here. Being a perfectionist, this aspect of the school particularly appealed!
So, here we are, seven weeks in and I’ve already come to a rather mind-bending conclusion; while I thought I was fixing my back, I’m actually mending my soul. I’ll write a few filler sentences here to give those of you who have just involuntarily spat their coffee over their laptops a chance to find some tissues. I’m serious. Although, I’ve also been told that this work is too important to be taken seriously. And before you write me off as a crank, I should warn you that I have two science degrees. I do believe in horoscopes, but please keep that to yourself.
Ok. I trust you have recovered your equanimity, dear reader. In which case, I shall proceed. Before starting at Alexander school, I was under much stress - a divorce, a job I hated, a bereavement, moving home, claiming benefits, becoming self-employed, yada yada yada. With hindsight, I am beginning to see what a basket case I had become and how I had spent a very long time suppressing my anger, fear, and sorrow. I am convinced that doing so contributed significantly to the involuntary compression of the right side of my body and my subsequent back and mobility issues. Being at Alexander school has helped me immensely to begin to feel those suppressed emotions and to come to terms with them slowly, gently and humanely.
I see my daily Alexander practice as therapy, pure and simple. I turn up, I share my personal life with my classmates, we support each other unconditionally and I get to receive the reassuring touch of a fellow human being who is as equally vulnerable and fallible as myself. At Alexander school, I get to be myself - finally. I get to accept myself in my entirety - finally.
My back issues have improved greatly since April. I am relearning how to be at peace with myself and how not to overreact to stimuli. In this mental state of being back, my body and mind are being given the experience of moving without habitual patterns kicking in. But, this is just nuts and bolts. The more I learn of the Alexander Technique, the more I realise it is not about words, or MacDonalds, or Carringtons, or head forward and up; it is about connecting with another human being and giving them a safe place to be themselves from which they can heal, grow and flourish. A dictionary definition of flourish is “(of a living organism) grow or develop in a healthy or vigorous way, especially as the result of a particularly congenial environment”. This is, for me, the true essence of the Alexander Technique. And what a privilege it is to be learning how to teach it.
Before Daniel started his Alexander Technique teacher training we recorded this short video about his experience of taking lessons.
Please feel free to contact me for a no obligation chat to see how the Alexander Technique can help you too.