Daniel's Story

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.


Describe your background and what brought you to the Alexander Technique 


I am an energy manager, so that means working a lot with computers hunched over a desk,

not a very healthy lifestyle. I don't do as much exercise as I should, and about 10 years ago I thought it was a bright idea to dive into a river for fun and ended up injuring my back , and I've had back problems since then. So, they they got a lot worse a couple of years ago and I eventually went through various routes chiropractors, et cetera,  found my way to the Alexander Technique, and it's been great.


What were the main benefits of taking out all the lessons?


I think it made me feel a lot less stressed, for one thing, and it also showed me that I could

actually move normally again. I thought perhaps I had something permanently wrong with my back, or something, and I was kind of looking at the Alexander Technique as a temporary remedy, but it actually showed me there wasn't something physically wrong with my back, I'd just learned bad movement patterns and by then the Alexander Technique showed me how to relearn to move.


Were there any unexpected benefits?


Yeah, absolutely! I wasn't expecting to get the sense of calm the Alexander Technique gives me. It's really reduced a lot of my stress, and I wasn't expecting to get this kind of confidence boost that it's given me, because I think when you've had an injury for a very long time, it does dent your confidence, you don't feel able-bodied, so to speak, and learning that I could correct those problems. So that's really boosted my confidence and made me feel a lot better. 


How would you describe the Alexander Technique to others in your own words?


I would say it's not really like physical exercise, per se, more like mental exercise, so you're kind of training yourself to be much more Zen, for want of a better word, much more calm, and not to interfere with how your body naturally moves and functions. So it's like meditating standing up, meditation in motion.


Would you recommend the Alexander Technique to others?



Oh, without a doubt yes! I would say even if you don't have any specific health issues, if you want to reduce stress a bit, and just learn how to move more freely and easily, be more relaxed, yeah absolutely, give it a try.

Please feel free to contact me for a no obligation chat to see how the Alexander Technique can help you too.

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