About the Alexander Technique
The Alexander Technique is a practical method for replacing interference and tension with clarity and poise in movement and thought. By choosing to consciously coordinate between head and spine, we can change ourselves and cooperate more fully with our design, in any activity!
In 2013, I went from 10 violin students to 35 in a short amount of time, in addition to logging long hours on the computer and my road bike. I developed a nagging pain in my right wrist that developed into chronic overuse pain in my neck and shoulder. I tried a massage and physical therapy, but my health insurance denied further coverage after six visits, saying that they didn't cover chronic conditions. That probably didn't help things, as I needed a lot more body work later on. However, in the meantime, I decided to take an Alexander Technique class, something I'd been interested in for quite some time. In order to make the 7:00 PM class, I had to re-arrange my evening work schedule, but it turned out to be worth it!
In my first lesson with Catherine Kettrick and David Mills, they handed me a small metal spring and asked me to hold it. "What happens when you push down on the spring? What do you notice? What happens if you stop pushing?" This simple illustration was, of course, a metaphor for the spine. "Who's doing the pushing, or pulling down, on your spine?" As I played with the spring and considered this idea, I felt a sudden lightness. The other students in the class told me I had just gotten an inch taller!
...That day remains one of the most important days of my life. When we got better health insurance, I got the medical help I needed with some great providers and changed my movement and thinking patterns with Alexander Technique. I have attended class every week whenever possible with Catherine, David, and Cathy Madden, all located right here in NE Seattle. Physical therapy helped heal my symptoms, but Alexander Technique created lasting change.
I've learned so much. Here's a tiny bit: The most important joint in our body is at the top of the spine, where your head and spine meet. Do you know where that is? Most people don't! Put your fingers in your ears and nod delicately. It's way up there, inside your head, between your ears. That joint only nods. When the head and spine are in a fluid, easy relationship, this joint moves nicely and our movements are well coordinated. However, when we interfere between head and spine--and, over a lifetime, many of us do for various reasons, stiffness and stress can result. The Alexander Technique is a simple, yet powerful, tool for replacing interference and tension with freedom and choice. It's an educational method that involves using a constructive thought process to gently override old patterns and allow our system to reboot itself. It's not a medical treatment, though it applies well to physical therapy. It allows us to fully realize our potential!
In an Alexander Technique lesson or workshop, my role is to give you information and skills so that you can be empowered to change yourself. You'll learn this and some other basics about the Technique, then engage in some experiments and activities that help you think and move in a new way. Alexander Technique teachers use their hands very lightly to gently guide you and illustrate what they mean. If you are a musician or artist, you can start applying the Technique to your work right away. It's a skill for life, a simple idea that you can expand upon for a lifetime.
I am now completing the long process of becoming a certified Alexander Technique teacher. Currently I'm doing supervised teaching, in which I film short lessons then review and study them with help from my mentors. If you'd like to be a student for my practice teaching, please contact me. Lessons are free of charge until I'm done with my certification process, and I'd like to teach someone more than once and film the lessons so I can study them. I've given workshops for my violin teaching colleagues' students, and hope to do this in the near future.