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More than a Buzz Word

The idea of developing a personal Alexander Technique practice has been a goal for many months, though it’s not actually becoming reality. I generally use the excuse that I’m doing AT for several hours every day already. Time is definitely an issue, but body aches also factor in. I spend a lot of the day moving.

We’re exploring a new movement procedure in class that my body can’t readily figure out: squats. It’s not the bent-knee scissors shaped move (one leg steps forward or back for building leg strength), but the folded-leg, dropped position more common in countries that without a strong chair culture, where people often work closer to the floor. At any rate, my body really doesn’t know how to do them. When I told my teacher of my determination to succeed (a very un-Alexander Technique end gaining quality), she told me to be patient because this training course is just the beginning. Once I’ve graduated, I’ll have more time to practice moves—as well as more need, as I encounter movement glitches in the course of daily life.

All of that is well and good, but my impatience sometimes gets the best of me. In trying to be present in the current moment’s work, I guess I should remind myself that I have the rest of my life to practice. Yep . . . life-long learning.

This week I scheduled my second and third practice students, which is wonderful, but now I have to be ready to teach them. And so the reading and video watching begin. One lesson will be online, and that’s a whole different world!

Friends often ask me who benefits from the Alexander Technique. The short answer is: people in pain. But the long answer is much more complicated. AT teachers work with athletes who want to prevent injuries, instrumental musicians who have pain or injuries from playing, vocalists with pain or muscle issues, people with back/shoulder/arm/hand/

leg/knee/foot issues from working all day in a chair, and the list goes on. There’s a large group of teachers in the Poise Project who work with Parkinson’s Disease, therapists who use AT in mental health counseling, and physical/ therapists who use AT to teach their patients how to use the body to avoid a repeat injury and use the body more efficiently. What I’m learning is that everyone who moves can benefit from thinking about how to move better.

From the teacher's perspective each situation requires some knowledge. There’s research on how AT can help with common movements, with the depression/anxiety cycle, and with issues plaguing athletes, musicians, and actors or other professional speakers. As a teacher with limited experience, digging into this material is helpful for learning what the student already knows and for answering student questions in lessons. So this week I’ve studied how to accept payments online and set up Skype (which has no time limit like the more ubiquitous Zoom), what the Body Mapping curriculum offers, and where leg and arm muscles insert. It's becoming increasingly clear that my teaching in the future will never be boring. More life-long learning!

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