When I teach, I fly

48 when i teach pic1

I don’t usually talk about me in these blogs.  After all, you are Alexander students, not Karen Evans students.  This week is an exception.

I recently read a wonderful, moving article about Jenny Wilson-Best, a professional opera singer who still sings despite advanced MS(*).  She ends:-

My body is quite crippled now but I sing. With a single note you can express all emotion….anger, joy, confusion, love, bitterness, calm.  If you sing…you can fly.

I have ME(**) rather than MS.  I won’t die of it, but I have had it for 19 years.  While I am not crippled, for all that time I can’t sing.  I can’t do aerobics, tennis, or hill walking.  I can’t change the bed, or do the weekly shop.  I can’t walk as far as the end of my road and back.

But I can teach.

And for the half hour of the lesson, I can fly.  When I teach, my illness is not a problem.  In fact, in many ways it makes me a better teacher, because when a student says they are having problems with pain, or with moving, and their life is constricted, I really do understand.

But when I engage with a student at a level that really will change their life; when I take on the challenge of drawing out their own ideas without scaring them away, and of illuminating FM Alexander’s ideas in a way that makes sense, and gradually makes them realise what they are capable of – my own restrictions disappear.  Just for that little while, I fly.

I started learning the Alexander Technique to get more mileage out of the little energy I had available to me.  And it has been, and continues to be very successful in achieving that end.  I certainly couldn’t teach(***) without using the Technique in my own movements, constantly, every day.

I started teaching the Alexander Technique because it was interesting and I could fit it within my energy levels.  I didn’t expect it to give me wings.

 (*) you can read the full article here: http://www.littlesoprano.co.uk/post/46892058354/in-the-ls-spotlight     Jenny is holding a Gala concert in London on April 25th, to raise money for REVIVE MS Support.  Anyone fancying a great musical evening, details are in the article.
(**) now usually called CFS or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
(***) or cook, dress, drive into town or a lot of other things.

Image courtesy of James Barker / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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CNHC and ITM registered Alexander Technique teacher.

Tagged with: , , , ,
Posted in change, everyday life, feeling
5 comments on “When I teach, I fly
  1. samiggmik says:

    Oh Karen, I’m so sorry. I had no idea. I can sympathize as my niece has also had ME for years and her life is severely restricted. I myself have had rheumatoid arthritis for 28 years that a nasty drug keeps in check. Even so, my life is also restricted. I can’t study to be a masseuse – I’d love to but my hands hurt too much. I can shop and change the bed (carefully) but I suffer for it afterwards with painful hands, wrists, arms, shoulders. I absolutely can’t clean my windows or mop my kitchen floor. I don’t think I could live alone as I can’t get the top off or undo any damn thing! I can’t knead bread or even sometimes chop the vegetables for dinner. I had to give up my beloved kitchen gardening and my aquaerobics. I can’t play tennis. I need an automatic car with power-assisted steering. And a year ago I was diagnosed with diabetes – more restrictions.

    I’m so glad that you have found something that makes you fly! (I’m still looking, but I’ll find it). And I am so grateful for the things you taught me that help me to use my body better and less painfully. If it weren’t for my RA I probably wouldn’t have discovered the Alexander Technique. I would have really missed something great! And someONE great.

    I think I’ll suggest the Alexander Technique to my niece. Thankyou Karen.

  2. Hi Marian, sorry it’s taken me a while to reply. I tend not to talk about my condition much in lessons, because it’s such a big distraction from the student. Thank you so much for sharing your story. It does take such a big change of mental gears to adapt to such huge restrictions and still remain positive. Especially when it’s such ordinary things that are out of reach! Keep looking, I’m sure you will find something. Karen

  3. One of the things I love about my Alexander lessons is that my teacher uses it himself when teaching, and can convey his ease to me. That you have found a place of ease within yourself that gives you room to fly is a wonderful thing, and in the process be able to guide your students.

  4. Pat Young says:

    Great blog Karen Thankyou for sharing

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