Reading the Alexander Technique

51 reading pic2

How much do you read about the Alexander Technique?  a) Loads    b) A bit    c) Nothing at all

If you answered (a) – great, keep it up. If you answered (b) or (c), maybe you need to take a leaf out of Marj Barstow’s book.

Marj Barstow was the first person to qualify from the first ever teacher training course run by FM Alexander. By all accounts a wonderful teacher, she became, in later life, a very significant presence in the Alexander world. Recently, one of her students wrote this(*):-

Marj once told me that from the day she read Alexander’s book Constructive Conscious Control in the early 1920′s, not a day passed that she didn’t think about, and experiment with, his ideas. She read, and re-read, his books over and over again, particularly Use of the Self.

Why read and re-read?

  1.  to revise and refresh all those ideas you knew but had relegated to the back of your mind
  2.  to discover all the little things you missed when your teacher mentioned them in class
  3.  to discover ideas your teacher hadn’t mentioned and ask her awkward questions about them
  4.  to reach a standard you probably cannot reach without it

My students all get a little reading homework every week. It’s noticeable that those who read and re-read get better much faster than those who don’t.

You have a lot more resources than Marj did. The market is loaded with Alexander books. The internet is awash with blogs(**), which have the advantages of being free (and short). If that isn’t enough, you can always read what Marj read – FM Alexander’s own books:-

Man’s Supreme Inheritance
Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual
The Use of the Self
The Universal Constant in Living

They are a bit more challenging to read than the average blog. Ok, more challenging than any blog I’ve ever found. But very worthwhile.

(*) Robert Rickover:  www.bodylearningblog.com/marj-barstow-master-teacher-of-the-alexander-technique/   I recommend the whole blog, it gives a very interesting perspective on a fascinating lady.

(**) you can find a wonderful collection of every variety of Alexander blogs at http://www.alexandertechniqueblogs.com/

Image courtesy of Michelle Meiklejohn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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CNHC and ITM registered Alexander Technique teacher.

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Posted in experiment, learning, reading, Uncategorized
2 comments on “Reading the Alexander Technique
  1. Love this blog, Karen, and I completely agree! My students who read about the Technique in whatever form outside of lessons/classes make connections and deepen their understanding in ways that just doesn’t seem to happen with those who don’t do any reading. In January I started an “Alexander Technique Book Club” to encourage this. As well as reading they get a chance to discuss the books with me and the others in the group, which is an added benefit. It’s also a fun evening once a month!

  2. Jagadish.nv says:

    Hi karen,
    excellent blog by you.
    And reading FM books is great.
    How much alexander struggled, to prepare and make his NOTES (3 or 4 pages) of ‘use of the self evolution of the technique’ .

    Is that possible to give training to a pupil , by showing postural images, hanging skeletons?

    I think the above process is ‘ working on imaginary bodies’ .

    But, fm usually says working on our ‘physical bodies analysing the present conditions of use’ .

    I think mental, physical bodies prevention from misuse is necessary.

    Alexander notes, postural images, fm excercises, and alexander teachers notes, internet every thing helps to make this possible.
    Thanks for making remember FM books.

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