What We’re Talking About When We Talk About Use

The Alexander Technique is the teaching that imparts the meaning of the use of the self. Ron Dennis Alexander Revisited The Use of the Self is the title of F. M. Alexander’s third book and essentially, that is what the technique is all about. Not the book per se, but rather the idea of using one’s self. How, we ask, can we use our very selves efficiently and effectively? Understanding the idea of self-use is key to learning how to stop misusing one’s self, which Alexander maintained is a prerequisite to doing any-and-everything if one wants to avoid, or at least mitigate, misuse-induced physical, mental and emotional wear-and-tear and, potentially, reach new heights of achievement. When introducing the Alexander Technique to people, I tend to start by explaining what we Alexander teachers mean when we use the term ‘self-use’ because to us, it is a concept – and not as self-explanatory as it may seem. I find it can be helpful to compare the idea of self-use to the idea of … Continue reading

New Class: Om’ Style Pilates at Elemental Om by Kristen Fryer

Over the past couple of years I have wanted to combine the fundamentals of Pilates and The Alexander Technique into a movement class. What I have come to realize as a teacher is that I can never copy someone else’s teaching style without leaving some of my own knowledge out. As much as I like a pure Pilates class or a straight Alexander lesson, I feel incomplete as a teacher without combining the two. These two modalities are so much a part of me that to separate them feels inauthentic. The new class “Om’ Style Pilates” brings The Alexander Technique and Pilates to life in a yoga environment. So, what can you gain from this class? Judging from the feedback I’ve received, a lot. Firstly, we incorporate fundamental Alexander principles that I have only seen taught by Alexander teachers. Mainly, how to stop doing movements that are undesirable. Becoming aware of how you over use your muscles before engaging them in a workout. This is a unique approach that is … Continue reading

“Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges”; A Book Review by Diana McCullough

Amy Cuddy splashed onto the popular culture scene in 2012 when she was featured as a TED Talk lecturer. A Harvard Business School professor and psychologist, Cuddy advocates changing the way we use our bodies, which in turn changes the way we are thinking, feeling, and acting. With Harvard colleagues, Cuddy designed a series of experiments to answer this question: If nonverbal expressions of power are hardwired, and our emotions are as much a result as they are a cause of our physical expressions, then what would happen if we adopt expansive postures even when we are feeling powerless? Results from their first experiment suggested that, indeed, the body shapes the mind. Changes to a subsequent experiment measured not only the subjects’ self-reported feelings and willingness to take risks, but also measured hormonal changes. Subjects employing a Power Pose (feet apart, hands on hips, head up, eye gaze out) had increased testosterone (the assertiveness hormone), while cortisol (the stress hormone) decreased. Decades ago Frederick Matthias Alexander pre-figured Cuddy’s present day … Continue reading