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

Attending to Use in Cold Weather

walking in winter

by Claire Rechnitzer — Brrr, humbug… There’s no shortage of cold-weather self-care tips meant to keep us healthy and happy during the short, frigid days of winter – but what about self-use? I’m asking because as a self-acknowledged weather wimp, I know that cold weather has the potential for inducing habits of misuse that are often unconscious, certainly unhelpful, and potentially harmful.  Of course, some folks find the cold (especially in the form of snow) inviting and invigorating, but still, there’s a reason it’s called bracing weather…  Whether you’re walking the dog, waiting for a bus, shoveling the driveway – see if any of the following behaviors seem familiar. If you think they may be impacting your Use in a negative manner – consider attending to them with a little awareness, aka CCC (Constructive, Conscious Control*). Contracting: You know the look; retracting our heads into our necks, squeezing our armpits, hugging ourselves for dear life… It doesn’t actually make us any warmer, but it may put a crick in our … Continue reading

For those of you in the path of The Great Eastern Brood, a few tips for working and playing outdoors in the company of a billion cicadas from Cincinnati AT teacher Claire Rechnitzer

Alexander walking

Approaching Cicadas with Good Use I have always enjoyed teaching the Alexander Technique outdoors. It affords an opportunity to figure out good use* while walking, running, or just experiencing the great outdoors as our stimulus-du-jour. But now, just as being vaccinated has made me feel comfortable enough to resume in-person, hands-on teaching – we’re getting hit with another plague. Cicadas! A minor inconvenience compared to the coronavirus, but still – the imminent emergence of Brood X is not something I’m looking forward to. That said, I’m not about to let a billion or so bugs keep me indoors, so I looked for some advice online and found several tips, scattered amongst the numerous cicada-info sources. Here are some of the more sensible ones, along with my own AT spin for making the most of them.    Time your Excursions: Cicadas are most active when it’s sunny and warm. Plan to be out at dawn or dusk, and take advantage of cooler or overcast days. Who says avoidance can’t be a … Continue reading