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Thursday, September 28, 2006

What Attracted Me to Alexander Technique

I'm thinking back at what attracted me to Alexander Technique...a really loooong time ago, in 1976. Strangely enough, it wasn't to improve my terrible twisted posture, which was a very, very depressing sight.

I wasn't thinking about my posture when I got to know this guy as boyfriend material at 23 who was studying AT. I got to know him because I thought easy posture meant he could experience changes of consciousness. It's true he moved much lighter and easier than me. I can still remember how he would reach up to smooth away the crink in my forehead that I didn't realize I was doing to myself. For not having that line in my forehead at fifty, I feel gratitude toward him often.

What convinced me to do AT and made it fun was the attraction of being able to change my own consciousness. AT didn't use the coersion of will to affect change, but something else mysteriously indirect that made my analytic ego attachments go away and my sense of wholeness return. The all-points-awareness experiences were very exciting. Sometimes I'd have a creative flash of insight. My perceptual sensitivity woke up, along with the awareness of my body. My motives to keep learning were now driven by having a way to address a split I saw between my intention and how I mostly floundered to bring about change. Later, I realized my whole body was a lot happier too. I wasn't getting worse and more limited as I got older, but easier, freer. My body unwound, as did my worries.

As I applied the Alexander Technique to learning to sing and continued to ask questions, it gave me a significant insight about why I kept half my throat was closed. I knew that when I was a baby, I had a birth defect; my ear gristle grew unattached and got cropped off by rubber banding, (in the 1950's doctors thought this was preferable to holding down a squirming child and cutting it off.) This choice of treatment trained me as a baby to tense up the side of my neck - which I kept doing once trained. It affected how I learned to walk as a toddler because I unknowingly kept it tense. Everything was fine as a child, but all hell broke loose when my hips became one piece in my late teens at 17. No doctor could tell me why; I had to seek out a third opinion before I could even find a doctor in that era who would admit nobody knew why!

All this came clear when I talked to someone else who had the same banding-to-crop done to their ear when they were a baby and told me they had found it it was the cause of many back, neck and hip problems for people that showed up in their late teens. My tourqued posture actually stopped bloodflow to my femur at my knee and caused the bone to crumble - and surgery didn't help. I still had the limp at 23 until I began to study Alexander Technique. If I hadn't stumbled onto Alexander Technique, I have no doubt that by now I would have had to have my knees replaced before my forties!

I've assummed that what motivated me to continue learning AT, probably wouldn't motivate others, because my experience was so unique...but maybe that's an erroneous assumption.

Sometimes a person doesn't know what they have to gain from a course of action until they do it and find out for themselves what they could get from it. Especially when the course of action involves loss. When you are giving up something, you know what you are giving up, but what you may have to gain is only a promise that involves a conviction of faith. Often, you can't have both, because you can't go in two directions at once. I have experienced that leaping into the unknown is a complete willingness to go for broke.


  1. Wow-a very interesting blog that I will most definitely take the time to read more closely later when I have a bit more time (as opposed to dashing off to work, as I am now!) Thank you so much for visiting my blog, Franis, and for introducing me to yours!

  2. you're welcome! I'm always interested in whatever someone else has to say about what I've written - so come back and blab!