Weekly Group Plans, Well-being and the Alexander Technique

Moving mindfully

This week we are going to take some time to consider what the founder of our work called the ‘primary control’ and which others refer to as the ‘primary pattern’ – that is, that the body is an integrated whole, not a collection of disconnected parts, and that it needs to move and work as a whole. What I do with my neck affects my feet – what I do with my feet affects my head. It sounds obvious but humans manage to forget this because we are SO absorbed by….where we are going, the facebook page in front of us, butting into the conversation, pulling up one more weed….etc, etc. And then we wonder how we hurt ourselves 🙂

Those in my groups who are new to the work this term will revise what we have learned so far about standing easily, about sitting easily and we will coach one another (a teaching technique I use a LOT) to remind us what we might remember to make life as easy as possible.

And we will look in our anatomy study at the amazing, incredible structure that is the spine. Lizard

Those who have done this work for a while will ALSO revise what we can usefully think about in order to sit/stand easily and then take that knowledge into movement, into transitioning between sitting and standing and standing and lying down and lying down and standing up, while remembering to remember ourselves as well as what we are doing.

AND for the first time I am teaching a shared lesson on Monday afternoon in WhaleyBridge at Riverside Wellbeing. The lesson is full but email me if you would like to be kept posted about future chances to come along.

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Reflections on Previous Groups

Are you sitting comfortably? Reflecting on week 1 of this term’s groups

This week saw the start of new Alexander groups in Manchester and Macclesfield. Some students are completely new to the work, others have attended previous group courses or had some 1:1 lessons. I asked them all what they hoped to gain from our shared study of Alexander and why they had come.

Some folk mentioned improving their posture – how they stand and walk and sit. And we will work on those important topics. Others spoke of reducing pain and stiffness – and many people find that Alexander work achieves those things. Several spoke about movement – they had come because they wanted to move more easily, more gently, more enjoyably.

One spoke movingly of how her work in previous groups had increased her confidence, reduced her anxiety and pain (and medication!) and how this profound work had transformed her life. Sometimes it does that – we come for a bad back, we discover a lifetime’s study that can change how we are in the world. It can go very deep!

And we made a start by looking together at sitting and sitting bones, at sitting more comfortably. We discovered the joy of knowing that sit bones are also called ‘ischial tuberosities’ and resolved to use that knowledge frequently in the week ahead and to drop the phrase into conversations wherever possible.

My regular students and I learned Bruce Fertman’s ‘dolphin’ movement together. There was laughter, learning and, I think, a bit more freedom in movement by the end, for all of us. I was certainly smiling more, less tired, more optimistic. I LOVE working in groups 🙂 My students are a reason to be cheerful. Ischium_02_anterior_view

Weekly Group Plans

Mindful movement

Next week our new Alexander groups start, in Manchester and Macclesfield, with a mixture of students, some completely new to Alexander work and wondering what it is, some people who have taken groups before. We are all students of this profound technique, all learning together.

A few weeks ago I spent 8 days in Dorset studying Alexander with one of MY teachers, Bruce Fertman. And because we are all, all of us, still learning I learned things about myself I didn’t know which I will share with my groups when we start back next week.

And I learned things about teaching the work to others that we will try out in my groups. The theme of much of Bruce Fertman’s teaching and writing is that the Alexander technique is about movement not posture. So I am going to take the theme of mindful movement for our first 5 groups. We will study the basic human forms of sitting, standing, lying, walking and transitioning – with a focus on how we move into and out of and during those forms. And we will help each other to find more ease, more fluidity, more comfort, more grace, more awareness, more enjoyment and even more beauty in those forms.

We will also think together about using the Alexander work when we are under stress – because we are late, because we are anxious, because we are irritated, because we are bored – which is another kind of stress!

And we will specifically apply the work to situations my students suggest for this term – whether that is singing, shopping, doing the gardening or even, as this photo of me on my own course shows, doing aikido!!

I am looking forward very much to seeing old friends again and making new ones. I love this work and I love sharing it. Thanks to all those who are planning to join me in this study in the coming weeks.

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Character Strengths, Well-being in education

Character strengths and virtues in education – how and why?

In my latest video I talk about how and why you might want to introduce character strengths and virtues in education. There are three main reasons – to help to manage or contain anxiety, to build relationships and to help teachers and students alike to stay hopeful. And I break all the good rules of talks by adding a fourth reason – it gives us a language to discuss – not to impose – ideas of right and wrong and what constitutes a good life.

Well-being in education – character strengths and virtues