Updated: Jun 13
When I talk to people about what I do, most people have never heard of the Alexander Technique. It is something that I have been wildly passionate about for over a decade and so I wanted to share some of the reasons why I love the Alexander Technique so much.
For starters, it helped me to overcome one of my greatest physical and emotional obstacles in life. When I was in music school learning to sing, I lost my voice, physically and metaphorically. I was so concerned with what everyone one else thought and so under-prepared (i.e. an immature and naive 19 year-old) for the stresses of music school, that I developed a vocal hiccup/stutter. I felt tightness and gripping all around my throat. The sound would cut in and out, and when I would go to speak, many times nothing would come out. I dropped out of school and stopped singing for 5 years! A friend of mine (also having difficulty in music school) introduced me to the Alexander Technique and to our master teacher Ruth Kilroy. The experience was life-changing.
In my first lesson, I looked in the mirror and saw a person free of pain, confident, and at ease with herself and life. I was addicted! I vowed that I would become that woman in the mirror. And I have never looked back.
While that sounds all very romantic, training for 3 years in this technique was one of the hardest accomplishments I have ever set out to complete. This work really asks that you LOOK at yourself, for real, in the mirror. You get very used to learning to give and take feedback objectively because ultimately there is no room for ego in this work (though the ego breaking process can be painful at times.) There were many, many days when I did not want to go to this training. When I would drag myself out of bed, on a cold winter's day in Boston, and make my way on public transportation to go into this small room and continue this detailed work.
But without fail, I would have a wonderful class. At the end, I would feel inspired and alive, like I had done good work, the right kind of work, meaning work that was raising my consciousness and helping my body and putting me in touch with the positive aspects of life. I credit my teacher Ruth Kilroy 100% for this because she brings such immense passion to her work that it is infectious. It is always about the work, The Work, with a capital "W" as this sacred thing that we return to no matter what.
In our trials and tribulations in that beautiful studio, covered with mirrors, we collectively looked at our weakness and faults, supported each other, and grew to be better versions of ourselves.
So I would have to say that two very profound reasons that I love the Alexander Technique are 1) it is a beautiful art form that requires patience, skill, and hard work and 2) the people in the community are wonderful.
The benefits of the work are immediate and far-reaching. You immediately feel better in your body and mind when you engage in this work. And I think that is what is so addicting. It has been ten years since I trained, and I have not lost my obsession. I think it about it constantly: " That's up, that's down , free the neck, that's a little better, try this, ooh that worked." It is truly wonderful because no matter what you are doing: laundry, dishes, mowing the lawn, singing, you can experiment with how you are using the body and bring yourself into better and better alignment...no mater what state you wake up in in the morning.
And isn't that the sweetest choice in life? To choose to aim up no matter what the circumstances? To empower yourself in this decision over and over again until your body is coursing with the vitality of a life force that takes you up and up and up? It is really delicious and once you get hooked (AT pun), that's it.