Reclaiming Posture

As a grad student I frequently took gigs playing background music. It was not unusual for a partygoer to stop on the way out and compliment me—on my “amazing posture.” At first I was somewhat bemused that they mentioned my posture instead of my playing, but I soon relished these compliments. They were an indication that all of my work in my Alexander lessons was paying off. I clearly looked different than I did before. At other times people asked me if I was a dancer, or an actress (more evidence that I must have changed the way I move through…

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When Mo-Mo, Who Eats Everything, Has Eaten the “Up”

Yesterday, my student Jan told me that sometimes if she and her partner feel awful in the morning, they joke that Mo-Mo has eaten the up. I should explain that Mo-Mo is their cat who is on a diet, and because he is getting more fit, he is able to leap everywhere and eat everything. In thinking about Mo-Mo and the up, I am reflecting on lessons that I have learned and relearned hundreds of times over the past 26 years. One lesson is that just because I can’t feel the up doesn’t mean it isn’t there. The other is…

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Ex Machina—thoughts on robot and human movement

  I went to see the movie Ex Machina, which I enjoyed immensely. Lots of food for thought about the implications of artificial intelligence. It also stimulated my thinking about conscious choice, habit, and movement, both robot and human. As an Alexander Technique teacher, even when I am wholly immersed in a movie, I can’t help but notice movement patterns, and as I reflected later, my number one question became: did the actress playing the robot make a conscious choice to move differently when the character knew humans were not watching? Perhaps watching the movie again will give me more…

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The Importance of Questions

For me, working with the Alexander Technique involves a willingness to ask questions of myself. Questions allow me the freedom and opportunity to notice when I want to change my path. I find that many of my questions arise from self-reflection and stimulate more reflection and more questions, and that coming back to the same questions again and again helps me to notice growth and change and also to reassess. “What is important to me in the long term? What is important to me in this moment? What am I doing? Why am I doing this? What is a good…

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Lost in Translation: misunderstanding and faulty sensory perception

It is no wonder there is so much misunderstanding in the world. A simple word can mean completely different things to different people. When I was 20-something, my favorite book was Milan Kundera’s “The Unbearable Lightness of Being.” Over the years I often think of the powerful chapter in which Kundera takes a number of seemingly innocuous words, and defines them according to each character’s perspective. Words take on meanings that depend upon associations from our experience. For instance the word “light” can be positive for one person, negative for the next. Have you ever said something to someone, and…

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