Tag Archives: Alexander Technique

Alexander Technique Brighton Hove – Photo Album

In a previous post I mentioned how I used to get tongue-tied or overly enthusiastic when someone asked the question “What is the Alexander Technique?”

Of course, it’ll always be difficult to describe an activity, any activity, that has such a large sensory component. So I promised to put up some photos, with comments, so you can at least get a fly on the wall perspective of what a typical Alexander Technique lesson might look like.

As a general rule, Alexander Technique teachers tend to work from the core of the body — neck, head and back – out towards the extremities ie the arms and legs. The major muscles that move the limbs, however, have their origins in the torso. So working with the neck, head back relationship automatically influences the movement of the arms and legs. The converse is also true – working with the arms and legs will reinforce release and expansion through the neck, head and back.

hnique Brighton BN1

“Allow your neck to be free”

Brighton & Hove Alexander Technique Hand on Neck

“Allow your neck to be free in such a way that your head can go forwards & upwards”

Hand on head. Brighton & Hove Islington Alexander Technique

“Allow your neck to be free & your head to go forwards & upwards so that your back can lengthen & widen”

Hands on the back. Brighton Hove Islington Alexander Technique

In practice most Alexander Technique teachers do not recite these directions parrot-fashion. The words and language tend to be naturalistic and tailored to fit the individual.

Arms & Legs– Although there are specific directions for the arms & legs often the teacher will ask the pupil to continue focussing on their neck, head and back relationship as they work with the arms and the legs.

Alexander Technique Brighton Hove London Islington. Taking arms during table work.JPG”

Legs

Alexander Technique Brighton Hove london Islington__Taking arms during table work

Chair-work

Alexander Technique Brighton, Hove & London chair work 

Alexander Technique Brighton & Hove - Helping pupil with bending. Also known as “Monkey”.
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Alexander Technique Brighton & Hove. The deep squat.

It’s difficult to really capture the living, dynamic quality of an Alexander Technique lesson on a photograph. Young children often embody that Alexander quality unconsciously.

It isn’t just about moving in and out of a chair. It’s a convenient way of learning to move easily and efficiently. A convenient method that can be transferred into all sorts of everyday movements and activities. It’s a great method of learning to suspend habitual muscular and even emotional responses.

osteopathy cpd courses uk

Osteopathy CPD courses UK

YouTube video – Placing a hand underneath the sacrum

Placing a hand underneath the sacrum is a procedure much favoured by CranioSacral osteopaths.  Please scroll down to see YouTube video. In this class the process is being explored from a more Alexander Technique perspective. Alan Mars demonstrates the procedure and takes questions and answers before the participants pair up and explore the touch together.

Next course date:

11 – 4.30 pm on 20th October 2013
In a Central Brighton & Hove venue, East Sussex
alan.mars@yahoo.co.uk        07930 323 057

This CPD course presents a structured approach coupled with a relaxed and informal atmosphere. Class numbers are small allowing for plenty of individual attention.
explore the principles of the Alexander Technique
experiment with applying the Technique in your daily life
explore applications for your therapeutic practice
experience hands-on work from Alan and Harriet
have time for questions and discussion

We will work together in small groups, pairs and one to one. Participants will receive hand-outs and a certificate of attendance.

Alan and Harriet each have over thirty years of teaching experience in:

Teacher training
Private practice
Public workshops
Running CPD courses

View their websites here –

Harriet http://www.alexandertechniquehove.org.uk/

Alan http://thetechnique.co.uk/

Osteopathy CPD courses UK

online vocal & presentation coaching with Alexander Technique via Skype

Freeing your voice - The Alexander Technique applied to the speaking and singing voice

Alan Mars offers vocal coaching – face to face via Skype

Alan Mars, voice coach & Alexander Technique teacher, is now offering online voice coaching via Skype:

Spoken voice coaching:

Has your voice, and confidence, ever faltered during a presentation, a meeting, an audition or a musical solo? Develop a reliably confident voice through the Alexander Technique, vocal coaching and specially adapted performing-arts techniques. Experience increasing poise – read more here …

Singing voice coaching:

I can help you to free your singing voice – to sing with greater ease, clarity, resonance and power. I can help you reduce performance nerves and to – read more here …

If you have a Skype account and a webcam we can get to work in the comfort of your own home or office. Payment is via PayPal. Pricing details for 30 minute, 45 minute or one-hour sessions are at the foot of the page.

What will you need to get started?

If you are based near Brighton and Hove and would prefer to meet person to person to have lessons please email me on alan.mars@yahoo.co.uk or call 07930 323 057 to arrange an appointment

Who is Alan Mars?

Alan Mars has taught voice-work, singing Alexander Technique privately and at many top London drama and music schools including – The Arts Educational Drama School, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the Royal College of Music, since 1982.

He has taught presentation skills within many top British and international companies including – Abbey National, General Electric, Sainsbury’s, Lloyds of London and many others since 1992.

Alan offers individual lessons, group classes and in-house coaching. He is a member of the Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique.

Terms and conditions

  • Payments must be received via PayPal at least 24 hours before the lesson.
  • If payment is not received the lesson will be cancelled automatically.
  • No refunds will be given if you fail to log in for your lesson.
  • Alan will not be held responsible for any connection or technical difficulties during the lesson.
  • If you are late to log in for your session the lesson will still finish at the agreed time – extra time will not be added.

Alan Mars – online vocal coaching with Alexander Technique via Skype

Freeing your voice - The Alexander Technique applied to the speaking and singing voice

Confidence Tricks – Presenter / Presentation Skills

product_thumbnailIt’s here! Everything you need to know about confident presentation and public speaking skills in one reasonably priced book. See table of contents at the bottom of this page!

For over thirty years, Alan Mars has coached individuals and groups of delegates from leading public and private businesses and organisations. He has also taught Alexander Technique and voice-work in leading performing arts schools. Alan has taken the best techniques from the world of the performing arts, Alexander Technique and NLP, and set them out in this book, with practical exercises, case studies and insights.

 Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.
Price:
£6.99

Confidence Tricks – Presenter

TABLE OF CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION

– CHAPTER ONE –
WHAT IF I WERE A BETTER PRESENTER?
WHAT WOULD MAKE ME BETTER?
2500 Years of Theatre
Anchoring
THE WISDOM OF INSECURITY
TOOLS FOR YOUR JOURNEY
GETTING STARTED
Terminology
Working with the exercises
Materials
A positive attitude

CHAPTER TWO
WHAT DOES BETTER LOOK LIKE?
STYLE
Practical Exercise
The singer and the song
Alive relaxation
Practical Exercise – Observe
VITAL INGREDIENTS FOR THE COMMUNICATION CAKE
OBSERVATION AND FEEDBACK
Visual
Vocal
Verbal
WHO ARE YOUR FAVOURITE PRESENTERS?
Practical Exercise – Your own radio report
Case Study – Maria
Practical Exercise – Mind’s Eye, Mind’s Ears
DELIVERY
Practical Exercise – The Grand Old Duke of York
LISTEN AND LEARN
The Home Ham-let
Case Study – Interview with Robin Prior

CHAPTER THREE
CREATING A COMPELLING GOAL
THROUGH POISE TO PURPOSE
THE VMBR STUDIES
AN INTRODUCTION TO ALIVE RELAXATION
YOUR CENTRE OF GRAVITY
Practical Exercise – Centring
Case Study – Robert
BALANCE AND GROUNDING
Practical Exercise – Footprints in the sand
Case Study – John
PERIPHERAL VISION AND PERSONAL SPACE
Peripheral vision
Practical Exercise – Walking with an expanded visual field
Practical Exercise – Personal space
Practical Exercise – Walk of Shame or Walk of Fame?
Case Study – John Bourke and his All Ireland golf medal
PERCEPTUAL POSITIONS & PERSONAL RELATIONS
PERCEPTUAL TOOLS
The radio reporter revisited
A little black book
Mental rehearsal ingredients
First perceptual position: your own viewpoint
Second perceptual position: the audience’s viewpoint
Third perceptual position: a detached vantage point
DEALING WITH DIFFICULTIES
Come Back Home!
Case Study – Paul Marwaha
STATE YOUR GOALS IN POSITIVE TERMS
Practical Exercise – State your goal

CHAPTER FOUR
HOW COMMITTED ARE YOU?
GO FOR IT!
Planning — Step One – Four
KISS – Keep it Simple and Straightforward
REDUCING FEAR & INCREASING CONFIDENCE
Keep your head
Posture, Impact and Confidence
How to ‘wear your head’ skilfully
How to keep your head
The Weight of your Head
Rocking Stones
Atlas Supports the Occiput
Delicate Levers
The Skull
The Spine
The ‘Through Line’
Practical Exercise – Your Puppet String/Through Line
Keeping it Simple – Centre, centre, centre
EMOTION, BREATHING AND YOUR VOICE
Exercise 1: Observing restriction
THE SIZE OF THE PERCEIVED TASK
Your emotional state
Practical Exercise – Hasten slowly and pleasantly
Chunking
SELF-BELIEF
Internal voices – talking your walk
Practical Exercise – No nagging
PERSON AND JOB — GETTING THE FIT RIGHT
Case Study – Phyllis

CHAPTER FIVE
BETTER THAN WHAT?
USING YOUR SKILLS
Confidence or Assurance?
HUMAN MIRRORS
Practical Exercise – Mirroring
EYE CONTACT
How long should eye contact last?
Eye contact starts at the feet
Sight lines
ENERGY APPROPRIATE TO THE VENUE
GET TO KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
Your friends and allies in the audience
Case Study – James Lawley
FEEDBACK – ELECTRONIC AND PERSONAL
But I hate the sound of my voice when it’s recorded!

CHAPTER SIX
STRATEGIES AND TECHNIQUES
GENERATING YOUR CONTENT
Right brain: The Creative Generator
Left brain: the Editor/Organiser
Key words
Mind Maps
Index cards
Practical Exercise – Key Words
WILL ANYONE REMEMBER YOU?
STRUCTURING A PRESENTATION
Introductions: purpose, benefit and structure
The End: Summary, Conclusions and Next Steps
Case Study – Cheryl Winter
A Structure for Presentations – The 4MAT System
Bribery – without the corruption
Practical Exercise – BRIBE
QUESTION AND ANSWER STRATEGY
STYLE
Air Sculptures
Case Study – Dave
Going over the top
Practical Exercise – Air Sculptures
MOVING EFFECTIVELY ON STAGE
The stage walk
Practical Exercise – The stage walk
Practical Exercise – Walking backwards
Case Study – The stage walk and adrenaline control
SPATIAL MARKING AND ANCHORING
Timelines
Practical Exercise – Timeline
Spatial marking in business
THE POWER OF COMMUNICATION

CHAPTER SEVEN
PRACTICALITIES
DEVELOPING ‘NOUS’
PRESENTATION STYLES
Formal or informal?
Large or small?
Tell or sell?
Mixing sell and tell
Participative
Coaching and training
Internal or external?
USE OF VISUAL AIDS
Visibility and clarity
Visual aid or handout?
Non-verbal relationship to visual aids
Low-tech longevity – the perennial flipchart
Projectors
Popular programs – go easy
Preparing slides
The T-shirt theory (less is more)
MICROPHONES AND PA SYSTEMS
PREPARING THE ROOM

CHAPTER EIGHT –
FEEDBACK
HOW DID YOU DO?
Case Study – Dr Brent Young
Evolving your own feedback form

CHAPTER NINE
BALANCING WORK WITH THE REST OF YOUR LIFE
Rhythm and the art of management maintenance
Rest and replenishment
Timing critical appointments
Case Study – Robin Prior

CHAPTER TEN
ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE HISTORY & BACKGROUND
What is the Alexander Technique?
The Alexander Story
Into the Looking Glass
The Principles
Direction
Sensory Appreciation
Pausing
Lesson Description
Application Technique

CHAPTER ELEVEN
SEMI-SUPINE POSITION BENEFITS
Preparation
Semi-Supine Position Equipment
Getting Into the Semi Supine Position
Bullet point Alexander directions

CHAPTER TWELVE
THE PRACTISED PAUSE
SILENCE, PAUSING AND PUNCTUATION
Who are you speaking to?
Practice Pausing
Practical exercise – The Sonnet Stepping Stone

CHAPTER THIRTEEN
A WORD ABOUT BREATHING
TAKE A DEEP BREATH?
Compressive forces
Expansive directions and managing the out-breath
The Diaphragm
Practical exercise – Breathing in the semi-supine position
Practical exercise – Breathing in the prone position
Summary

CHAPTER FOURTEEN
WILLING IT AND LOVING IT
CLOUD-WATCHING
The big picture
Planning your life

Resources

ALAN MARS

Alexander Technique for Horses part 4

The following day both Martha and Laura were due to have a lesson at their local riding school. I met them both afterwards. I do not know who looked more excited. Martha’s eyes and whole demeanour looked super awake and alert. She was holding her head and easily on top of her clearly lengthening spine. She appeared impressively open and broad cross her shoulders and upper chest. Her lower back had raised and filled out and her legs looked confidently planted underneath her.

“My teacher was really impressed with the way we both responded during the lesson today.” Laura told me. “She was particularly excited by the tight circles that such a big horse as Martha was managing, for the first time, to turn. Do you think the Alexander Technique could have helped that?”

“For a horse to be able to turn one side of its spine has to flex as the other side simultaneously extends. If even as few as two or three vertebrae are restricted by excess muscle tension then the mobility of the spine as a whole is reduced. Freeing those muscles and vertebrae should allow the horse to turn more easily. So, yes” I replied “the Alexander Technique could well have helped – particularly in that area at the base of Martha’s neck.”

Without suggesting that anyone can become an overnight Alexander teacher – in fact it takes three years of full time training- taking a little more time to consciously touch in the manner described above can, at the very least, do a lot to deepen the rapport between horse and rider. In human relationships the cool hand on the brow during emotional upsets and illness; the back rub after a physically demanding day can relieve stress and be of positive physical and emotional therapeutic value, The language of touch is perhaps an even more significant factor in the relationship between horse and rider.

NB It does have to be underlined that Martha is basically a hale, hearty and robust horse with no significant problems. The care mentioned above should not be thought of as a substitute for properly qualified professional advice.

Alexander Technique and Horses part 3

“Muscles are designed to tense and contract a lot more quickly than they are designed to release. This is a very useful mechanism for helping us to get out of trouble in a hurry. Scientists call it the fight/flight response. However both horses and humans often find that these fight/flight responses can get out of hand.”

“The openness of your hands Martha’s neck and shoulder muscles a standard of ease towards which they can move. In order to do this her muscles need a sense of time and space … a moment of stillness and pause. Think of your hands simply melting like warm butter onto Martha’s neck'”

Laura stuck with the process. Martha started to move her heed gently from side to side and up and down a few times and then took several deep, sighing breaths. I noted this with some interest – humans often take a few deep breaths when they are starting to release the constrictions of the day during the course of an Alexander lesson. “I think I feel some release in Martha’s neck” Laura said with a mixture surprise and disbelief in

her voice.

“Yes I think you probably do” I confirmed “Now gently take your hands off Martha ‘s neck” Laura, hooked as she was into the process, looked disappointed but followed my suggestions.

“Pause for a moment. Give yourself the time and space to project your Alexander directions… allowing your neck to be free … your head to balance freely on top of your spine… and your back to lengthen and widen,”

Like many horses Martha had tendency to slightly drop and hollow her back and to trail her back legs.

“How would we deal with this using the Alexander Technique?” Laura was now wondering.

“In much the same way as we would deal with the corresponding tendency in humans. I usually begin by helping a pupil to balance their head and neck more effectively and then start working on their lower back, buttocks and knees.”

By the time Laura had work her way down to Martha’s buttocks and legs Martha’s head and neck had dropped down, her lower lip was trembling and she looked very peaceful and somewhat drowsy.

We realised that it was darker outside and had, without us noticing, become quite dim in the stable. We took Martha for a short walk in the field outside. She was a little bit disorientated for the first few minutes and then seemed to find her feet again.

Alexander Technique for Horses part 2

“Ok, then what happens? What do you do next?” Laura asked with growing curiosity.

“Well you don’t actually do anything as such. You continue to attend to your own all over balance as you place your hands on the horse. The hands are quietly attentive and enquiring. The more open and lengthened and widened your hands are the more sensitive they will be.”

“When you put hands on someone you can’t help affecting the recipient’s muscles. Muscles are attuned to the language of touch. The question is to get the touch happening in the right way so that the effect is positive rather than negative.”

Laura went on to place her hands on several different locations along the column of Martha ‘s neck. She took her time about doing this. Apart from being a mildly pleasant experience for all three of us there was nothing remarkable in what Laura felt with her hands or in Martha ‘s response.

Eventually Laura worked her way down to the base of Martha’s neck just above the shoulder blades. This is an area of profound constriction in many humans and Martha was proving to be no exception to this rule. Laura immediately picked this up.

“What do I do now?” she said excitedly.

“Exactly the same as before… Keep coming back to your own all over balance and to opening out your hands. It helped you to pick up the problem area perhaps it will also help you to release the tension this area.”

“Maybe you should take over now Alan” Laura said with a little concern.

“I don’t think so” I replied. A particularly peaceful atmosphere had descended over Laura, Martha and me. I didn’t think that Martha would appreciate me breaking the spell on account of my superior qualifications!