Work On The Thinking First

I’m nearing the end of my three years of training to become an Alexander Technique teacher and I’m feeling quite rebellious.

I’ve been drilled that when it comes to working with students, you must first work on their thinking.

This is regarded as superior to the generally English method of teaching that stresses first getting your hands on the student to give them a kinesthetic sense of ease.

I don’t think one way is superior. If you silently put your hands on the student and guide him through a procedure such as walking or getting in and out of a chair, you are working with the student’s thinking just as much as if you sat apart from the student and gave them a learned discourse on the profound teachings of F.M. Alexander.

“Thinking” is not something that takes place apart from the body. And moving the body does not take place apart from the emotions and from the thinking. The human being is a unity of thinking, feeling and body.

Now, some people seem to have great bodies but their thinking and emotions appear to be a mess. This is a topic of great importance that I will leave for another blog post.

It does not matter to me that teachers of the Alexander Technique proudly proclaim that the Technique is not body work. Gasp! I disagree with the dogma of my profession!

I know that Alexander teachers think of themselves as much more prestigious than regular practicioners of body work. We’re above the messy decaying sexual body. We work primarily with the mind.

That’s a delusion. When we’re working with the mind, we’re working with the body. Mind and body are one. There’s nothing wrong with looking at the Alexander Technique as body work just as there’s nothing wrong with looking at football as life and death.

Of course football is much more than life and death. So too, Alexander Technique is body work but also much more than body work just as I am not just a gorgeous hunk of well-coordinated ebonics in motion, I’m also a lofty intellectual who loves the songs of Barry Manilow.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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