Why Some People Don’t Change Despite Many Alexander Technique Lessons

In an interview with Direction Journal, veteran Alexander Technique teacher David Gorman says: “You have people coming in for lessons. We have this remarkable ability when we are trained to put our hands on them and to facilitate changes that make them feel great quickly. But they’d come back a week later in the same state that they entered. So what’s going on here? Why weren’t people getting it and changing their lives the way the work should work?”

“The Technique is a good coping mechanism for them. The teachers can liberate them from their tension but they still have the problem. As opposed to those people who can say, it’s just gone. I don’t have it anymore.”

“The main thing I saw was that the people who had taken the experiences they had and not just felt good but it had shown them something about what they were doing.”

“I was working with a businessman. He said, ‘I suddenly feel so present and here. Normally I’m just so far ahead of myself and doing a million things but now I’m in the moment.’

“He went out of that session. He said, ‘I understood that. I stopped getting ahead of myself. I decided to just do what I can do in the time I have to do it. I’m going to live in the moment. And I just haven’t had any of the tension problems.'”

“I remember working with a new student. And I said to him, ‘Do you know you just pulled your head back when you stood up?’ He said, ‘No, I didn’t.’

“I said, ‘I can show show you in the mirror that it happened.’ He said, ‘I’m sure it happened but I didn’t do it.'”

“Normally, I would’ve said, ‘I understand you’re not aware of this habit. I can show it to you in the mirror. You need to become aware of it and to inhibit it.'”

“I realized because I would get busy doing that, none of us would find out what he was doing when his head did come back that other people are not doing when it doesn’t happen.”

“Gradually I got to see the pattern that most people were ahead of themselves. They were three-quarters up to standing [in their head] before they’d even left the chair. Or conversely, they’d say, ‘I’m just sitting down in the chair. I’m going to the chair.’

“Gradually, I realized I needed to ask them where their attention was. And it was always out ahead of themselves. I began to see that the way they were projecting their attention was organizing their system. You could almost see the body reaching out ahead of them and you get this classic thing of the head pulling back and the reach and the arms come out.”

“It dawned on me it was not so important what was happening in my teaching room when they’d come in and say, ‘I’m so tense now.’

“Why are they tense? What were they up to today that got them tense? I began asking them. They’d say, ‘I’d just been on holiday. I was fine. Now I’m back to work. On the holiday, I didn’t have to do anything. Now I have all this stuff I have to do and I have to rush through and get it done.’

“Could it be that if somebody goes into their workday thinking, here’s all this stuff that I have to do and there’s not enough time to do it, they’re going to rush and get ahead of themselves. Is this state of tension and stress the result of that?”

“They were operating on the assumption that they had to do all this stuff and as they tried to do it, the tension state they got [was the logical result]. If instead people went into work doing what they could do at the speed they could do it, people would come back and say they did not have the same tensions. They were able to see more clearly. They accomplished more.”

“The physical thing that happened, the strain and nervousness before the performance, was not the problem. It was the organization of how they were meeting that moment. I didn’t have to get them to free their tension before they performed. They simply did not get tense before they played.”

“If they focused on what they loved about the music, they did not get into trouble. If they focused on other things, they got all caught up in the physical problems.”

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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