NewGround: A Muslim-Jewish Partnership for Change

I have friends and acquaintances in this Muslim-Jewish dialogue group.

I think Alexander Technique would be so helpful for people trying to do things in a new way.

Let’s say you stay fixed in all of your habitual reactions to stimuli while you engage in fraught dialogue with members of another religion. You’re not likely to do well. You’re not likely to be able to hear the other and to speak to the other in a way they can understand.

I bet I could go to such meetings and just by looking at the body language, I could tell who really wanted to meet the other.

A flexible person is more likely to be flexible in their thinking and their ability to relate to other people while a stiff bloke is likely to be no bloody good to anyone.

One fascinating Alexander teaching that relates to this is that all beliefs are just unnecessary body tension.

I believe that peacenik rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller — after years of attempts — has given up on dialogue with Muslims.

Ashley Adams, a union organizer and negotiator in the Boston area, talks with Robert Rickover about the Alexander Technique and it’s usefulness in the negotiation process.

Ashley is married to an Alexander teacher, Debbie Adams.

Ashley: “Alexander Technique is a method of unlearning bad habits of movement and posture and relearning a more useful way of doing what you do.

“An Alexander teacher shows you how to interrupt your bad habits and to insert a more thoughtful way of doing what you do.”

“By listening to the other side instead of habitually responding negatively and pounding your fist, you thoughtfully consider the problem and consider options.”

“By training people to think outside the box, Alexander Technique can help people to not just think habitually. People can inhibit their traditional no and yes and be more creative at the table.”

“As negotiators sit at the bargaining table, we tend to regress to the most basic kind of hunched-over tense posture you can imagine. Alexander Technique can replace that with a more comfortable way of sitting.”

Robert: “In Alexander Technique, ‘inhibition’ means to stop doing things that you don’t want.”

Ashley: “The verb you use when you accuse the other side of just doing what they always do is ‘posturing.’ Alexander Technique can help bargainers be more flexible in their approach.”

“If you can keep your head while the other side is losing theirs, you have an advantage. If you are keep your head mobile and fluid and released and the other side is tight and restricted, that helps you in life.”

“If you’re flexible, you’re less likely to lock horns and to be stiff-necked with others.”

Robert: “Our language reflects some deep truths about how our physical state relates to our mental state.”

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 (
This entry was posted in Alexander Technique, Islam, Israel, Jews and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.