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angela east

cellist with red priest ensemble

"For anyone who is considering training,

I would say - 'Do not hesitate'."

Training to become a teacher of the Alexander Technique is one of the most exciting things

I have ever done, and I already lead a fairly

exciting life as an international cellist.

It was worth getting up every morning

at 5.30am to make the journey to Brighton

and worth every penny, not only of the fees

but of the travelling expenses from London to Brighton every day.

I have now been qualified as a teacher

for three years and most of the costs have

now been reimbursed in earnings.

The particular quality that The Brighton School

has is that of uncompromising focus on the

classical principles of the Technique in inhibition

and particularly in direction.

The strength of direction that one learns in this school is second to none that

I have encountered.

Having qualified has opened so many doors

to me, both in The Alexander Technique

and in my musical career, that I continue to love every minute. One's personal development continues way beyond the moment that one graduates."

sarah eddy

original cast member of STOMP

"This course is - Brilliant"

I never realized until I started, just what was in

store for me.

"I came along with a plan of having another career that I could do alongside my existing career as a performer.

Now, after just six weeks, I feel much better mentally physically and spiritually.

My performance nerves are greatly reduced.

The terrible Asthma attacks I have had all my life have gone. I have gone back on stage with a new awareness which has greatly helped my performance. Its also helped me manage an old injury, and shown me how not to repeat my injury whilst on stage.

The reduction in my anxiety levels is simply brilliant and I am keen to keep a diary of my physical and emotional changes, so I can look back and see just where I was, when I first started.

I am so very happy I have made the decision to do the course, and know its going to my new chosen path."

finn kellow-webb

lessons on a bicycle

"I am a first year trainee teacher of the Alexander Technique at the Brighton School for Alexander Technique run by Chris Element and Suzie Sanderson. Recently, I completed the 2007

London to Brighton bike ride, the first time I

have done the event. Having done very little

cycling preparation before hand I was a little

curious as to how I would fair. I must admit that seeing 27000 other cyclists at the start was reassuring and very motivating as well. I would describe myself as relatively fit and healthy and

try exercise at least 3 to 4 times a week.

As a teacher trainee of the Alexander Technique

I also knew that I had an ace up my sleeve for the

ride but was not sure how the technique would

really benefit me.

As an ex Physical Education teacher this was an opportunity to apply my Alexander training to physical exercise over a prolonged period in an activity that I have no expert experience.

Alexander himself described bicycles along the lines of being ergonomically designed to foster poor use. When you consider the position of the head and neck in relation to the back while cycling with the arms extended in front, the back and legs working

at varying/opposing degrees of angle causing the back to narrow, and the eyes aiming to look

forward and up thus causing the neck and head to hyper extend, one can understand the potential for poor use. However with this in mind I attempted to pay attention to my use as much as possible throughout the 56 miles especially as I only had a basic mountain bike.

My first direction was to try and direct the head forward and up as much as possible and use the

eyes independently to look ahead. By thinking forward and up as opposed to just forward and potentially down as fatigues sets in, I was able to

as much as possible avoid the situation or position

of hunching over the handle bars

(contracting down) in order to try and exert more effort.

The benefits were really noticeable when cycling uphill when the temptation is to exert more effort and lean forward into the effort. Directing forward and up while standing up on the pedals allowed the body to maintain its proper alignment and equal displacement on the inclined bike so that the weight was directed over and through the central cog with the pedals.

This resulted in greater fluidity of movement, more power through each leg rotation and less effort directed down into the pedals and legs. This was very noticeable when going up Ditchling Beacon, the last hill of the day over the South Downs, which lasts for approximately 2 miles and is a 1 in 4 gradient at times.

Secondly, I directed into my upper and lower

back in order to lengthen and widen them.

This was helped by subtly changing my position on the saddle so that I sat slightly further back in the saddle which in turn allowed me to get ‘back in my back’. The result was quite simply increased speed, fluidity, power and ease of effort from the legs. At times it was almost as if the bike was being powered without any effort whatsoever. I can only assume that the space in the back of my back allowed the hips and knees to function freely in their circular motion. Added to this I also thought of simply sending the knees forward and away, which seemed to enable my legs to spin faster and more freely.

Lastly and my no means least I directed into my ankles and feet. I did this by thinking of the ankles and feet being released to travel freely round

a large Ferris wheel instead of a small bicycle cog.

Particular attention was paid to being back in my heels and thinking of the heels working in

opposition yet in the same plane as the hips and knees. Consequently the feeling was one

of lengthen along the back through the legs and

into the heels and toes. I suppose mechanically

this achieved a longer and larger lever system with

which to propel the bike forward.

In conclusion all I can say is that by directing and thinking of where my effort was going I was able to relax and enjoy the sensation of cycling much more than I have ever done before and now apply these principles whenever I jump on my bike even if it is for a short trip to the shops.

Cycling up hills is a completely different challenge and experience and I no longer end gain about getting to the top so I can recover on the downhill section. I am really looking forward to doing the event again next year and recommend it to anyone interested in raising funds for the British Heart Foundation."

 

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the brighton school for alexander technique