Alexander Technique

Dear Mike,
I was just reading your web site and realized that you don't seem to understand what the Alexander Technique really is about. If you would study F.M. Alexander's life more closely you would find out that he was known in his time as the 'breathing man' and the funny thing is that he was not even teaching people to breath! He was and we Alexander Technique teachers are teaching our pupils to become aware their harmful unconscious habits that will interfere with their bodies functions, including the breathing, walking, biking scratching your head and so on. Ah yes. I have always thought of Alexander technique with this in mind. Great stuff.

With a good Alexander Technique teacher a pupil can learn to redirect the energy by letting herself widen and lengthen instead of contracting into herself and so pressing the lungs and intestines as well as preventing the legs and arms to move freely. Now there is much involved in this and few lessons are needed to get the full understanding. One Optimal Breathing lesson/session is quite adequate to get huge change.   Repeat HUGE. Many more factors needed then widening and lengthening to accelerate this breathing improvement as quickly as it can be done. Breath is life. When you are out of breath nothing else matters. Why take longer? The body can be changed rapidly without pain. Take it as far as it can go each session/time. The breathing gets better and the entire body adjusts around it to balance physically and energetically.

So it is in learning any new skill.
Good understanding of the Alexander Technique in the guidance of a skillfull Alexander Technique teacher and putting the understanding into practice will among many things improve breathing, but please note, it is a side product not an end in it self.

That is sad for people that do not breathe well or want faster progress. They often need more then the "Alexander Technique" allows for, as wonderful as it can be. 

Like they say 'breathing is so easy a child can do it'. We only need to get out of the way and stop interfering. I respectfully disagree.  Many need radical and rapid improvement lest they get lost to the inadequacies of teachers that know little of accelerating breathing development and subject themselves and their students/clients to the risks of illness, drugs and steroids that await those with undetected breathing under-development

(Well, of course singers and actors and so on need to do something with their voices. That is part of their training but here I am talking about just ordinary day to day breathing when we speak, walk, run, do our daily cores.) Learn to breathe optimally and they happen automatically.  I approach breathing from the perspective that when you develop it properly it helps the rest of the body come into alignment. The inner full bodied feel of breathing becomes intuitive and automatic.  You come from the body alignment that helps breathing. Different emphasis.   I integrate many things that do not exist in Alexander Technique.

One can teach different breathing techniques but if a pupil still has harmful unconscious habits, for example pulling their head back and locking their neck the pupil WILL do the breathing excercises with the pulled back head and a locked neck.  Pulled back head goes with shortened back which restricts the ribs to open up and side ways, and so on and so on... I agree. 

Here is only a taste of what the Alexander technique is about. It is a very hard to understand and people who want quick fixes will not stick with it! Optimal breathing is not about quick fixes or only breathing exercises.  It is about self help or aided hands-on diaphragm development techniques, exercises, breathing exercises, ergonomics, nutrition, attitude, sound production, vibrational healing and respiratory spiritual-psycho-physiology.

Our training is 3 years and it is intense with anatomy lessons (largely a waste of time) and lots of practical work to first improve our own use and then focusing working on pupils. I welcome your integrating Optimal Breathing Techniques into your Alexander Technique work.  A few New Yorkers are adding Stough's work into  Alexander Technique. My work is similar in some ways to Carl's but I believe it is as or more beneficial for most.  The length of my training is evolving but so far 5 years seems to be a minimum.  Breath is life. Study the breath, for life.

Alexander Technique is only 100 years old and unfortunately some of  the training schools in the world are not really Alexander Technique.....sad but true. My teacher John Nicholls was trained (over 20 years ago) by Walter Carrington who F.M. Alexander himself asked to continue his training school after he would die. My other great teacher Carolyn Nicholls is soon starting with other highly regarded Alexander Technique teachers setting standards for AT training schools so each student gets the best possible training and that the public can get the right idea of what we are about.

I would like to ask you kindly NOT to put together Alexander, Feldenkrais and Yoga. Alexander Technique is nothing like Yoga or Feldenkrais and it would be sad to give that impression to the public. To me they have striking similarities in the way they adjust the body to open up to easier breathing. 

Lots of voice work, breathing work, singing teachers and the like are doing work with the Alexander Technique teachers. Both ways it is rewarding. I agree that Alexander Technique is valuable. It is just not breathing specific. My work is. That is all I say about it.

If you tell me which State you live in I could tell you a good Alexander technique teacher that can clarify you what we Alexander people are teaching to our pupils. I have worked with teachers already. You have not worked with me and obviously know little of what I teach.  Optimal Breathing compliments ALL modalities because it relates specifically to breathing. I've not run across anything it will not augment. 
Kind of short notice but we have a space in a class near you next month if you want to opt in. (she did not. mw)
With Great Respect I wish you a nice day and hopefully I hear from you.