WHAT IS THE ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE?

In the picture above the teacher is guiding the pupil through a simple movement. Many postural habits will be revealed which the teacher will be able to influence and comment upon. The insight gained can then be applied to more complex everyday activities.

The Alexander Technique is a thorough and practical way to improve muscular use and achieve natural poise and comfort in balance and movement.

 

Training can 'free up' circulation, digestion, and breathing, help with stress-related disorders and help people improve their skills, posture and well being.

In the left-hand illustration below, for example, we see a distorted spine. Imagine how difficult it must be for those ribs to move sufficiently for comfortable breathing. Imagine how compressed all the internal organs must be under the weight of the upper body. 

A lot of people have a posture rather like this and are accustomed to it feeling normal. Some have to make do if their spine is damaged or diseased. Most don’t ever need to do this to themselves as it is a very inefficient use of energy.

The illustration on the right shows a better back posture for sitting at the computer. With training and practise you can become accustomed to sitting comfortably like this.

Expert Physical Training 

...with Oxford Alexander Technique Coach Jennifer Davy

Throughout our lives we inadvertently respond to situations by tensing our muscles. Over time we accumulate postural habits which create pressure in the body.

 

At best this pressure can lead to inefficient movement, at worst it can cause stress, pain and even structural damage. The aim of my work with the Alexander Technique in Oxford, is to help people identify their postural habits and eliminate the muscular pressure.

 

From a neuromuscular perspective this can benefit most individuals: athletes, actors, musicians, those in discomfort, those in business, those seeking poise or gravitas, young and old...

Call me on 07866 257033 or fill in the form below to arrange a lesson.

For a 5% discount on your first lesson, contact me and I will aim to reply within 2 days

WHAT HAPPENS IN A LESSON

Lessons usually last between 30 and 40 minutes. Although people generally find the experience very pleasant and relaxing, the effort the brain has to make is surprisingly intensive and would not be sustainable for a longer period of time.

A teacher will use verbal and manual guidance. We use our hands in a gentle, elastic way to determine where a person’s muscular misuse is and to encourage 'release,' 'direction,' and 'inhibition'. The touch is highly specialised and completely non-invasive. The teacher will explain aspects of the technique, direct specific activity or simply chat, depending on their own character and the needs of the student. The majority of influence comes through the teacher’s hands.

The lesson will include sitting on a chair or saddle; lying, fully clothed, on a couch; standing and engaging in simple activities while the teacher guides you. Your muscular habits will reveal themselves and everything you discover can then be applied to more complex everyday movements.

F. M. Alexander encouraging a pupil free up. Apparently his hands felt like suction pads and the moment he placed one on your head you would feel much taller!

HOW MANY LESSONS

1-2 will help you decide if the Alexander Technique is what you want or need. The principles of the technique should not vary and should feel roughly the same wherever you go. Teachers vary greatly and it's important to feel happy with the one you choose and the way they deliver the verbal part of the training.

 

8-10 will allow the teacher to cover the basic principles and give you the opportunity to put them into practice.

 

20-30 make sense in order to permanently alter the habits of a lifetime. Compare this to learning a sport or a musical instrument to get an idea of how long you need to develop a new skill.

 

Many people, myself included, have lessons for life. If you enjoy the process, enjoy self-improvement, or have a problem which always needs to be managed, having ongoing Alexander Technique lessons will always be of great benefit.

Whatever the number of lessons you have they are an investment in good use.

 

 

 

 

In summary, if you wish to improve your musical or athletic performance; if you're looking for relief from a chronic health problem like RSI, sciatica, back pain, arthritis, IBS, or many others; if you would like to improve the workplace habits of your employees, so they can be more productive; if you want to improve personal skills or just feel more comfortable then contact me through the form below, or by calling me on 07866 257033 :)

In this photo the teacher is encouraging the pupil to release pressure held in his neck and back.

For a 5% discount on your first lesson, contact me and I will aim to reply within 2 days

BA (Hons) 
MSTAT 
DBS checked

Basic First Aid Training

WHO I CAN HELP IN OXFORD

Anybody can learn the Alexander Technique, regardless of ability or age. All of us have a musculoskeletal system controlled by a brain. If we were able to learn to balance and move as a baby, then we can easily learn to improve on those skills now.

 

My oldest student was a nonagenarian, my youngest was a preschooler and my most challenged was a young man with brain damage and hypertonia on one side of his body. The most surprising pupil was a man who, mysteriously crippled, needed physical help from his parents to get to his lesson at a busy clinic and walked away unaided at the end, to everyone’s surprise! 

The Alexander Technique is the only solution that can address your fundamental 'use' of yourself. It's based on mechanical facts rather than something you have to believe in. It is not a quick fix: it is an investment of time in lessons that do require some effort. If you want to learn, the Technique will definitely help you to feel more comfortable in yourself. Beyond that people use lessons for hundreds of reasons, some of them entirely unexpected…

In my experience people have reported that it has helped:  

  • cure shyness, plantar fasciitis, sciatica, IBS, nail-biting, all sorts of pain and discomfort, RSI etc.

  • manage different forms of arthritis, Parkinson's, polio, scoliosis, stroke, obesity etc.

  • improve skill in golf, rock-climbing, voice projection, riding, swimming, singing, cycling, lifting etc.

  • avoid potentially risky surgery

  • save money and time by getting straight to the root of a problem

  • feel wonderful in themselves

  • feel confident and empowered

Additionally, medical research has proven that the Alexander Technique can be effective in curing back pain and neck pain.

 

The Technique is also taught at many performing arts colleges worldwide, including Trinity College of Music, RADA, and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. For people who need to get the best out of their own body, with minimum wear and tear, lessons are an essential part of the curriculum.

 

 

 

 

 

 

'131 million days were lost due to sickness absences in the UK in 2013: of these, 31 million days were from musculoskeletal conditions' 

Office for National Statistics

'Most of the pain-related lost productive time occurs while employees are at work and is in the form of reduced performance'

JAMA (Journal of American Medical Association)

Over the years, I've visited company sites and taught from their premises, instructing the employees on how to improve their workplace posture and habits of use. Having employees who are comfortable and efficient will reduce absenteeism, and this means that the Alexander Technique is seen by many company directors as a sensible investment.

This list gives a good idea of the wide variety of companies who have used the Alexander Technique in their workplace:

National Theatre                            Smith and Nephew                                           BBC  

G. E. Capital                                   Norwich Union                                                   Standard Chartered Bank

Reuters                                            Price Waterhouse Coopers                              News International

Ogilvy & Mather                             Norander                                                           BACS  

BP                                                    United Distillers                                                 Mercury Communication

The Independent                           Clifford Chance                                                 BFI Archives

British Nuclear Fuels                      Allan & Ovary                                                    BBC South

A & M Publishing                           Saatchi and Saatchi                                           Cornwall Business Associaton

Chemical Bank                               Kingston General Hospital                               Alan Tye Design

Eagle Star                                       Marks & Spencer                                               BMW

The Telegraph                                Simpsons of Piccadilly                                      Global Consumer Finance Ltd  

Whitbread                                      Royal Mail                                                           Shell UK

English Nature                               Civil Service                                                        Royal Free Hospital

Emap                                              Derwent Publishing                                           AA

  

                                                                                        

THE BUSINESS WORLD

For a 5% discount on your first lesson, contact me and I will aim to reply within 2 days

 

MY EXPERIENCE

I first had Alexander Technique lessons 35 years ago because of backache and plantar fasciitis. I injured my feet during a badly organised school expedition and for two years I could hardly walk or stand.

 

Lessons made my back feel so comfortable that I kept coming back for more and my feet gradually got better as my overall use of myself improved. By the time I began my teacher training I was thankfully able to run and dance on a daily basis.

I completed a three-year teacher training course with John and Carolyn Nicholls. They in turn trained with Walter Carrington, the man F. M. Alexander entrusted to take over his teacher training course when he died in 1955.

I was fortunate enough to have extensive training with first generation teachers, Walter Carrington, Peggy Williams and Tony Spawforth. I've taught for over 20 years and keep my work up to date by regularly attending refresher courses and lessons for teachers.

 

I've worked with a wide range of individuals from all walks of life and enjoy seeing how the technique can help in so many ways.

 

I've taught athletes, horse riders, osteopaths, musicians, doctors, stroke victims, children, the elderly, pregnant women, teachers, bank managers, farmers, engineers, oil-rig workers, lawyers, actors, and people in pain.

I've given presentations and introductory workshops to teachers conventions, chiropractors, osteopaths, Adult Education, the W.I., Young Farmers, U3A and a great number of interest groups.

In 2004 I participated in the National Back Pain Trial as one of the elected teachers. The trial proved that the Alexander Technique can cure lower back pain.

I have experience teaching all kinds of performers and for many years worked in the music departments of two prestigious independent schools. I used the technique in my own singing career and in public speaking.

My work has taken me to clinics, offices and schools across Southern England and briefly in Malaysia.

For a 5% discount on your first lesson, contact me and I will aim to reply within 2 days

 F.M. ALEXANDER 1869-1955

Frederick Matthias Alexander was born in Tasmania in 1869. As a young man he moved to Sydney, Australia where he became a successful actor.

 

After some time his career became seriously jeopardised by chronic vocal problems which he determined to cure himself without medical aid. During this process he made groundbreaking discoveries about the use of muscles in human balance and movement.

 

He realised that faulty 'use of the self' could explain much of human suffering and began helping others. By the time he moved to England at the turn of the century he and his special technique were well known and well received. He spent the rest of his life developing his teaching methods, eventually training others to teach and publishing a number of books. His love of theatre remained but was overshadowed by this pioneering work. F. M. Alexander died in 1955 but his principle lives on through the work of teachers worldwide.

 

From early childhood his other great passion was horses. He was a skilled rider and had an eye for a good horse. His minute attention to the efficiency of movement in horses along with similar observation of himself while acting lead to his understanding of the 'Primary Control' and the beginning of his unique journey. Aldous Huxley, one of F. M. Alexander’s many famous students, believed this discovery to be on a par with Einstein’s theory of relativity. Without doubt many would agree!

People apply the Alexander Technique to whatever they do in life - it can be used in any political, religious, spiritual, or social context. Somebody once asked F. M. Alexander what would happen if he taught a thief, expecting him to say the individual would be reformed, but instead he laughed and said the man would probably become a better thief!

 
 
 
 

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GET IN TOUCH

Jennifer Davy

The Practice Rooms

The Old Bakehouse

2A South Parade

Oxford

OX2 7JL

jenidavy18@gmail.com

Tel: 07866 257033

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