The Alexander Technique – bodywork or 'consciousness work'?
For me the Alexander Technique is consciousness work. My current favourite sentence from FM’s writing is “We must always remember that the vast majority of human beings live very narrow lives, doing the same thing and thinking the same thoughts day by day, and it is this very fact that makes it so necessary that we should acquire conscious control of the mental and physical powers as a whole…”
It sums up what the work is about: teaching people to acquire conscious control, not of their bodies but of THEMSELVES: conscious control of their mental and physical powers, so that they can stop leading narrow lives. Yes, their necks free and their posture improves, but they are learning how to get off autopilot and make new, conscious choices in their lives.
FM said that we have separated mind, body and spirit, so his idea of a ‘co-ordinated, indivisible whole’ must include ‘spirit’. If so, we’re teaching coordination; not of the body, not of mind and body, but of mind, body and spirit. He also said that the conscious mind must be quickened. ‘Quickened’ is an old-fashioned word for ‘more alive’, so he’s saying that the conscious mind must be made more alive.
He said disparaging things about the poor Use of ‘savages’, but I don’t think it’s likely he ever met any. I suspect that, to survive, a hunter-gatherer would need to have excellent Use – mind, body and spirit well co-ordinated. Wide, flexible consciousness, a freely moveable body, and authentic emotions.
In this class I’ll share how I teach the work without using classic ‘procedures’ or ever asking anyone to free their necks; teaching how to get off autopilot and make new, conscious choices. We’ll experiment with ways to teach our pupils to ‘access’, or ‘enhance’, their primary control simply by quickening the conscious mind. I’ll explain what I think FM meant by ‘spirit’, and we’ll find out how coordinating mind, body and spirit leads to ‘hunter-gatherer Use’, with a higher state of consciousness and little awareness of our bodies.
About Peter Nobes
Peter Nobes has been teaching the Alexander Technique since 1993. He is based in central London and has taught the Alexander work in thirteen countries on three continents.
Peter has been training teachers since 2013. He delivered the Keynote Speech at the ATI conference in 2016, and the second edition of his book ‘Mindfulness in 3D – the Alexander Technique for the 21st Century’ was published in 2020.
When he isn’t teaching, Peter builds wooden boats and then rows, paddles and sails them.
See also: Peter Nobes – Presenter Detail Page
Tue & Wed / Fri & Sat
9-11h & 15-17h / alternating
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Practical Teaching Skills