Expect the Unexpected

67 unexpected pic3

If you’ve ever had lessons, you will know what the Alexander Technique does for you.  Even if you’ve just read up on it, there are certain things that people talk about and write about all the time.  Better posture, less pain, more relaxation, easier movement.  There’s a good reason for this: these are the hallmark benefits of the Technique.

But every now and again, lessons throw up something unexpected.

This week I was chatting to one of the ladies in my latest beginner’s class.  She loves the Technique.  It’s given her something she’s been looking for a long time – a way to change her movement and get rid of her stoop.  Already this is good.  Then she casually mentioned, ‘Oh, and I’ve stopped getting palpitations as well.’

Palpitations?  Wow!

Of all the things you expect from the Alexander Technique, would ‘stopping palpitations’ be on the list?  Not on mine.  But my student has stopped them.  She thinks it’s related to opening herself up physically and allowing her body to function more naturally, which I reckon is a pretty good explanation.

And she’s not alone in finding something truly unexpected in her lessons.  Recently teacher Bruce Fertman wrote about a remarkable transformation in his adopted baby son(*), from sickly, silent, unresponsive to outgoing, hungry, interactive.  All through using his hands-on skills when cradling the infant.

Many years ago I astonished my nearest and dearest by suddenly acquiring the ability to throw straight.  Of course, it wasn’t sudden, it was the result of quite a long period of Alexander work, but none of them believed the Technique could possibly achieve such an odd result.  It did.

And then there’s the first story of all: FM Alexander, the man who developed the Alexander Technique.  What did it do for him?  It stopped him losing his voice.  Pretty important for an actor.  But would ‘not losing your voice on stage’ be on your list of things you expect from the Alexander Technique?  Not on mine.

So when you start out on Alexander lessons you can expect improved posture, easier movement, less pain.  But when you open the box, be prepared for the unexpected.

(* )http://peacefulbodyschool.com/2013/11/19/the-theology-of-touch/#comment-8753
image courtesy of  www.123rf.com

CNHC and ITM registered Alexander Technique teacher.

Tagged with: , , ,
Posted in change, improvement
9 comments on “Expect the Unexpected
  1. janet allen says:

    Hi Karen Miss our lessons, but hope that I do remember your instructions in my ear several times a day, especially when running!

  2. Hi Karen. I’m always surprised by what my students’ get from their lessons. Recently, one of them came very excited to a lesson and told me she had realized that she became tense at social gatherings and tended to overeat or overdrink as a coping mechanism. Now that she’s more self-aware she says she can cope in more healthy ways.

  3. Victoria, that’s a wonderful story! Another one I would not have put on my ‘what can it do’ list. There are so many stories out there. Thanks for sharing. Karen

  4. awbrimmer says:

    I savor those moments when a student casually mentions, “oh by the way…” like some offhand remark, and then they share something hugely significant that the AT has provided for them. Like, “oh that ringing in my ears has gone away,” or “my migraines have stopped.” One time a student told me that she no longer felt “completely suicidal” when she got her period each month. “So once a month you’ve been thinking about killing yourself?” I asked. Turns out that, yes, she felt truly suicidal every 28-35 days. (hormones I’m sure.) I’d never advertise my work as a suicide prevention method, but it worked for this young woman. 🙂
    Great blog post, thanks.

  5. Fran Engel says:

    Nice points; here is Bruce’s compelling story about his adopted son in his own words: http://peacefulbodyschool.com/tag/where-this-path-begins/
    I believe that Alexander technique is a completely viable means to tap the unknown for new discoveries. It’s a practical way of expanding your tolerance for noticing unanticipated improvements. These discoveries have a way of flying over our heads precisely because we don’t imagine or expect they could be happening. But that’s the signature of a discovery – possibly being completely unexpected!
    A common surprise is that unexpected height gain has been reported by adults who study A.T.
    For me, after joining the teacher-training course, in the second month of it somehow I noticed that I had gained 3/4 of an inch in height, (when I was 27 years old.) It may have happened earlier, but I only discovered it because I had returned to visit a friend’s house where he’d marked all the heights of all the people he knew on a wall, along with the growing heights of his kids.
    Also interesting is now that I am sixty, I haven’t lost any height as commonly happens to older adults.

    • Hi Fran, the link between what we expect and what we notice is a very interesting one – I’m sure there is a whole separate blog in there somewhere. I’m so glad you said about not losing your height. My (female) relatives are all many inches shorter now they are older, and I’m counting on the AT to stop me going the same way. Karen

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