COMPANION

Sports and Fitness

Aikido is a modern Japanese martial art developed by Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969). Aikido is often translated as ‘the way of harmony’ or ‘the way of unifying life energy’. A key element of Aikido is to defend yourself while also protecting your attacker from injury. Aikido techniques consist of entering and turning movements that redirect the momentum of an opponent's attack, and are therefore characterised by agile, free and expansive movements, and not strength or brute force. Several Alexander Technique teachers practise or have practised Aikido and some...
‘Believing isn’t seeing’ by Missy Vineyard Ehrgood; on keeping the eye on the ball when batting.[1] See also Eyes and Vision. References [1] ‘Believing isn’t seeing’ by Missy Vineyard Ehrgood in AmSAT News issue no. 68 (Fall 2005), pp. 21–24.
‘I think, therefore I am’ by Tom Michel; on how spatial thinking helped shooting more accurately, and how the fear of missing the shot interfered with shooting.[1] References [1] ‘I think, therefore I am’ by Tom Michel in AmSAT News issue no. 76 (Spring 2008), pp. 17, 19.
Carl Stough (1926–2000) developed a way of approaching breathing which has similarities with the Alexander Technique. His method is used by some Alexander Technique teachers. Jessica Wolf, a teacher of the Technique, developed a teaching based on Stough’s method called ‘The Art of Breathing’. Writings and video ‘Misconceptions about breathing’ by Jessica Wolf.[1] ‘Jessica Wolf’s Art of Breathing’ by Jessica Wolf.[2] Jessica Wolf’s Art of Breathing: Rib animation [DVD].[3] References [1] ‘...
F. M. Alexander F. M. Alexander mentions using the principles of his technique for learning cycling in MSI: I have personal knowledge of a person who, by employing the principles of conscious control which I advocate, mounted and rode a bicycle downhill without mishap on the first attempt, and on the second day rode 30 miles out and 30 miles back through normal traffic.[1] According to Walter Carrington this person was Alexander himself.[2] Articles ‘A two wheel essay’ by Barry Collins covers how the Alexander Technique changes his cycling, with some general...
A large inflatable ball for gym work, also known as physioball or Swiss ball. Writings – Articles ‘Have a ball!’ by Cathy Pollock on using a gym ball in Alexander Technique lessons, with five different activities.[1] ‘The Alexander Technique and the exercise ball’ by Posie Robins Roth contains activities for using a gym ball in an Alexander Technique class.[2] Books Roy Palmer, in his book, Zone Mind, Zone Body, uses an exercise ball for the purpose of staying balanced while sitting on the ball.[3] Master the Art of Working Out by Malcolm...
Fascial Unwinding (FU) is a therapy through which physical and emotional blocks can be released. ‘An introduction to fascial unwinding’ by Mika Hadar-Borthwick; the author has worked with Fascial Unwinding often in conjunction with the Alexander Technique.[1] ‘Fascia release: Unlocking the psychophysical library’ by Mika Hadar-Borthwick presents a seven step guide to fascia release which she regards as a complementary therapeutic tool to the Alexander Technique.[2] References [1] ‘An introduction to fascial unwinding’ by Mika Hadar-...
The Feldenkrais Method is a type of exercise therapy devised by Moshé Feldenkrais (1904–1984). Feldenkrais and F. M. Alexander Moshe Feldenkrais had lessons in the Alexander Technique with Walter Carrington in the 1940s. When Feldenkrais’ book, Body and Mature Behaviour, came out in 1949, F. M. Alexander was alerted to it, and upon reading it, realised that many ideas were based, unacknowledged, on Alexander’s books and work. Alexander had a brief conversation with Feldenkrais about it, and decided that Feldenkrais could have no more lessons.[1] For more details...
Fitness in general; includes general exercising, working out. F. M. Alexander F. M. Alexander is reported to have discouraged exercises, dance, sports and other activities while people were having lessons and when he thought these activities were detrimental to their use.[1] This attitude has sometimes been inferred as a discouragement of exercises and activities in general, and reluctance by some teachers of the Technique to pursue sports. However, F. M. Alexander was a devoted horse rider, and several first generation teachers pursued activities: Wilfred Barlow was a keen skier,...
F. M. Alexander F. M. Alexander never played golf but had a number of pupils who were keen golf players, among them professional golf players. Hence there are several references to golf in Alexander literature. Alexander, in his 1925 lecture, said: I wrote a technique for golf and I never played golf in my life, and yet Dunn, the famous golfer, said, ‘Ah, yes, that’s right, that is it.’[1] F. M. Alexander on golf A comprehensive discussion of a difficulty with golf is given in the third chapter of UoS, ‘The Golfer Who Cannot Keep his Eyes on the Ball....
‘Can Barshim become king of the high jump?’ by Seán Carey considers the evolutionary significance of running and jumping and what we can learn from skilled high jumpers.[1] References [1] ‘Can Barshim become king of the high jump?’ by Seán Carey in STATNews vol. 8, no. 8 edited by Jamie McDowell (STAT, January 2015), pp. 16–17.
F. M. Alexander F. M. Alexander was a keen horse rider but there is no record of him teaching people horse riding or on a horse, nor does he discuss horse riding in his writings. Horse riding and the Alexander Technique As the sensitivity and appropriate muscular tonus developed in the Alexander Technique is ideal for riding, it has been taken up by many horse riders, and there are several horse riding instructors who are also Alexander Technique teachers. The use of saddle work in ordinary lessons by some teachers has made the Technique of even more obvious relevance to riders...
Laban movement analysis is a method and language for describing, visualising, interpreting and documenting movement. It is based on the work of Rudolf Laban (1879–1958), and developed and extended by Irmgard Bartenieff (1900–1981) and others. ‘Body-mind therapies – A sensory based comparison of systems’ by Aileen Crow reports on a meeting September 1985 of seven Alexander Technique teachers, some of whom are trained in Laban Movement Analysis.[1] References [1] ‘Body-mind therapies – A sensory based comparison of systems’ by...
Writings ‘The martial arts are not mere forms of exercise, but methods of conscious control and awareness in movement. They share with the Alexander Technique such ideas and principles as use and function, means whereby, doing and non-doing, and giving directions, to name but a few.’ Ari Gil in ‘Alexander’s principles and the martial arts’.[1] Martial Arts– The Spiritual Dimension by Peter Payne (Thames and Hudson, 1981) mentions the Alexander Technique.[2] See also Aikido. References [1] ‘Alexander’s principles...
Françoise Mézières (1909–91) was a French physiotherapist who developed her own method, which posthumously has been named ‘Postural Reconstruction’. ‘The use and abuse of anatomy’ by Joel Carbonel, a teacher of the Alexander Technique, argues, like Mézières, that back musculature is too strong and shortened, and therefore it goes against the conclusions of Dr David Garlick’s observations. (In the same issue David Gorman replies.)[1] References [1] ‘The use and abuse of anatomy’ by Joel...
The first generation Alexander Technique teachers Richard and Elisabeth Walker were keen mountaineers, but did not write specifically on the subject. There are references to their mountaineering in Elisabeth Walker’s memoirs, Forward and Away.[1] Writings ‘A higher education’ by Paul Work is the author’s experience of using the Alexander Technique for mountaineering.[2] References [1] Forward and Away by Elisabeth Walker (Mouritz, 2014 [2008]) [2] ‘A higher education’ by Paul Work in The Alexander Journal no. 1 edited by Edward...
Joseph Pilates (1880–1967) developed a system of exercises which puts emphasis on alignment, breathing, and developing a strong core, and improving balance. Pilates called his method ‘Contrology’ but it is today known as ‘Pilates’. Writings – Books The Mind Body Workout – With Pilates and The Alexander Technique by Lynne Robinson and Helge Fisher.[1] Writings – Articles ‘Teaching a Pilates mat class with an Alexander agenda’ by Diane Young Sussman introduces Pilates and how the Alexander Technique can inform...
F. M. Alexander on rowing in UCL F. M. Alexander criticises the attitude of rowers in a picture published in The Evening Standard in 1939 with the caption ‘Determination mirrored in their faces’, and reproduced in UCL. Alexander writes: I have carefully studied the expression on the faces of the young men in the picture, but have failed to find any justification for the above caption. Four of them look as if they were being tortured on the rack, three as if in a trance, and just one, the third from the left, as if he had taken part in a rowing race and had the right...
Books The Art of Running by Malcolm Balk and Andrew Shields.[1] Master the Art of Running by Malcolm Balk, Andrew Shields.[2] Articles ‘Style in walking and running – A re-education problem’ by Paul Collins; on the importance of ‘giving consent’, as a basis for the re-education of running.[3] ‘Running and the Alexander Technique’ by Malcolm Balk; on the importance of establishing ‘basics’ in runners, such as improving awareness of misuse, establishing a pattern of good use, clarifying conception, etc.[4] ‘Out...
‘Sailing your own ship’ by Shelagh Aitken explores the connections between sailing and the Alexander Technique; many Alexander Technique principles apply on board a boat, and the applications of the Technique to a variety of typical sailing activities are discussed.[1] References [1] ‘Sailing your own ship’ by Shelagh Aitken in Conscious Control vol. 2 no. 1, edited by Jean M. O. Fischer (Mouritz, 2008), pp. 6–19.

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