Qualifications and Experience
I hold teaching qualifications in Alexander Technique, ballet and Egyptian dance, as well as a Cert. Ed. and B.Ed. Hons in English and psychology. Yoga, Pilates, t’ai chi and many forms of movement and dance have been a regular part of my life for decades.
For the past thirty years I’ve been teaching classes in Alexander Technique and movement at the Letchworth Centre for Healthy Living, as well as workshops and residentials all over the UK, in Italy and on the beautiful Greek islands of Crete and Skyros . I teach private Alexander lessons in Hitchin and have a London practice on Mondays very near Liverpool Street station.
As a result of decades of dance, movement and Pilates studies plus the 3 year Alexander training course, some ten years ago I began to acquire a more immediate understanding of and “feel” for the movement qualities embodied in the great classical techniques of yoga and t’ai chi as well as other movement and dance forms.
Tentatively at first I began to experiment with new teaching methods in an attempt to convey the essence of the appropriate movement quality, employing a multidisciplinary approach, gentle partner work and vivid imagery. Many students visibly and rapidly integrated a broader range of movement qualities plus increased awareness and confidence in moving, and many reported ongoing benefits in everyday life.
TYPICAL MOVING MINDFULLY CLASS
A typical Moving Mindfully class opens with resting on the floor in semi supine to realign the back, flowing into thoughtful warm-ups and then more focused work on the limbs and deep core muscles. Coming carefully up to standing, we include some simple, effective hands-on partner work – it’s fun and often remarkably effective. After practicing some freely swinging t’ai chi style warm-ups we progress to a wide variety of standing work often culminating in quite a beautiful flowing on-the-spot dance !
Throughout the class very frequent, practical reference is made to the Alexander principles of good use of the self, with group and individual feedback from the teacher and frequent hands on help.
Alexander Technique is probably the single most important element in Moving Mindfully. Awareness of the head/neck/back relationship, safe optimal use of the joints and the ability to inhibit unhelpful tension habits are all essential for high quality, conscious movement.
For a full description of the technique plus history and major concepts read more here at www.stat.org.uk.
Michael Gelb in his excellent book Body Learning (AurumPress) quotes Dr Frank Pierce Jones’ definition of the technique: “a means for changing stereotyped response patterns by the inhibition of certain postural sets.” Some of the common postural “sets” we need to become aware of and inhibit are the tendency to pull the head back, shorten and tighten the neck, tighten the buttocks/knees/feet, tense the jaw – we could all add to the list. Such habits are almost universal amongst adults and militate against effective , enjoyable movement.