Comments

Freeing Alexander’s Dream from the Cage of his Technique — 7 Comments

  1. Great post, Robert!
    I wish there were organizations dedicated to helping Alexander Technique students and teachers, instead of safeguarding “THE Alexander Technique”. We teachers are the Alexander Technique, and WE need safeguarding.

  2. I agree Mark. The sad thing is they don’t know what they don’t know. By “they” I mean the people running them who are trying to do the right thing in what is a pretty thankless job.

    Robert

  3. There is always a tension in any field of learning between innovators and safeguarders of the tradition.I know this well from my own experience as a student of Ayurveda (Traditional Indian Medicine). As you can imagine the weight of tradition weighs even more heavily in a field as old as that!

    Anyone interested in the idea of putting ‘specialised’ healthcare knowledge back in the hands of the common man should read Ivan Illich’s book Medical Nemesis. Not an easy read, but fascinating.

    Anyway, I, for one, thank you Robert, for your willingness to respectfully question the tradition. One thing I have wondered though, listening to your many podcasts concerning innovations in Alexander directions is that success with new directions might be due to the freshness of a change, rather than any inherent superiority in the new directions. Perhaps everyone needs to change the way they direct from time to time, in order not to fall into unnoticed habits, and to keep them more ‘in the moment’? And we need to be aware that successes of a few students or teachers with a new technique by no means constitutes rigorous research. Any thoughts on these questions?

  4. Hi Gavin,

    I have indeed read that and several others of Illich’s books – an amazing guy.

    I don’t think the success of the new directions is due to their novelty – I and other teachers have used them with students who had no knowledge of earlier directions and our experience is that they are more effective. As you say, however, this does not constitute rigorous research. So I guess a definitive answer will take time to uncover.

    On the other hand, has there been rigorous research for any directions? When I was training 30 plus years ago, there were a great many variations on AT directions, and a great many different interpretations of what they meant.

    Robert

    • Yes, I guess it would indeed be difficult to design a truly high quality trial to assess the effectiveness of various different directions. Impossible probably!

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