What is Contemporary Alexander?

Alexander Work is the study of the quality of your life.
It teaches you how to make profound, conscious, life-altering choices –
beyond rules or expectations, beyond both habit and knowledge.

Alexander Technique, the ‘Work’ based on the principles of F.M. Alexander, is a practical, hands-on study of the principles of coordination, movement, habit, and awareness, which teaches you how to release pain and tension, rediscover excellence, ease, strength, flexibility, grace, and joy, and realize conscious choice in every activity of life.

How Can Contemporary Alexander Teachers Help You?

We simply observe how you do whatever you do. We observe with kindness and clarity. We watch you do what is important to you, and what is not quite working the way you want it to work. It could be walking up or down the steps, or singing a song, or playing the cello. It could be relating to people at work, or at home. For some it is speaking in front of people, or being more comfortable at your computer. It might be practicing Yoga, Pilates, or Tai Chi. Maybe what is important to you is swing dancing, or tango, or weaving, or pottery, or painting.

Whatever it is, we watch you with a benevolent eye. We see what you are doing well, and we perceive what is interfering with what you want to do. We help you notice your interference. It might be a subtle tightening, or holding your breath, or it might be an idea you have about how to do your task. Often we use our hands, always respectfully and without force, until you undo what you are doing that’s getting in your way. Pleasure, comfort, and ease return. You learn how to help yourself.

Who Studies Contemporary Alexander Work?

  • Anyone who wants the tools to change their life.
  • Anyone who is physically uncomfortable due to stress, tension, postural habits, movement problems, old injuries, or poor self-image.
  • Performing artists and teachers of performing artists.
  • Athletes, martial artists, fitness/Pilates/Gyro teachers, yoga instructors.
  • Equestrians, Centered Riding/Natural Horsemanship teachers and students
  • Bodyworkers, movement therapists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, counselors, psychologists, chiropractors, and physicians (CEU’s available for most health care practitioners)

Why Study Contemporary Alexander Work?

  • We learn to replace habitual life patterns with new, more conscious choices. Through study, we become capable of redirecting excessive effort into useful energy, and creating the experiences we desire.
  • Regaining deep structural support, we can relieve chronic pain, restore balance flexibility and strength, refine the use of our bodies as an instrument of artistry, regain conscious awareness within our daily life, and rediscover the sheer pleasure of movement and life.
  • The Alexander Work teaches us how to be relaxed and ready, soft and strong, light and substantial, firm and flexible, awake to ourselves and to the world.

Contemporary and Classical Styles

All Alexander Teachers bring their own unique qualities and expertise to the Work.  There are also ‘classical’ and ‘contemporary’ lineages/styles of teaching the Work.  The Alexander Alliance International schools are in the lineage of Marjorie Barstow of Lincoln NE, the first person Alexander trained to become a teacher.

A ‘contemporary’ style of teaching helps the student apply the principles of the Work directly to the activities and situations of their daily and professional lives.  For example, a student would learn to incorporate Alexander’s principles while playing an instrument, throwing a pot, typing on a computer, riding a horse, or taking a walk.  Lessons can therefore happen on a ski mountain, at a symphony rehearsal, in a professional kitchen, during an acting class, at a dental office, etc.  Rather than learning the principles only through the original ‘classical’ studies and then having to apply that information on your own when actually doing the activity in the ‘real’ situation, contemporary teachers use the activity itself as a vehicle for teaching the principles.

At CAS, we go to where people are actually doing the activities of their lives, so that they have real-life stimuli and timing.  We have students perform their activity with their actual tools or instruments – or we re-create it as best as possible.  Likewise, we attempt to create realistic emotional situations so students can work with their habitual stress responses.  Our graduates can impart the essence of Alexander’s principles in the realistic situations of the student’s life.

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