Mindful Swimming with Chie Cross
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Why Not Come for a Lesson?
The picture on the left is of FM Alexander himself.

If you wish to read about his work, commonly known as "The Alexander Technique," a great place to start is Marjory Barlow's 1965 FM Alexander Memorial Lecture.

But what Alexander called "the Work," in its essence, is beyond words.

So if you want to find out what the work is really about, why not come for a one-to-one lesson with Chie?

What Happens in a Lesson? What Happens in a Lesson?

A one-to-one lesson at the Middle Way Re-education Centre lasts for a minimum of 40 minutes. The beginning and end of each lesson generally consists of several minutes of "chair work" -- learning to give up superfluous effort in the simple activities of sitting and standing.

The middle of the lesson is usually devoted to "lying down work." In lying down work, you will be encouraged to give up the desire to feel right, and the desire to do anything in response to orders such as "let the neck be free." You may be encouraged further, for example, to totally give up the desire to move a leg -- and yet move the leg!  For a detailed description of what this kind of work entails, here is a first-hand account by Mike of a typical lesson with Marjory Barlow.

Through these Zen-like paradoxes of not trying to be right and yet working on the self, and of giving up the idea of  moving a leg and yet moving it, teacher and student investigate as a joint adventure what it is to make a decision, and what it is to allow a movement.

As an indirect result of this kind of work, specific problems like back-ache may clear up. Or they may not. The desire to get some specific result is a variation on the theme of trying to feel or be right, and so Alexander work requires us not to be guided by, but rather to give up, that kind of desire (which is called, in Alexander jargon "end-gaining").

Our Alexander Studio in Norwich

After moving to Norwich in September 2016, we built an Alexander studio in our back garden in Penryn Close (a stone's throw from the entrance to UEA on Bluebell Road).

It is a quiet and bright space, with everything one needs for an Alexander lesson -- a chair to practise sitting and standing...

... and a table for lying down work.

Going Back to Basics Going Back to Basics

The pelvis and the legs are separate at the hip joints, but when we bend many of us use the pelvis as if it were part of the legs -- which can easily lead to lower back problems.

The photo on the right shows Alexander using his hands to help a girl understand that the pelvis belongs to the back. FM has guided the girl into what we sometimes call the "monkey" position, and is asking her to let her head lead her whole body up as she sends her knees forwards and away from each other.

When the whole body is allowed to lengthen and expand like this, so that every part of the body is tending away from the nearest joint, all sorts of functions like breathing, digestion and circulation benefit indirectly.

Alexander Work In the Water
  Chie has 20 years experience helping nervous swimmers and non-swimmers to learn how to love being in the water. She works in the water with the student, using gentle hands-on guidance to give a new experience of freedom from tension.

Alexander Work for Mother & Baby, and for the Developing Child

The essentials of Alexander work are the same for children and adults alike:

- learning to say "No"

- consciously sending messages from the brain to parts of the body

- going into movement.

AT is very beneficial for mothers during pregnacy and in childbirth, and Chie loves to work also with mother and baby together -- whether on dry land or in a swimming pool.

FM Alexander was born in 1869; he was born two months premature and was not expected to live. He was beset from birth onwards with respiratory difficulites, which the technique he evolved later solved, indirectly. This personal history caused Alexander to be far ahead of his time in his understanding the obstacles to healthy development and growth of a human being. His understanding is reflected in the hierarchy of the traditional Alexander directions for (1) neck, (2) head, (3) torso, and (4) limbs.

As a child develops, he or she can gradually learn how to say "No" to the sending of unwanted messages  -- all in the context of playing games and having fun -- and to send new messages for the neck to be free,  the head to go forward and up, the back to lengthen and widen, and the knees to go forwards and away...!

Alexander work can be particularly beneficial for children who were born prematurely (see Alexanderbabies.com); for children with symptoms of dyslexia & dyspraxia caused by immature Primitive Reflexes; and for children who are poor at Listening.

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