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THE ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE AND ME: My personal journey of self-discovery

I was in Istanbul with my partner, celebrating my birthday when my neck froze for the first time. We had visited Hagias Sofia in the morning, then went for an afternoon dip in an open-air thermal spa, followed by dinner in a tiny restaurant on the Bosporus. It had been a lovely day.

I woke up the next morning with my neck frozen in a spasm of pain, unable to turn my head sideways. At first, I blamed catching a draft at the spa and soldiered on through the day, exploring more of the city. Yet the pain persisted. A week later, on my return to London it was still there. And a week after that, it had not diminished at all.

With the pain coming and going, over the course of one year, I tried various therapies: some seemed to give me a few weeks or even a couple of month’s respite, some didn’t work at all. The pain and immobility, however, always came back. Suddenly, one day, I would wake up in pain, unable to turn my head. I was at my wits’ end, more and more unable to work, when a friend suggested I try the Alexander Technique.

Why not? I thought. So I gave the Technique a go. During the sessions, I learned that my slumped posture and tension habits over the years had contributed to my neck muscles becoming chronically tense trying to support my forward poking head. That any small trigger such as an extra hour at the computer or a bit of stress at work would be enough to send my over tense neck into spasm.  I learned to recognise my patterns of muscular tension and to change those habits to be more coordinated and poised.

I feel lucky to have discovered the Alexander Technique all those years ago. I was so intrigued to find that I not only could learn new skills to change my posture but that I had come across a powerful tool for personal development and self-awareness. Superfluous to say the pain never came back. 

Thus began my journey of self-discovery with the Alexander Technique. I decided then that I wanted to train to become a teacher. I qualified in early 2008 and I have been teaching full time since.

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