I will be taking a break from teaching over the festive season:
Lunchtime Sat 22nd Dec. - resuming teaching Thursday 3rd Jan.
Next Introductory Workshop will be held on 20th January to celebrate
F M Alexander's 150th Birthday
Watch this space for further details
Don't forget to keep up with the AT over the holidays!
You might like to try lying down with your feet resting on a chair for a change. It's a good way to help your legs and lower back free-up and a useful variation of position you can use for the Active Rest procedure.
We recently ran a very successful event for Alexander Technique Week 2018, the theme of which was 'Stress? Take it Lying Down'. I am very grateful to The Old Church N16 as they kindly allowed me to use the premises for free, as we were fundraising for the local charity Safaplace. I also want to thank my colleague Jessamy Harvey, for all her help in setting up and running the event.
Over forty people enjoyed lying down in Semisupine!
The Church looked beautiful and very atmospheric with all the candles and low lighting! We were fortunate to have two speakers from Safaplace, Sarah Finke and Rose White who gave moving accounts about the formation of the charity and why it was set up in order to promote the positive mental health of schoolchildren.
I then described how the Alexander Technique can help us cope with stress as well as helping us be more poised and how the AT explores the mind-body relationship, helping us to unlearn habits we've developed that can interfere with the way our bodies need to work.
Caroline Sears followed with a talk about Alexander in Education and how the AT has been introduced into over 80 schools and colleges in the UK and in many institutions around the world, helping students handle exam and performance stresses, for instance.
Then it was lie-down time and The Old Church was full of quiet bodies as Natasha Broke talked people through the Active Rest procedure. Along with the teachers already mentioned, Daniela Sangiorgio and Thodoris Ziarkas joined us to give people a brief hands-on experience whilst lying down. All the teachers assisting on this event are registered with STAT and are alumni of LCATT, an AT teacher training course where I am a visiting teacher.
Six AT teachers gave mini taster sessions
Finally, we gave some mini taster hands-on turns to those that wished to explore the AT a little more and the bar was open for people to enjoy. Thanks to Janet Foster who looked after the door and all the other friends who ran the bar and helped us out and who, like all the AT teachers, offered their time and services for free.
Donations to Safaplace
I am pleased to say that we raised over £423 for Safaplace - thanks to the generosity of all the participants!
If you would like to read more about Safaplace and / or would like to donate to them, you can do so here: https://safaplace.org/
Candlelit event in London's only surviving Elizabethan Church
I am running this event with three AT colleagues, as part of International Alexander Technique Week 2018. Jessamy Harvey, Caroline Sears and Daniela Sangiorgio all trained at LCATT where I am a visiting teacher. The event is also fundraising for local charity Safaplace, which was formed to promote the positive mental health of children in Stoke Newington School and in the local area.
Come and hear about Safaplace charity
Learn how the Alexander Technique can help you manage stress
I had lessons in classical ballet from the age of 5 and serious training began from the age of 11 when I became a boarder at the Royal Ballet School. It was sometimes wildly exciting and it was great to visit the Royal Opera House, sometimes sitting in the Royal Box during rehearsals! But life was very pressurised and quite stressful - I was put on diets to slim down and I acquired strains to my achilles and lower back, as I tried (too) hard to increase my flexibility. My body was always under examination and deemed to be lacking and, looking back, I can understand that it didn't seem to belong to me. However, in my late teens I was accepted into the Sadler's Wells Opera Ballet (now ENO) where I happily performed for a number of years. I met my opera-singer husband and first heard about the Alexander Technique there but sadly did not have AT lessons then as they would have helped me.
Hilary King performing with Sadlers Wells Opera, Welsh National Opera and BBC TV
Build-up of Stress
Rolling on some years, I gave up dancing so that I could be where my husband worked
(as women still tended to do back then). I had children, got divorced and then my ex moved abroad. I needed to re-train so I could earn some money. I studied for a degree majoring in Psychology and was in one of the last groups of people that were truly fortunate to be able to study for free.
The degree was hard to do as a mature student and single parent with 2 small children - then my mother died suddenly of a heart attack. Life had become extremely stressful and I was concerned that if I went on my health would deteriorate and I would end up like my mother.
Then I discovered that one of my Psychology lecturers, Peter Ribeaux, also taught the Alexander Technique at college, so I dived in and took AT lessons. I began to gain tools that I could use to calm myself down and clear my head. I studied better, got better marks and was less cranky with my long-suffering children. Learning and using the lying down procedure in particular helped transform me, as it gave me an immediate tool to help myself with. The AT work also helped me with my old back strain and I learned to listen to my body, 'regaining' it and discovering what it needed, rather than my just trying to make it perform for me - as I had been trained to do all through those ballet years.
Semi-Supine Emergency Kit!
I gained my degree - just missing a first - which was sad but also wonderful, as I'd not even had any A levels, because ballet dancers were not deemed to have brains in those days and we did not have that option at the RBS. I then explored the idea of training in dance therapy and did some psychotherapy training but finally decided to train as an Alexander teacher, because I was so impressed by the hugely beneficial changes that had come about in me through having AT lessons.
I commenced my training at the Ribeaux school and completed it at the North London Teacher Training Course run by Misha Magidov, qualifying in 1987. I have had many happy years of teaching and am very grateful that I've been able to work in such a wonderful discipline that helps me look after myself in both my my mind and body, as I teach others how to do the same.