Ball, Larry - The Alexander Technique
Teaching the beauty of functioning well and wisely in life
|Address:||308 C Street
San Rafael, CA 94901-4919
THE STUDY OF THE ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE
AS TAUGHT BY LARRY BALL
Learn the beauty of actively using yourself well and wisely in life and regain your natural well-being, wholeness, health and vitality through learning the Alexander Technique - a more than century's old practice of psycho-physical education.
There is an ancient Buddhist saying: All haste is a form of violence.
To learn to slow yourself, to become conscious of what you are doing with yourself in all your daily movements, to allow yourself to receive the help of the vitality within you and the earth's embrace, and to then be able to allow your body's wisdom to create spontaneous changes in your movements within any activity - these are some of the ideas of this work. Through these ideas and others, you have the opportunity to regain your natural well-being, wholeness, health and vitality.
These changes of consciousness help you give up habitual ways that interfere with your natural movements and actions. In doing so you become not only a beautiful creature in movement, but also a healthier, stronger, happier, wiser, human being. This is no small thing.
The individual benefits of this work include:
Greater consciousness of your breathing, movements, choices and actions.
Greater consciousness of your relationship with the earth and animals
Moving and breathing with ease, vitality and flexibilty
A much stronger and more flexible spine
Tuning into your animal senses
Improvement in performance and skills
Allowing all your bones to move as you breathe
The ability to sense and act upon creative messages from your body
Regaining your vital and abundent energies
Healing of mind
Healing of chronic pain
Healing from trauma
Regaining youthful vitality and flexibility
Freedom from unnecessary fears
Freedom from excess stress
Presence of mind
A greater sense and understanding of yourself
WHAT IS IT ALL ABOUT:
Any words I write here can only be a rough approximation of what your study of the Alexander Technique involves and what it can give you. You have to experience the work for yourself in a lesson with a teacher to appreciate and understand it. However, I will give you an intellectual overview and description.
The Alexander Technique teaches us to become conscious of unconscious habits - habits that can prevent us from making more natural and authentic choices in our movement, breathing, action and being. These habits result in many of us having difficulties within our bodies (e.g. chronic neck and back pain ), within our minds (e.g. excessive stress), and within our personal and professional lives (e.g. less than desired levels of functioning and/or performance).
With this new perspective on ourselves, we learn that our habitual ways of moving, breathing and acting significantly influence the quality of our lives. Given the damaging effects of our culture and society upon us - and their consequent expression in our individual habits - these influences far too often cause serious problems for us in our bodies, minds, psyches and spirits.
Once made conscious of these habits and their effects, the Alexander Technique teaches us how to prevent these same habits from continuing. More importantly, we then can learn to allow and recognize the more natural and authentic choices that spontaneously appear as we make use of Alexander's unique and fundamental discovery - the primary movement in humans. The primary movement is Alexander's term for the inborn dynamic relationship between our head and our body in both rest and in movement. The existence of the primary movement has since been recognized in science as existing in all vertabrates. Up until the time of Alexander's discovery of the primary movement in the late 19th century it was unknown in Western culture.
The use of the primary movement brings about a subtle yet obvious and profound change in the co-ordination, balance and freedom of our entire body when we allow our head to move in a delicate manner separate and apart from our body. Most of us continuously interfere with the functioning of our primary movement. This interference manifests in an unconscious grabbing of our head onto our spine and a tightening and stiffening of our entire body. This results in our loss of a great deal of the wholeness, authenticity, health and vitality we received as newborns. As we are one being implicitly connected to everything both within and without us, this loss takes place not only within our body, but also within our mind, psyche and spirit. This is why any change in our body's functioning changes everything about us.
With the help of a teacher's touch and words students learn to allow the use of the primary movement on their own. This process is, on the one hand, simple and, on the other hand, elusive.
However, the effort is well worth the work. The outcomes of this creative process are ever new experiences of ourselves in our movement, breathing, action and being. With these new possibilities we learn to rid ourselves of such difficulties as chronic pain and excessive stress, as well as difficutlies in functioning and performing in our personal and professional lives. We then have the opportunity to regain our birthright of wholeness, authenticity, health and vitality.
The Alexander Technique also teaches us to free ourselves from the overuse of our thinking function and to instead allow our other functions of sensation, feeling and intuition to play their fundamental role in helping us live well in the here and now.
Alexander developed his work in the late 1800's in his native Australia. He then moved to London in the early 1900's. He practiced and taught until his death in 1955. Amongst his many students who benefited from his work and wrote about those benefits were Aldous Huxley, George Bernard Shaw and John Dewey. Today there are hundreds of Alexander Technique teachers around the world.
ABOUT LARRY BALL
I began studying the Alexander Technique in 1976. I graduated from the American Center for the Alexander Technique in San Francisco in 1979 under the direction of Frank Ottiwell and Giora Pinkas. I was a member of the school’s teaching faculty from 1981 to its closing in 2004. I am certified as a master teacher by AmSat. While a student in the school I worked with Patrick McDonald during his yearly visits to the school, as well as with Walter and Dilys Carrington. While a student and teacher in the school I worked extensively for over 10 years with Marjorie Barstow, both in San Francisco during her yearly visits to the school, and in Lincoln, Nebraska.
I teach in San Rafael and in San Francisco.
I am happy to answer any questions and discuss this work with you.
Office: (415) 491-1178
Cell: (415) 377-0449
“As a student of movement for over 20 years, I have accumulated countless concepts, tips, and exercises that are meant to help me move and function better. But all of those things go out the window when working with Larry. He cuts through the fog and helps me see and experience that I already have everything I need to be free and whole right here, right now.
-- Matt Stevens, Linguist and Alexander Technique Teacher, AmSat
" As I write this I feel the echo of working with Larry just a few hours ago. And I feel re-opened in a new way - to my self and to my surroundings. Better not to say too much. Only to know that the direct experience is what matters and the quality of the vibration is much subtler than my ordinary materialistic experience. Right now I feel l like a buoy in calm gentle waters. This is in large part of just having worked with Larry."
David Page, Alexander Technique Teacher, AmSat
“ I can’t thank Larry enough for the inspiration his lessons have given me. I have been trying to resolve the contradiction between doing and non-doing for years, ever since my earliest workshop with Marjorie Barstow more than 30 years ago. The shift of verbal emphasis Larry teaches in the words “let the universe do it” just dissolves the problem. A miracle really. And what is even more fantastic is that in lessons Larry stays with the sensitivity of touch that allows ‘it’ to do itself. Wow.”
Marion Miller, Alexander Technique Teacher
“13 years ago Larry was my teacher at Alexander teacher's training school. Today he is my mentor. Larry's work opens a corridor of enlightenment that can only be found when one truly surrenders to the energy and balance of natural things.”
Alan Bolton, Alexander Technique teacher AmSAT.
“My lessons with Larry have been deeply healing and revealing for me and I've appreciated them enormously.”
“Larry was one of my teachers at the Alexander Training Institute - SF. After graduating in 2003, I went to him for continued training for two intensive periods of study. Larry offers a very unique philosophical perspective on the Alexander Technique, which I believe guides his teaching. But I didn’t go to him for philosophy; I went to him for the experience of his touch. Under his hands, I felt harmony, the mystery of my body’s own potential to heal itself, and a sense of intrinsic movement and vitality. It would be an exaggeration to say that I could feel cellular movement, but that’s the type of metaphor that rises to mind when working with Larry. His quiet touch provides deep wells of space that were particularly important to me during times of distress. Studying with Larry will not give you simple answers. You will instead experience the mystery of life in the body. As a teacher, I often reference his work.
Elyse Shafarman, Alexander Technique teacher, MA. M.AmSat teacher