Larry Ball - a teacher of the Alexander Technique
Allowing life force & consciousness to give you whole health
|Address:||San Rafael, CA 94901|
THE EXPLORATION, STUDY AND PRACTICE OF THE ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE
AS TAUGHT BY LARRY BALL
My teaching of the Alexander Technique is intuitive, inventive, non-critical, with a good and healthy measure of play.
In that vein, I offer the following quotes from a few of the wise humans I have studied to give you insight into my vision and understanding of the value of exploring, studying and practicing the Alexander Technique.
People say that what we're all seeking is a meaning for life. I don't think that's what we're really seeking. I think that what we're seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances within our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.... Joseph Campell
Energy is eternal delight. William Blake
You see, consciousness thinks its running the shop. But it's a secondary organ of a total human being, and it must not put itself in control. It must submit and serve the humanity of the body. Joseph Campbell
I have no doubt that most people live, whether physically, intellectually or morally, in a very restricted circle of their potential being. They make use of a small portion of their possible consciousness....much like a man who, out of his whole bodily oganism, should get into a habit of using and moving only his little finger.... We all have reservoirs of life to draw upon, of which we do not dream. William James
Life consists in learning to live on one's own, spontaneous, freewheeling: to do this one must recognize what is one's own - be familiar and at home with oneself. This means basically learning who one is, and learning what one has to offer to the contemporary world, and then learning how to make that offering valid. Thomas Merton
From......experience comes the knowledge that choice acts in every moment, not a choice of this or that, but of living or non-living. The thought or feeling that is repudiated, the occurrence unregarded, is a choice of non-living. This same moment can, through choice of awareness, be made a turning to instead of a turning away. Frances G. Wickes
The technique of Mr. Alexander gives to the educator a standard of pycho-physical health - in which what we call morality is included. It supplies also the "means whereby" this standard may be progressively and endlessly achieved, becoming a conscious possession of the one educated....It bears the same relation to education that education itself bears to all other human activities. John Dewey
Good health is priceless and this technique lays the best possible foundation for good health. If one is mis-using oneself it must be an advantage to be able to correct this misuse. If one's sensory appreciation is false - all else is false. Patrick MacDonald (one of the first students taught by Alexander to become a teacher of his work).
,, ,,my experience may one day be recognized as a signpost directing the explorer to a country hitherto 'undiscovered' , and one which offers unlimited opportunity for fruitful research to the patient and observant pioneer." F.M. Alexander
The Alexander Technique
I teach Alexander's work to help people "progressively and endlessly" learn to allow life force and consciousness to give them whole health, to become more fully alive, to create, to better develop their potentials, to move freely within their individual Self and outward into the world with greater understanding, strength, balance and ease.
Alexander's work helps us to learn to become conscious of and allow life force (chi, prana, pneuma, primordial energy) received from essence and nature to better live our lives and function in the world. I believe life force is the simplest and most powerful means we have to gain greater strength of will, to become healthy, and to continuously nurture ourselves, regardless of where we are in our lives. This allows our whole selves - our body, heart, soul, psyche,. spirit, essence and nature - to not only heal and become strong and healthy, but also to express our individual and unique selves as we rediscover our inborn potentials. As such, Alexander's work has provided a wondrous and invaluable gift to each of us.
Alexander's work offers a profound journey in living, healing, choosing, acting, creating, developing, and moving by experiencing body, heart, soul, psyche, spirit , essence and nature existing and working together as one within ourselves and in the world. Through this exploration we also learn to become conscious of and free ourselves of previously unconscious ways,which perpetuate physical and psychological misconceptions, pains and anxieties. These unconscious ways prevent many of us from more fully becoming our unique and individual Selves. As we begin to recocognize and then free ourselves from these unconscious ways, we can allow our choices and actions to be guided by the inherent wisdom of our whole selves. This exploration provides an open pathway to consistently experiencing the rapture of being alive and the eternal delight of life's energies existing within our "innermost being and reality". This is where we learn to to become healthy, to heal our pains and anxieties, to more fully experience and enjoy living, to allow our natural creativity to florish, to develop our selves, and to choose, act and move with greater energy, understanding, balance and ease,
Historically Western civilization has failed to recognize the ability of our human body to help us know ourselves and live a truer, healthier life on earth. Instead, it generally limits such knowledge to our mind, to our ego. In a few places within our culture our heart is allowed to participate in the adventure of becoming ourselves.
However, there are very few places in our culture that even consider, much less allow, our body to have a role in this adventure. It is my experience that my body is capable of as much love, thought, wisdom and desire as my heart, soul, psyche and spirirt. I believe the discoveries of the Alexander Technique provide each of us with a profound and joyful means of allowing our body to reveal its deeper and wiser gifts to us.
In your lessons new experiences of your body emerge from within the misconceptions, pains and anxieties experienced by you in life. During those moments your body's new experiences awaken your "innermost being and reality" as your body communicates its innate way of being and expression.
In lessons your body's gifts are expressed and shared with your heart, soul, psyche and spirit. Once experienced and explored with pointed attention you are able to begin to learn to allow these gifts to express themselves in your choices, actions, movements and healing. This change allows us to choose, act, move and heal more fully and wholly as humans on the earth. This change helps to allow harmony with oneself and nature, even in the midst of a human world that has broken away from harmony with nature.
I believe we each were born with this knowledge of our body. I also believe most of us lost a great deal of this knowedge in the course of adapting ourselves to the family, culture and society we grew up in. These forces are very powerful and cause most of us to forget so much of this knowledge. Without the help of the energies and knowledge within our body, we live without the presence of its deep wisdom and thus without a vital part of our being human. This harms not only our body, but our heart, soul, psyche and spirit as well.
Your experiences in each lesson give you motivation to explore this work on your own each day. In doing so, the energies and knowledge provided by your body grow and evolve. You learn to allow your body to participate equally and fully with your heart, soul, psyche, spirit, essence and nature in teaching yourself how to live a healthier and more natural life.
I began studying the Alexander Technique in 1976. I graduated from the American Center for the Alexander Technique in San Francisco in 1979. At that time the school was under the direction of Frank Ottiwell and Giora Pinkas. I was a member of the school’s teaching faculty assisting Frank Otttiwell from 1981 to its closing in 2004. 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 during their visits and workshops. 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. Marjorie Barstow and Frank Ottiwell are my mentors.
For forty years I have taken Alexander at his word and have attempted to be a pioneer of the work he began: to explore, to observe, to listen and to discover the truly unlimited knowledge and understanding his work offers. During these years of study, exploration, and practice I have found an open doorway to and greater understanding of the gifts the Alexander Technique offers and much more. Alexander's work has helped me to live a more wondrous, joyful and healthy life. This work has led to a great improvement and understanding of myself within my deepest self and in the world.
Some of what generally comes up in Alexander lessons is: sensititivity and awareness of your circumstances, enjoyment of life, vitality, energy, exuberance, free and balanced movement, feelings, heart, soul, psyche, spirit, physicality, sensation, the body's own wisdom and creativity, poetry in movement, transcendency, essence, nature, imagination, intuition, play.
These are some of the things that generally come up for me in my daily experiences. It is clear to me that this means my teaching of the Alexander Technique is simple. It is within me and nowhere else. I share it as best I can with students, through my presence, touch and words. I teach my students what this work means for me and help them see whether this work has value for them. In my teaching it is important to me that I remember that I am not a fixer; that for students to become themselves the changes have to come from them. I am only here to help.
A few of the most valuable and enlightening experiences with Alexander's work for me have been and continue to be: reading anything and everything that inspires me below my thinking level, running 5 miles on my local high school track every two or three days and body surfing in our Pacific Ocean whenever I have the opportunity.
I teach in San Rafael.
I am happy to answer any questions and discuss this work with you.
Office: (415) 491-1178
Cell: (415) 377-0449
Comments on my teaching
“As a student of movement for over 25 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
“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
" 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.”