The Vault

Lift Your Game Roger Federer, Meet Gary Adelman

(Join Live Interview list on left for all details)

I've had many conversations about the potential of teaching Alexander Technique to sportspeople. Alas, "potential" is latent until tested and not many Alexander teachers have made a go of it.

If you have ever wondered just how much potential is available, then Gary Adelman is a fine person to ask in the tennis realm having taught Alexander Technique to players for the past 18 years.

Also, as a past pro circuit player for 5 years and the resident coach at Glen Head Racquet Club, Long Island, NY, Gary is going to get the "Paul Cook interrogation" on exactly how other Alexander teachers can go into the sporting business.

It's all very well to talk about it, but do you have to be a tennis pro/AT teacher to get considered by tennis players?

Tune in for a 60 minute chat as we uncover the best ways to expand the potential of your teaching practice, learn how Alexander can improve your tennis game and also ways you can bring some Adelman inspiration to a court near you.

More about Gary

Gary Adelman is a certified Alexander Technique teacher (through AmSAT and ATI). He graduated from the Alexander Technique Center at Cambridge, MA in 1992.

    * Taught the Alexander Technique for 18 years, since 1992.
    * B.A. in psychology from Columbia University and winner of All-Ivy Award in tennis.
    * Top tennis player at Columbia University, 1974-77.
    * Competed on pro tennis circuit for 5 years.
    * Taught Alexander Technique to Israel's top tennis players, Israeli Tennis Center, Ramat Hasharon, Israel, 1993.
    * Alexander Technique teacher and assistant men's coach to the varsity tennis team at Babson College, Wellesley, MA 2003.
    * Alexander Technique teacher and assistant women's coach to the varsity women's tennis team at Princeton Universtiy, Princeton, NJ 2003-04.

To join this live interview and pick Gary's brain with me, click on Live Interviews on the left to join our notification list.


Training School Issue Excerpts...Shipping Now

Thankyou for your patience! It's been the biggest project I've ever taken on with DIRECTION in my 9 years at the helm. 19 training course directors interviewed, trainers, trainees and training schools. This issue, Schools of Thought is the definitive DIRECTION issue on training teachers in the Alexander Technique.


Subscriptions to this issue have closed. To obtain this latest creation now you must purchase it as a back issue and pay the postage on top. 


Remember, each quarter, a few weeks prior to releasing the new issue we run a subscription drive. From Twitter to Facebook and via email and the alextech-list, plus via this blog we endeavour to reach as many people as possible and give them ample time to subscribe. 


There are several payment options from upfront to monthly, credit cards or paypal, GBP cheque and direct bank transfer. Just check out the Subscribe NOW! link on the left for all details.

Here are some article excerpts from the latest issue:

Generational Change:
In 1931 F.M. Alexander began training teachers. His four year training course ran until his death at the age of 86. Walter Carrington, with a group of teachers that included Peggy Williams, Frank Skinner and Irene Stewart continued to train students at Bainbridge Street (they were asked to move from Ashley Place). In 1960 the Carrington family moved to Lansdowne Road. Number 18 was formerly called the Isobel Cripps Centre, which housed various innovative health promoters. Charles Neil was among these and he taught the Alexander technique. As Sir Stafford and Lady Isobel Cripps were good friends and supporters of FM and his work and wished to continue it's promotion, they welcomed Walter Carrington who was looking for a home for both his family and to further the technique. The Constructive Teaching Centre(CTC) was founded and has continued for 50 years.


Hundreds of teachers have since qualified and moved around the world, opening training schools and continuing what is now known as the Carrington tradition of training teachers. In the early 90s, one of their closest and longest serving teachers, Ruth Murray, was asked if she would become a director. Murray at first said no, but Walter and Dilys prevailed because they had planned a teaching trip to Australia, and as they put it “could fall out of the sky”. 


Building BodyChance:
We turn over around a million dollars annually, have 83 trainees registered in training and over 130 people signed up on annual contracts for weekly individual or group lessons. 


Our teacher training school has three campuses (Tokyo, Osaka & Sydney), 15 different courses, 6 Associate Directors, 5 Training Directors and a supporting staff of 15 teachers. We run two websites, three offices and, aside from our three full-time management staff, have just employed another full-time staff member exclusively for Publicity, Marketing & Sales. Actually, as these things go, we are a rather tiny, insignificant company. However, I think we have a huge future. This is the story of how it all began.


Schools for Thought:
ACAT was founded in 1964 with the teacher certification program opening in 1967. Their 45-year heritage is interesting. Judith Leibowitz and Deborah Caplan built the school. Both studied with Lulie Westfeldt and her mother Alma Frank who was trained by F.M. Alexander and both had lessons with Alexander himself. ACAT claims to have trained more than a third of the country’s Alexander teaching population and with 11 faculty members is formatted to accommodate a maximum of 24 students in their current location. Brooke Lieb, ACAT’s current Director of Training, graduated from the school in 1989 and has worked her way to the top position over the past 20 years.


In Ireland, Richard Brennan runs the Alexander Teacher Training College (ATTC). His biography is jam-packed with publicity initiatives. Not only has he been featured in The Irish Times, The Sunday Tribune, The Irish Examiner and Cosmopolitan, but he has also appeared on numerous television and radio programs in Ireland and the UK, has written five books–four on the Alexander technique which have been translated into eight languages–and sold in excess of 200,000 copies. He knows how to get the message out. At the end of his first year of teaching as a fresh graduate, he was working 50 hours a week in a small UK town of 8000 people, even though there were 25 other Alexander teachers in the neighbourhood!


The Bodythought Centre in Tel Aviv, Israel, is run by Alexander teacher Galit Zeif and contains a teacher-training course as part of a working health centre. Zeif entered the body-mind world almost 30 years ago. Neck injuries as a dancer in 1981 led to study of the Pilates method and then qualification as an instructor after a long apprenticeship in Covent Garden, UK. Though she restored her “core strength” the neck problems persisted. By coincidence she was introduced to the Alexander technique, which solved her neck injury in 10 lessons. This inspired her to join the North London teacher-training course in 1987. She then went on to develop a close learning relationship with Miss Margaret Goldie, while at the same time exploring eastern disciplines such as Tai-Chi and Chi-Kung.


Purchase Schools of Thought here

Subscribe for Teaching Kids Issue in June here


Schools of Thought Issue...Subscribe!

We're running late...obviously "early March" has flown past and the new issue isn't in the post yet. It's all for a good cause...Michael Frederick told me to forget my deadlines and get the content spot on. So, I defered to my more experienced and esteemed colleague this time and took his advice.

There are so many opinions within the Teacher/Trainer has been a minefield giving everyone their share of the magazine. After interviewing 19 training course directors and speaking with many trainee teachers around the world, we've put together an issue that will stand the test of time. Training courses are facing big changes in regulation and consumer demand and they are being forced to bend to these outside influences.

Seven solid articles fill this the point that we've expanded to 40 pages to accommodate. Here are some snippets:

Generational Shift:
Since 1960 the Constructive Teaching Centre in London 
has produced hundreds of teachers. Now the school is 
faced with catastrophic changes to the very fabric of 
their philosophy.
Schools for Thought:
Three training courses on three continents prepare 
their graduates for life after school with business skills, 
anatomical expertise and scientific vocabulary.
(Ireland, Israel, USA)
Training Course Evolution:
Discussing competency vs time-based models for 
training teachers, we bring together 5 diverse opinions 
and uncover some ties that bind.
Building BodyChance:
An insightful story of struggling training school to 
successful Alexander technique training corporation, 
the largest in the world to date.
Two Trainings on Time:
Full time, intensive training processes justified by 
two passionate directors with decades of teacher 
training experience.
From Student to Trainee:
What happens between taking lessons and deciding 
to become a teacher? 5 people share their inner journey.
Hidden Pathways:
Apprenticeship style training is still alive and strong. 
4 interviews with motivated individuals doing it their 
own way and in their own time.
The International Training School Directory covering
STAT, Affiliated, ATI, PAAT and ITM organisations, all
in the one place.


This is the last subscription drive that will be offering the whole back catalogue included in a subscription. After March 31st, the back catalogue will cost extra. At $240 in should!

So, click on the "Subscribe Now" link on the left and get your credit card out. There's not much time left.

More news soon.



Next LIVE Interview: 20 Year Veteran on Teaching Kids


Tuesday February 23rd
Gal Ben-Or contacted my office in December at an opportune time. I was wondering who I might contact for my 2nd quarter issue, Teaching Children. He said that his book was almost complete, it was full of case studies of his work with children and would I perhaps publish one of them! He has since sent me two stories which have touched my heart and I was amazed to find out that he has been teaching Alexander technique to children for 20 years, having graduated from the Jerusalem School for the Alexander Technique in 1987 under the direction of Shmuel Nelken. His CV shows some of the following career achievements:
1998-2002:  Established and directed the non-profit organization "Mishal", founded in April 1998 by the parents of children who had been helped by the Alexander Technique.
2001-2006:  Member of the professional team at a residential institution for teenagers at risk 
Alexander Technique teacher at various institutions:  “Yedida”, for adults suffering from light or medium retardation; “HaTene”, a Jerusalem school for special education; Ilan Children’s Hospital; ‘HaSatat”, a  teacher of the Alexander Technique at “Kessem” School Jerusalem municipal nursery school.
2004-2006: Chairman of the Israeli Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique (ISTAT)
2008: Chairman of the professional organization for complimentary medicine
Presently:  Assistant Director of a training course for teachers of the Alexander Technique; instructor of horse back riding at Nataf Farm; maintains clinics for the Alexander Technique in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, treating adults and children.


I think our 60 minutes on February 23rd is going to seem short.


Join Gal and me as we discuss his experiences working with children and hopefully he will share some stories…the ones I’ve read so far are moving and inspirational. Full details for this FREE interview can be obtained by joining our Live Interview list on the left of this page.



Special Kids and the Alexander Technique

LIVE Interview with Michele Arsenault: February 15th


Michele Arsenault, MSEd, graduated from ACAT/NY in 1987, a few months after the birth of her first child. Almost immediately, she began working with children in the classroom in a funded project in a New York City public school. This work culminated in the self-published curriculum, Moving To Learn: A Classroom Guide to Understanding and Using Good Body Mechanics, 1998.  Since that time, she has continued to focus upon the needs of children—offering workshops for classroom teachers from an Alexander Technique perspective, searching for answers to her son’s autism diagnosis, starting a special education school in Manhattan, pursuing a Masters degree at the Bank Street College of Education, and teaching and working with some of the most fragile members of our society, including a child with Joubert Syndrome.  

For this interview, Michele will join me in discussing the last two decades of her work in the Alexander Technique and in education—work that continues to provoke and open conversations around the appearance of what is most certainly a deepening crisis in our schools and in our societies.  Michele hopes to share with the Alexander community a number of startling insights into optimal human functioning—insights that evolved from countless hours of carefully observing children with challenging behaviors in the classroom. She offers what she considers to be an emerging new paradigm that may explain the exploding epidemic of children and adults with so-called dis-orders and dis-abilities. This paradigm, which she believes is compatible if not instigated by the particular understandings of the Alexander Technique, flies in the face of the various models and solutions offered by the established medical profession. It is a paradigm that she believes teachers of the Technique are in a unique position to understand and to embrace. 

 If you would like to join us, click on "Live Interviews" on the left of this page for full details.


Teaching Alexander Technique to Kids

Those who were on the call with Sue Merry were totally inspired by this wonderful lady who has found ways and means to teach kids the Alexander Technique. I'm working on the recording now and hope to have it into the paid subscribers section soon (along with several other recordings promised a while ago, including Tommy Thompson, Lynn Nicholls and Jamie McDowell). I'm sorry these have been backlogged. The aim is to produce them a little more professionally than my older audios, so that you'll be more inclined to share them with others. But this takes extra time with a sound engineer and extra funds, both of which I have in limited supply.

Yep! I don't mind one bit if you share the's important that we spread this valuable info amongst the teaching community, but also the wider community also.

In every audio is a story of how the Alexander technique teacher found the technique, why they decided to train and what motivated them to pursue their particular niche in teaching. If you have students you'd like to inspire to train, then get them to listen to some of these inspirational people who have decided to make a difference in the world with the Alexander work.

I had a conversation with Gal Ben-Or yesterday afternoon in my "mobile office". I'd just jumped out of the surf at Rainbow of the most beautiful right-handers on the Gold Coast and called Gal in Israel. Amazing times.

Anyway, we talked about how he's been working with kids using the Alexander Technique for 20 years and has a book nearly ready to publish. I will be interviewing him later in the sure to tune into that talk to learn how he works with children...I'm looking forward to that interview very much.

The big take-away from my talk with Sue Merry was this...and it's something that every Alexander technique teacher should take heed of; Sue said the main factor getting in the way of the Alexander work reaching kids is Alexander teachers themselves! Teachers are too insecure to just go out there and start working with children. They think for some reason that their knowledge isn't enough, or they won't be able to do it, or children are too tricky to work with etc etc. But if you really do want to try this, Sue has already published a plethora of materials to help you get started. Just go to her website (click here) and navigate your way to the page with all her books...many of which are free to download!

As far as the Schools of Thought issue's coming together, all articles are in and editing is well underway. 

Would you like to know the one thing that NO training school I've contacted includes in their course? Apart from all manner of mind and body education governed by FM Alexander's four books and decades of handed down methods for training teachers, there is one thing that is NOT covered in any training school and it's a glaring omission.

If you would like to win a free subscription to DIRECTION (valued at $97USD), just post what you think is the answer in the comments to this blog. The first correct answer wins. I will publish all answers... but let's just see if anybody is actually aware of the single most important skill in teaching the Alexander Technique that not one training school I've contacted (and there have been a selection around the world of 20!) has even mentioned.

If you would like to receive a copy of Schools of Thought Issue, make sure your subscription is current, otherwise you'll be paying $29.95 for it as a back issue as soon as it is published in mid-March. Please check with me first if you're not sure whether your subs is current before you throw more money at DIRECTION! A few people doubled up last subscription drive and we had to refund their payments. SUBSCRIBE HERE

More soon.





Sue Merry, Live Interview: Alexander technique and kids

Sue Merry has a reputation with kids...they love the way she teaches! It's obvious why, just read the principles that she holds regarding education and kids below.

Sue has specialized in teaching children the Alexander technique since 1993 but also works with riders and horses. Her training also includes diet and nutrition using the BEST machine, she's an ordained Minister of Spiritual Peacemaking and most recently has been working with Metamorphic Technique.

Sue has appeared on Sky News and London Today. Her book "The Labyrinth of Gar" was published in 2004 and her new offering, "The Song of Mother Divine" is available from Findhorn Press and is the basis for a new programme of group-based work.

Join Sue and I on Tuesday 2nd February, 2010 we talk about bringing Alexander technique back to where it can do the most good. Yes! Let's help the next generation change the world so that humanity doesn't keep making the same mistakes from it's habits.

 Principles for Teaching Kids (Quoted from

- Education should first and foremost address the needs of the individual child.

- Every child should have the opportunity to learn and grow in a safe, loving and supportive environment.

- Every school day should include a period of "Quiet Time" when teachers and children have an opportunity to allow their bodies and minds together to come into a state of harmonious balance.

- Every school should understand the principles of the Alexander Technique and how to apply them to the school environment and to every school activity.

- Every child should leave school with the ability to choose good use of the self whenever they want to.

If this sounds like an impossible dream you might be surprised to learn that this is all happening now at a school in the UK: Educare Small School 


Jamie McDowell Live Interview Next!

Jamie McDowell was introduced to Alexander Technique by teacher Sue Thame in London in the seventies and subsequently trained at the newly formed 'Alexander Teaching Associates' training course (1980) where the faculty included Don Burton, Sue Thame, Mike Gelb and David Gorman.

The course was seen as pioneering at the time and among the innovations were the inclusion of specialist Movement sessions and a personal approach to the study of Anatomy.

From London, Jamie moved to the Netherlands and was involved with the Amsterdam training course. When Don Burton moved to Cumbria, North West England, Jamie became a regular visiting teacher and eventually returned to England, eventually taking over the training course after the untimely passing of Don Burton in 1996. Since then, he has worked with co-director Michael Hardwicke at Fellside Alexander School,  Kendal Cumbria.

Jamie is a keen amateur singer and belongs to two local choirs. He's also on the Board of Directors of the next International Congress in Lugano, in 2011.

Join Jamie and I on Thursday 21st January, 2010.

All details are available by joining the Live Interviews list on the left of this page. Our talk will be recorded and posted in the Audio Archive for Subscribers.



Next Live Interview Tommy Thompson

It will be my privilege and honour to chat with Tommy on Sunday afternoon, Jan 3rd (USA EST). (Click Live Interviews on left for all details) His name has been on my wishlist for a long time and now that we are putting together an issue on Training Schools it was only natural that I should talk with a man who has been teaching Alexander technique for 34 years, and has been the Director of training at the Alexander Technique Centre at Cambridge (ATCC) since 1983. 

But Tommy's extended bio is even more interesting...

He has acted in or directed over 200 productions, is the co-founder and first chair of Alexander Technique International (ATI) and a former Assistant Professor of Drama and Managing Director of Tufts Arena Theater at Tufts University.  Tommy has also lectured and given workshops at Harvard, Brandeis and Cornell Universities, New England Conservatory of Music, California Institute For The Arts, School at Jacob's Pillow Summer Dance Festival, Expanded Dance, Harvard and Bates College Summer Dance Festivals, La Canal Danse, Institut de Pedogogie Musicale et Choreographique, American Dance Guild,  The Institute for Advanced Theater training for The American Repertory Theater, Cambridge and Children's Hospital, Boston.

He is also the co-author of Scientific and Humanistic Contributions of Frank Pierce Jones and co-founder of the Frank Pierce Jones Archives and the F. Matthias Alexander Archives, housed in the Wessell Library at Tufts University, and was the organization's director for six years.

Join me as I pick his brain on teaching, training and the future of education.


Group Teaching by Necessity

A great response from one of our subscribers on the Audio Interviews...

I’ve really been enjoying the audio interviews.  John Nicholls, whose refresher course I took this past year, was particularly engaging.  His thinking about group teaching is right on the mark for what I am facing right now.

I’ve been giving intro workshops to staff at my university, under a wellness initiative. These are people who are not paid that well to begin with, and because of the economic mess in Maryland, we’ve all had salary reductions.  Some of these people’s spouses have lost their jobs, so stress is very high. They are so appreciative for anything that makes their lives a little simpler. And now a number of them want to take a group [Alexander technique] class, because they couldn’t possibly afford private lessons.  I was struggling with the decision, knowing that they could move ahead so much faster with individual lessons, but I weighed that against the possibility of their getting no training, and thinking of that, it was obvious that a group class is the way to go.

It will also pull them together as a community in a positive way, rather than their connection being through the terrible anxiety about money and the possibility of losing their jobs.

I am coming up on a break this January, and I’m looking forward to listening to some more of the Carrington talks and reading more of the Congress papers.  Thanks again for all your work to keep this vital journal alive.

Best regards,

Paul's note:

Thanks Wendy. I too am looking forward to seeing how group Alexander technique work develops as demand increases over the next few years. The Group Dynamics Issue will hopefully open a discussion on the necessity of this medium to share Alexander's discoveries with many others, create communities, increase support for our work and to help Alexander teachers make more than a living. There are many brilliant group facilitators in our community to learn from and I've brought just a handful of them into this latest issue. Keep a lookout for a new section on this website dedicated to group work, we're in the process of structuring it for the benefit of all teachers and students.