The Vault

Entries in active (4)

Thursday
Jun182015

The Ripple Effect

The forthcoming issue Vol 3 No. 9 (Active) contains an insightful look at the work of Steven Shaw. This week he sent me an update on two interesting and exciting developments.

The premier chain of health clubs in Europe, Holmes Place decided to adopt the Shaw Method as their preferred model for the teaching of swimming. Holmes Place’s ethos ‘one life - live it well’, coupled with their beautiful warm pools make them an excellent fit for Steven’s mindful approach to swimming.  
Steven and his team have been delivering training in Portugal and Spain to the staff of over 20 Holmes Place clubs.  The teacher-training programme will extend to Greece and Poland later this year, with Germany and Israel to follow in 2016.  This is a really exciting development for the Alexander Technique community, because Holmes Place are keen to recruit Alexander teachers as key members of their wellbeing teams.  This effectively opens the door for Alexander teachers to work at great venues with the support and backing of Holmes Place.
The second exciting development came about when Steven was invited to appear on the UK’s high-profile breakfast television show Lorraine.  He took part in the Change One Thing feature as expert tutor and mentor for viewer Elaine O'Shea who, with Steven's support and guidance, fulfilled her life-long wish to overcome a crippling fear of water.  The broadcast on 30 March charted the progress over a series of lessons of 53-year-old Elaine as she was introduced to the Shaw Method.  
Viewers saw that with Steven’s guidance and support Elaine rapidly overcame her fear and began to enjoy being in the water.  This programme immediately generated an incredible response from other fearful adult non-swimmers inspired to overcome their anxiety and hoping, like Elaine, to discover a new joy and freedom in swimming.  
In recent weeks, Steven’s office team have received thousands of requests for beginners’ lessons from around the UK.  As a result, Art of Swimming has entered into a nationwide partnership with a chain of hotels to enable them to respond to this demand by offering local Learn to Swim workshops and courses to adults who would like to transform their relationship with the water. Watch the episode below to see the Shaw Method in action with Steven himself.
Monday
May112015

Pilates with Alexander

It took the world by storm over the past decade and is still spinning largely out of control into every form of fitness communication. The lack of regulation within the pilates industry triggered a mass spawning of hybrid forms (yogalate? Sounds like a milky coffee after a good asana) that delivers the core message of, well, core is king. So for the Alexander teacher who has stood by watching as many an expert birthed themselves through a weekend course and started a printing press in their studio, it's hard not to hold a dim view of the credibility of someone spruiking the benefits of pilates to health, happiness and evolution.

Jane Staggs trained as an Alexander teacher in 1979 and tested pilates more recently as a worthy adjunct to her already successful practice. Her experience of watching past students swept up in the pilates cure-all sales message suggested that perhaps she could be the expert help instead. Listen to an interview with Jane in the members section(click on the link at left to request logins).

Helge Fisher trained with Shoshana Kaminitz in 1991 and co-wrote the book(Body Control: The Pilates Way) that sparked the pilates firestorm in the UK and now an internationally known brand, BodyControl Pilates. Though Helge left the organisation fairly early in the peace, her experiences in bringing the complicated pilates regime to the masses is a fascinating story. 

Learn more about the Pilates/Alexander connections in the new ACTIVE issue, as part of a current subscription. Click on Subscription to learn more.

 

 

Monday
May042015

Golfing in Balance 

Without exquisite balance the coordination of a golf swing fails the majority of people. Ironically if you ask a professional golfer what they are actually doing when they swing a club you'll get many different answers and very few are directed at freeing the natural swing motion.

Working with an Alexander teacher on improving your general movement and coordination will contribute immensely to the performance of your swing on the course. Just ask Roy Palmer and Martyn Jones, two Alexander teachers who have been refining the delivery of Alexander's principles to golfers with great success and are featured in the forthcoming issue ACTIVE. (only available with a current subscription)

Most amateur observers of professional expertise will only glean idiosyncracies such as grip, stance or head position. It takes the trained eye of an Alexander teacher to help the golfer uncover their interference with the smooth rotation of the torso and most of this interference can be learned off the course.

Both Roy and Martyn prefer to begin within their teaching studio without a swinging weapon as the self-observation necessary for fundamental change can be refined in simple daily movement. It's not until the student has the ability to prevent their usual spinal compressions that their body is capable of freedom in the swing...but how they capture this change in physiology is the art of teaching Alexander's technique.

Without doubt, billions of hard earned are spent on golf each year and most of it is going into a bottomless pit of no improvement in results or enjoyment. There is a goldmine out there behind those bunkers and Roy Palmer and Martyn Jones are tickling the tip of the iceberg with their work.

Live recordings of our conversations are available in the members section. Click on the link at the left of this page to obtain your logins.

Monday
Apr202015

Congress Ireland 2015

Yes I'm still alive... and will be available as a target for any eggs or rotten tomatoes at the forthcoming Congress. It has been a long, long time since DIRECTION produced a new journal and I'm very sorry for the big gap. The new issue "Active" has been promised for many months and I cannot make any more excuses or promises...simply because I can't possibly make anything else up!

The wait is nearly over for this new issue which will be the first of its kind anywhere in the Alexander publishing world. A selection of articles on the application of Alexander to sporting pursuits, health/fitness and movement by Alexander teachers will open the lid on huge areas of modern society in need of constructive conscious control...and compassion. 

Since FM Alexander's day many movement regimes have come and gone to the chagrin of many an Alexander teacher. The principles of balanced and conscious coordination are needed even more today as we are bombarded with "Scientifically" validated exercise physiological remedies to the ills of modern lifestyle choices...and oh, a blinding lack of education in self awareness for all-day, every-day needs.

How does a student/teacher of Alexander navigate this minefield of sales pitches without alienating themselves completely from the very people who need the help?

ACTIVE Issue explores the huge areas of physical pursuit in Golf, Tennis, Pilates, Running, Swimming and Cycling. Working with the mainstream is much more intelligent than posturing on the sidelines as the work passes by. Stay tuned as I dust off this blog and bring more interesting clips from the people who have helped me create this exciting addition to the DIRECTION catalogue.

If you are wondering whether your subscription is still current...please email paulcook@directionjournal.com. 

I will be sending out address checks soon.