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Practice of Jeremy Woolhouse, pianist and Alexander Technique Teacher in Melbourne, Australia

Specialist in working with musicians, RSI, posture re-education, neck, back and chronic pain management. 

Articles on Alexander Technique in life - by Jeremy Woolhouse

Monthly blog articles by Jeremy Woolhouse.  Alexander Technique for daily life, music performance, specialised activities, pain relief and management.

Alexander Technique and being “in the moment”.

Jeremy Woolhouse

Following on from the theme of February’s post, I want to comment on the much abused phrase “in the moment”.  Being “mindful” or “present” are practices I think have much value.  I also think that an Alexander perspective can increase the value of such practices manifold.

Part of engaging in Alexander Technique is the use of observation.  We notice what is tight, what is free, what moves, what is held, where weight is transferred and a whole host of other things.  As one pays attention to those sensations, one is tuning in to fleeting neurological messages.  I can’t feel where my shoulders were this morning, or where they will be in five minutes.  The only sensation I can be aware of is where they are now.

I’m going to propose that the observations one trains in Alexander Lessons brings us into the present moment by default.  We don’t have to think about being present, but just pay attention to what is there already.  It is perhaps akin to tuning in to a radio.  The station is being broadcast all the time, we choose a moment to tune in, and we hear the current broadcast.  It is not necessary to create the broadcast.

I should add that technically, the information we perceive is actually a little out of date.  The registering, transmission and processing of sensation is not instantaneous.  Yet it is what we have to work with, and I think we can use it effectively nonetheless. 

The Alexandrian thoughts we send: directions, are another instance of working in the moment.  We form intentions and send messages that the body will respond to, as we send them.  And similar with the process of inhibition, where messages “not to do” are being sent at the time we think them.

So the more aware we are of our use of self, and the more we use the tools of inhibition and direction, the more we operate in the moment.  There is not the space for the mind to invest in future or past fantasies.  And almost invariably when we feel stressed, it is our perception of past or future that is stressing us out, not our current situation.

Thus the Alexander Technique is a tool that cultivates appropriate responses to things as they are.  It serves to reduce the anxieties of time related stress and return us to the present state.  Every time we choose to engage the technique, we are also improving the current state and increasing the possibility of ongoing ease.

Image courtesy of pakorn /

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