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50 Hortense St
Glen Iris, VIC, 3146
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0490 126 293

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.

Filtering by Tag: thinking

Self-Awareness and Remembering to Remember

Jeremy Woolhouse

‘Whenever I use Alexander Technique, it helps. But I keep forgetting to use it! Sometimes I get to the end of a job and realise I didn’t think of it once.’

Even when we appreciate the benefits of Alexander Technique, remembering to engage with it can be a challenge. This is all the more difficult if we are unaware of ourselves in the moment in which we are moving or resting with poor quality.

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Flow, Distraction and Integration in Thought

Jeremy Woolhouse

To practise Alexander Technique is to use thought skilfully. There are some special Alexander Technique thoughts which we use to embrace a greater scope for ourselves, including intentions which give rise to ease and efficiency in work. As we recognise that the way we think affects our capacity for comfort and function, we may naturally begin to align all our thinking processes with the principles of Alexander Technique.

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Alexander Technique Thinking: Inhibition and Direction

Jeremy Woolhouse

Alexander Technique is a skill which is practised in order to experience associated benefits. The many ways in which we may study or apply the Technique are all based on two particular kinds of thinking: inhibition and direction.

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Semi-supine practice guide

Jeremy Woolhouse

Semi-supine, also known as ‘active rest,’ ’constructive rest,’ or ‘lying on the floor with your head on books,’ is a learning tool and ongoing part of practising Alexander Technique.  Semi-supine gives a framework for positive movement towards ease and comfort. This guide is intended to support independent practice.

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Constructive thinking in performance

Jeremy Woolhouse

A fine balance is required in the performing arts.  Attention must be divided among essential specifics, and simultaneously be united towards coordinated performance.  Too much attention on one aspect is as disastrous as too little.  

When musicians perform, we consciously initiate certain aspects of coordination and action.  Many more processes are managed outside of our consciousness.  Some, we can learn to become aware of, and we may learn to directly modify these.

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Mindfulness, Zen Meditation and Alexander Technique

Jeremy Woolhouse

When we practice Alexander Technique, we are being mindful. Since ‘mindful’ means different things to different people, it is worth considering just what kind of attention Alexander Technique is calling for.  There is a parallel with some streams of mediation practice.  Learning from Zen traditions, we can use FM Alexander’s principles to refine a healthy mindful attitude. 

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Thinking Hard vs. Thinking Easy

Jeremy Woolhouse

For most of us, concentration is associated with tightening.  When we see someone working and tightening - especially in the face - we may perceive this as concentration.  It has been proposed that every thought leads to muscular action, but there is no prerequisite for this to manifest in a way which contradicts ease.

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When does 'good enough' happen?

Jeremy Woolhouse

Looking to the root of stress, one common theme is that of not being good enough. Musicians might recognise this in the form of ‘not doing enough practice’.  Alexander Technique identifies the struggle which arises and introduces practices which dissolve the context for such judgement.

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Making 'Positive Thinking' Positive

Jeremy Woolhouse

Alexander Technique cultivates skilful use of thought.  It undeniably trains positive thinking. It differs, however, from other practices commonly grouped under the ‘positive thinking’ umbrella.  Practicing Alexander Technique principles may help in assessing the value of other ‘positive thinking’ practices, and assist in making them constructive.

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Buoyancy and Opposition

Jeremy Woolhouse

A downwards orientation of the self creates a compressing, depressive force.  Alexander Technique directions are sometimes abbreviated as “Think Up!” - a universal tonic to downward orientation.  The upward direction may stimulate positive engagement with gravity and energise activity.  A consideration of the distinction between ‘buoyancy’ and ‘opposition’ may add some refinement to the concept of ‘up’.

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Removing interference

Jeremy Woolhouse

Alexander Technique is a process of removing interference.  Without interference, concept flows into action effortlessly.  Restrictions of physics still apply, so a conceived ideal may not be possible, but performance will be closest to intended, and most rewarding to the performer, when interference is minimised.

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Constructive thinking in performance: fundamental principles of peak performance of any skill.

Jeremy Woolhouse

A fine balance is required to manage any specialised skill.  Attention must be divided amongst essential specifics, and simultaneously be united towards coordinated performance.  Too much attention on one aspect is as disastrous as too little.  I consider three fundamental categories encompass all constructive attention. Thinking is most positively constructive to coordinated performance when balanced across the three areas.  Thoughts outside of their parameters interfere with successful engagement in skilled activity.

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