This weekend I had the privilege of welcoming two of the pioneers of the Alexander Technique to Bristol: Sue Merry and Judith Kleinman. They are both experts in bringing the Technique into educational settings, whether that’s primary and secondary schools or universities and colleges.
Over two weekend workshops in Bristol, Sue and Judith introduced their work to Alexander Technique teachers from as far afield as Italy, Spain and Ireland. Judith has masterminded the Alexander Technique curricula at the Royal College of Music, and Sue is a trailblazer at the Educare Small School in Kingston, where Alexander Technique is woven seamlessly into each school day. You can see more about what they have created at thedevelopingself.net.
There is huge potential to bring the wisdom of the Alexander Technique into educational settings. As Judith put it so beautifully in an email to me after the course, ‘this respectful coming together of folk interested in conveying the work in Education and bridging the gap between Wellbeing and ‘Learning how to Learn’ is so important’.
It is hard to sum up what I personally gained from these recent Bristol workshops. On one level, I learned many new ways of teaching the Alexander Technique. But on another level, these workshops have helped me reach a deeper understanding of why this work is so vital for our young people, caught up as they are in the maelstrom of modern life.
To extend the metaphor, the Alexander Technique offers young people an anchor: a way to find wholeness, peace and self-acceptance in what is too often a clamorous and inhuman world. The Alexander Technique helps them see that being kind to oneself is the first step in being able to function well as a human being. For that alone, it is invaluable.