All aspects of life involve movement. In this comprehensive text and manual on The Alexander Technique, Penelope Easten offers a broad, new theoretical framework of how integrated movement occurs, including ideas from recent science and practical explorations. The explorations are simple techniques that build on one another, to enable practitioners both to look after themselves in life and practice, and for use with clients to help them understand and integrate what Alexander Technique offers them.
The book takes an evolutionary theme by considering what movement capacity we have lost in Western culture and how we can re-access it by reawakening older, more balanced movement patterns. The twelve fundamentals of integrated movement described are all practical: biomechanics is one structural fundamental, while many others are aspects of perception and thinking. These are much more part of movement than is mostly realised, because optimal movement is organised around our awareness, focus and goals.
The book emerges out of lessons taken by Penelope Easten between 1990 and 1994 with Miss Goldie, who worked alongside Alexander for thirty years and was closest to him. It presents a new interpretation of how Alexander developed the technique, and what happened next. The explorations recapture the essence of her teaching, and discovers the full scope of methods Alexander must have used to work on himself.
It combines theory with practical explorations that take the reader step by step back to integrated movement. Part 1 introduces the twelve fundamentals, and how natural breathing emerges when they work together; Part 2 uses body-play, conscious guidance and control and physical pulls to bring all the musculature back into play, while Part 3 explores letting previously unknown integrated movements emerge out of a quiet system.
The new scientific theories described and woven together to explain how we can live in a flow of dynamic balance will help the reader accept these very different physical experiences. Scientific theories include:
- left / right brain models
- the concept that all our body’s intelligence centres (including the brain) are cooperative networks and not hierarchical
- the Polyvagal theory and attachment theory; the two visual streams theory
- spinal engine theory, tensegrity, and a new model of postural alignment;
Penelope Easten was born in Wales, & studied Biological Sciences at Cambridge University, England. She abandoned a PhD to train in Alexander technique, qualifying in 1989. After training she studied with Miss Goldie, then 86, who stripped away everything she had learnt, and rebuilt it as she saw the technique should be. Since then, Penelope has sought to understand the differences of her approach, and the historical reasons for them. She has been teaching these differences to the Alexander profession internationally since 2004; her booklet “My lessons with Miss Goldie” has sold worldwide.
Penelope’s first love was dance, and she is passionate about teaching people to move better in the activities in their lives, to rediscover ease and strength they thought they’d lost, and how to self-manage their physical problems. Having been twice disabled with chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia, much of her real learning has been through self-discovery, and teaching this is at the core of her work. She is always open to new methods and theories to weave into her work, and explores many avenues, such as vinni yoga, belly dance, chi gong, and natural vision improvement methods. In particular, she has studied Philip Shepherd’s “The Embodied Present Process” and Jeando Masoero’s Initial Alexander technique.
In her private practice now in the West of Ireland she works with individuals and groups, both with more classic Alexander work, and in activities such as playing music, housework, yoga, sport, or wearing heels! She plans to open a training course in 2021.
Contact Penelope through her website www.alexandertechniqueinfo.org