When I first discovered the Alexander Technique way back in the 1970’s, I was, like many people, not in touch with my body. It was not quite a ‘road to Damascus’ moment, but almost. I had found my life’s work! The AT is a tool for helping people be more in touch with themselves, body, mind and emotions. It is a tool that gives us freedom from our unrecognised and unhelpful habitual behaviours.
During a long teaching career, I noticed that some pupils needed to move more. In fact, I needed to move more! If we have parts of our bodies that don’t move accurately through a full range of movement, problems will occur. It may not be a matter of misuse so much as no use. I found Pilates helped me to move more and to move in an organized, safe way. And so I trained as a Body Control Pilates teacher and found that some simple, basic movement patterns (called exercises) helped some of my pupils.
Trauma/Tension Release Exercise was a discipline that I stumbled across in an Alexander Teacher’s workshop. I had never heard of it, knew nothing about trauma and not much about the Autonomic Nervous System. Most of us know about the fight/flight part of the ANS, but it is actually fight/flight/freeze. My husband used to remark on my stillness, Actually, I was a bit frozen. As I learned more about TRE, I could see that some of my pupils needed to shake to rebalance their ANS. They were victims of habit patterns that can not be accessed consciously. The fight/flight/freeze response operates way below conscious levels. We do not make a conscious decision to fight, flee, or freeze.
The Alexander Technique is about changing the aspects of our behaviours that we can consciously control. Body Control Pilates is about consciously controlling ourselves in a large range of movement patterns. Trauma/Tension Release Exercise is about affecting those parts of ourselves that we can’t consciously control.
My interest has always been about helping people to be more comfortable in themselves. This could be less pain, better performance, more contentment, better understanding of ourselves, freedom from our past history.