Dorothea Magonet

MSTAT, CNHC registered

Alexander Technique

07801 924 659


                 Because we've had them all our life, we think we know our bodies, but we don't - because we've had them all our life. First of all, the Alexander Technique introduces us to that not-knowing about ourselves - therefore the possibility of a new kind of knowing. Then, gently — strangely gently, in fact — the Alexander Technique extends the range of possible movements for us, effectively giving us a new body. Well, a reconditioned one, anyway. Well, for me, anyway.

Why did I come to have Alexander lessons? I had a bad back. It just went one day, the way it does. I'd had a little osteopathy before and it had worked but I felt that I should think more long term. Which meant Alexander Technique. Which worked. Over time, it taught (or perhaps re-taught) me things I never thought about: how to walk, how to stand up, and above all how to breathe. It taught me how to do them with less effort and more ease. Simple things, that improve my life.

My back? It said: thank you to me.



                  When friends ask me about the Alexander Technique I say – ‘it’s like psychotherapy but through the body,’ or, ‘it’s like going on vacation’.  It’s learning about your body, it takes years and years – an ongoing discovery.

During the journey of my first lessons, over thirty years ago, I sometimes had this sensation.  I would be lying on the table, or sitting in the chair, and the Alexander teacher would place her fingers on the muscles between my shoulders, and it would be as if she had plugged herself and me into something.  I felt immediately transported into this inner place, which was roomy and familiar, much like the river outside, full of movement and life, physical, an inner landscape.

Sometimes, at the beginning of a lesson, I feel very tired and disconnected from my body, or inner spirit. Then Dorothea sits me on the chair and stands me up and sits me down again and very soon I feel an inner flow suddenly unleashed, an energy buzzing though me, my own energy, my blood flow, and I am no longer tired, I am awake.

Sometimes, during a lesson, when Dorothea guides me into a certain position, like sitting on a chair with my knees slightly apart, I can feel very old.  Very old in a good way, old and familiar, as if I was sitting on a front porch, watching the world go by, at ease in myself, no need for hurry nor anxiety, a kind of wisdom, humour and lightness of being.

Other times I feel young.  Very young.  As if I have returned to a body I knew long ago but have forgotten – playing outside, running, jumping, constantly on the move, in love with myself.  I experience sensations in muscles I forgot I had.  Yes this is me, here I am.

I have developed a routine that I do before sitting down at my desk for a day of fiction writing or other creative work.  The routine consists of a combination of stretching, balancing and strengthening exercises, all done using the Alexander Technique, slowly, with breath. As I do this I feel the tensions in my spine decrease, I feel an unlocking, like ‘spools of thread’ falling into place. I feel an inner calm and it’s as if I enter a spacious inner room.  But the room isn’t closed off from the world, it’s a place I can be in and flow out of – in the body and greeting the world from the body.  At times, I feel all the anxieties and worries of daily life crowding in, but through the breathing and slow concentration on how things fit together in my body, a quietness comes into play, and in that quietness I am able to descend into my subconscious and images begin to flow outwards and when I sit down to write, more flows out than would have if I had not done my routine.

When I walk I think a lot about the Alexander Technique.  I often think about the gap between my leg and my hip and try to imagine the step coming from that gap.  I think about my back going up, I think about my whole foot touching the ground and then pushing off from the ground from my toes so that my toes are the last thing to touch the ground.  When I do this, my stomach comes into play and I feel the muscles there working. 

When I walk like this I become automatically more aware of the world around me, especially birds.  I hear them all around me, I see them hoping on wall posts, or peering out from chimney tops, tree branches and telephone wires.