More Alexander Technique Book Recommendations

1. For a modern take on the Alexander Technique, try: How You Stand, How You Move, How You Live: Learning the Alexander Technique to Explore Your Mind-Body Connection and Achieve Self-Mastery Paperback.  Vineyard speculates on the neuroscience behind the Alexander Technique and includes a series of case studies and short vignettes about her own experiences learning the technique.

2. You could go back to the source and read: The Use of the Self   With editing help from John Dewey, this is widely regarded as F.M. Alexander’s most readable book.

Outside the Alexander Technique cannon, you might like:

Somatics: Reawakening The Mind’s Control Of Movement, Flexibility, And Health. Hanna outlines the research linking stress and poor posture and describes how somatic awareness can restore vitality and agility at any age.

Peter Levine’s Waking the Tiger is the classic on trauma in the body.

Robert Sapolsky’s Why Zebra’s Don’t Get Ulcers is the most entertaining and best-researched book on Stress and Health.

Athough I’ve offered Amazon links so that you can read about the books, many of these books will be available through your library, and any of them through Link+

More book recommendations elsewhere on my blog:

What to read if you are new to the Alexander Technique

Anatomy books


tango journey – follower’s perspective

I may have said to a friend that I was not on a tango journey. This was not true. I was trying to play off how much the dance had come to matter to me.

Everyone  says, ‘Tango is so sexy,” but that’s not my usual experience. More frequently, the awkward combustion of two strangers fitting their bodies together requires expansive compassion, sophisticated somatic knowledge and a healthy respect for newtonian physics.

Then there’s loneliness. There were evenings when those tango hugs from warm bear-like men saved me. Sometimes, “You want to go/Where everybody knows your name,” but without all the bar chatter, and where speech is a silent rhythmic vocabulary.

Tango answers a need for elevation in life. The black dresses with open backs, long limbs, high heels, the Argentine men with lustrous thick black hair tied back in casual pony tails…Oh, I see, it is sexy after all.

And every once in a while, you have a tanda (a set of 3 – 5 dances) where it feels as if you had wings.

The concentration needed to follow is the sort of in-depth mindfulness training that will knock you out of depression – that is, if tango itself is not the source of your depression. How could tango be the source of your depression? Even the most beautiful and skilled followers have the occasional evening of social decimation, sitting out and watching everyone else dance. No a follow cannot ask a lead to dance…don’t get me started. Of course, if it’s gender parity you are seeking, you can always go to an alternative milonga, or practice switch tango, or better yet, blues dancing, but for me, without sharp dichotomies, the dance looses its poesy. But I digress. How can tango lead to depression?  The ongoing discomfort of high heels, bunion toes, an aching back, late sleepless nights and groggy work the next day, or the endless politics of the dance floor, the people you haven’t slept with and wish you had, or the people you have slept with and wish you hadn’t…

But if the tango journey is really about beauty and sensuality, love and loss, gravity and flight, doing and non-doing, yin and yang, and any other dramatic polarity that you can imagine, it can be a good place to park your restlessness for a very long time.



“In Pali, mindfulness literally means to remember.” Joseph Goldstein.

Elyse Shafarman

I find this interesting, because all the practices that orient us towards more skillful living are easy. It’s not hard to become aware of the breath, or how the feet rest on the ground. It’s not hard to wish the neck to be free. It’s not hard to contemplate that all beings, like ourselves wish for happiness and peace. The difficulty lies in remembering in the heat of living.

That’s why all the daily moments when we remember to practice are so important. It’s as simple and as difficult as remembering to stop before opening a door, or responding to a text, or snapping at a loved one.

Once we remember that we can stop, we are on the road to greater freedom.