Body, Breath and Being: A New Guide to the Alexander Technique by Carolyn Nichols I’ve studied the Alexander Technique myself for over a decade now, and credit it for pulling me out of chronic tendinitis in my wrists and keeping me free of back pain during my pregnancy. But what the technique is and does and how to explain it to the vast majority of people who’ve never heard of it before has always been a challenge. While common in Australia and Britain, it’s relatively unknown here, and that, too, makes it difficult as it’s really best to work with a teacher and those are hard to come by here. This book does an excellent job of explaining both the theory and the practice of it. It talks about how to recognize and inhibit unhelpful habits and gently encourage your body towards better use. Nichols profiles several of her students from their own points of view, explaining their difficulties before starting the Technique and how it helped after they started. I’ve seen other similar books use fictional, overly-easily resolved examples instead of real people; hearing the real stories, including where there are still difficulties, and including pictures of the people doing their work, was very helpful. While I could feel my body improving just by reading the book, it also includes an audio CD with guided workshops for each chapter. I didn’t have a chance to try them myself, but have heard from another Alexander student that they are very good. While there’s obviously no substitute for a trained teacher working with you personally, as your own bad habits feel right to you, this is the first book I’ve seen that looks like it could help you improve on your own. The Alexander Technique is traditionally used by those in the performing arts, but anyone whose life or work causes physically tension or pain will benefit from this book.
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