How I found the Alexander Technique at
the Back Show
Hilary Saw (first published in Statnews, January 2008).
"Back Show -whatís
a Back Show?" When my husband won some free tickets to this
yearís Back Show, the existence of such a thing was news to
me -very opportune news. I love running, but had been
plagued over the past year with hamstring pain. Finally, I
accepted that I had to stop running and rest. But cutting
out running and long distance walking didnít make the pain
go away, though it did make me unhappier! If anything, after
three days sitting at a conference, the pain was worse.
Returning from the conference I found my husband had tickets
which seemed to hold out some hope of improvement. Time to
try to get to some of the potential roots of the problem,
which I saw as my back, posture and running style.
The show itself was
a curious bazaar, and I quartered the room looking at the
stalls and collecting information on chairs for a friend
with long-term back problems, test driving some of them out
of curiosity -enjoying the expansive feeling which comes
from making yourself at home in furniture far more expensive
than you could ever afford. I came across a stall selling
shoes and asked to see a book there by Malcolm Balk. A few
girls from my running club had attended a course given by
this Canadian running coach and had come back very enthused.
Luckily, the person to whom I spoke was Susanna Scouller, an
Alexander teacher, who recommended that I go to the STAT
At the Societyís
stall I was warmly welcomed by Cristina Codina and was
astounded by the difference that having your head and neck
gently shepherded back into alignment can make to how you
feel. It was such a liberated and liberating feeling that I
wanted to stay there forever. This was enough to convince me
of the value of the Technique, and I decided to have
lessons. It was one of the best £10 Iíve spent in a long
time! Iíve now started lessons with Sue Merry, which I am
finding very enjoyable and beneficial. I know it takes time,
but the possibility of a different way of being motivates me
to stick with it.
I mentioned to
Cristina my interest in courses by Malcolm Balk, who I
discovered is also an Alexander teacher. She introduced me
to Brita Forsstrom, who was organising and assisting with
the very next one. Attending that course with a friend from
my club was huge fun and enormously helpful for both of us.
I highly recommend these courses to anyone interested in
So the answer to the
question I posed when I first heard of the Back Show would
be -itís an intriguing venue, but the best and most
valuable part of it are the Alexander teachers!
© Hilary Saw 2007