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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 stall.


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 running.


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




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