Live Better: Alexander Technique
and Inspirations for Well-being
Searby, Publ. Duncan Baird, 2007, pbk with flaps, 128pp,
170x140mm, price £4.99
(first published in Statnews, September 2007).
one in a series of popular introductory books entitled
Live Better: skills and inspirations for well-being.
Other books in the series cover topics such as Aromatherapy,
Chakra Therapy, Yoga, Reiki, and Pilates. It’s a pretty
little book produced to a high standard, on quality paper.
Every book in the series is set out in the same way: four
main chapters, one or two pages for each topic within a
chapter, and single pages with ‘inspirational’ quotes
interspersed throughout the copy, alongside atmospheric
book is very well organised, and eases into the subject
smoothly, obviously aiming at accessibility. Certain
sections are outstanding, clear and cohesive. Visiting a
Teacher is fresh and real, and expresses the benefits of
one-to-one lessons compellingly. Strengthening the back
is excellent: whole-person oriented as well as thorough in
its explanation; it also manages to impart something about
the experience without asking the reader to ‘try this’. This
is an example of how painstaking editing can produce
something comprehensive yet lucid in a small space.
kept wondering why, if all the bits seemed to be there, I
had a sense of fragmentation. Missing the personality of the
author as I first read it, I had a look at other books in
the series. They all have the same journalistic tone, they
all contain a fair amount of DIY advice, and they’re
segmented into sound-bite sized pieces that obstruct
continuity and obscure a sense of the greater whole. It’s
hard to see anything other than the box you’re looking at.
this style and format don’t support the author’s clear wish
to convey the holistic nature of the Technique. While the
editor wants to put separate little packages all in a row,
the author has a struggle to link it all up. And the boxes
are too small. So a couple of the concepts feel, to me,
incomplete. (I do feel it’s a tragedy when the Alexander
Technique is sold short: for a long time I dismissed it as
superficial. It was only an appreciation of the far-reaching
power of Inhibition that made me take interest.)
ducks in a row approach has its strongest effect in the
final chapter, when after numerous ‘try this’ examples which
strongly emphasise the ‘physical’, you’ve forgotten the
lovely principles that came before. Perhaps in the next
edition they can add a bigger duck called All Together.
favourite page relates Alexander Technique to mindfulness.
Hooray! Can we have more than half a sound-bite of this
please? I would welcome the portrayal of the Technique as
‘presence in activity’ rather than ‘thinking in activity’.
This communicates a sense of wholeness and aliveness that
can be easily grasped by athletes, artists and intellectuals
We owe a
debt of gratitude to any who undertake such a gargantuan
task as writing a book on the Alexander Technique. Perhaps
this author, who I feel has a still better book in him, will
gather his courage one day to do it again, his way! Live
Better: Alexander Technique is certainly friendly and
vibrant, and with luck will persuade many new people to have