-bringing ideas to life







Second Manchester Meeting


Lucy Ascham reports on the latest Friends Event in Manchester 


Activities whilst Sitting.


The second AT Friends workshop took place on a rainy night in mid-March in Manchester. There were a dozen of us in total and even numbers of teachers and pupils, which made for an intimate and informal group. We started by offering hands-on work as people arrived.  


I received mixed feedback about peoples' comfort levels on being offered hands-on work when they first arrived. Some were uncomfortable with the idea of hands-on with a different teacher than they were used to and enjoyed some space as they arrived. Others were grateful to be engaged immediately and participating in a familiar way.   After 15 minutes Jan Dames presented a variety of explorations into 'sitting' as an integral part of an activity.


We brain-stormed about some of the less usual times and places when we sit -on a hillside, on a park bench, a horse and the loo.


Jan encouraged us to actively slump and sit up to attention, and discover these as part of the range of being out of balance and notice what happens to our sit-bones when we do. Then we were invited to hold the slump. When we fixed our muscles into the slump, held it and tried to move out of a chair -we gained around 20 years! There was a lot of laughter mixed for me with horror at seeing people age and stiffen so quickly. Fortunately for us we thought our way out of this and up into a tea break.


The second half of the evening saw all teachers offering a chance to explore sitting as part of the activity of driving, reading a newspaper, using a computer, sitting on the floor and playing a musical instrument. Kay Proudfoot brought her bike in for people to sit on as well.


I am grateful to Jan for his work in preparing and hosting the workshop -the amount of material he shared was for me both abundant and creative. I enjoyed the chance to learn, play and explore all the 'wrong things' in a way I found liberating. I have used several ideas from this workshop in my own work since and enjoy the growth the workshop gave me and my pupils too.


The number of participants was less than last time, a fact that I found disappointing as it is helpful to get a sense of the relationship between the energy put in by AT teachers and the degree to which this is seen as helpful within our community; one way of getting a measure of this is by the number of people who attend. However I heard from a handful of my pupils that they regretted that previous engagements and family commitments had kept them away from the event and that they are looking forward to another opportunity in the future. I'm pleased to hear this and am encouraged to say we will have another session within the next 4-6 months.   If anyone has any particular requests for a topic for next time, please tell your teacher and we'll use it in our planning at our monthly Teachers' Meets.


I would like to add that I have a real longing for more people in the world to know that it's not an inevitable part of aging to fix and stiffen and struggle -as we explored. And I'd like to be able to contribute to more people finding ease in themselves. I wonder if you'd be willing to tell two friends or family members this week about your experiences and encourage them to take care of themselves the Alexander way? 


Lucy Ascham 2008




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