Lessons with Erik Bendix in the
What is the Alexander Technique?
Alexander Technique teaches how to recover your natural upward bounce of vitality by first learning how not to waste effort holding yourself down. It has helped people overcome everything from back pain to repetitive stress injury, from stage fright to stuttering, from trauma to depression. It does not try to remedy any such difficulties directly. Instead, it lets imbalances right themselves in a larger context of how you balance and coordinate yourself as a whole.
…the Alexander Technique doesn’t teach you something new to do. It teaches you how to bring more practical intelligence into what you are already doing; how to eliminate stereotyped responses; how to deal with habit and change. It leaves you free to choose your own goal but gives you a better use of yourself while you work toward it.
Who was Alexander?
The Alexander Technique was developed by Frederick Matthias Alexander, an Australian actor who lived from 1869 to 1955. Early in his acting career, Alexander began having voice troubles that doctors could not seem to relieve. Taking matters into his own hands, Alexander worked out a method of freeing up his breath. Eventually, this became a technique for freeing up his entire person, something he was increasingly able to impart to others using manual guidance. In later life, his skill in freeing people from suffering became so masterful that teachers of his methods have been trying to recapture that skill ever since. His technique is now taught in music conservatories and acting schools worldwide. Its field of application continues to expand.
Change involves carrying out an activity against the habit of life.
Exploring Alexander Technique through the Dart Procedures
Raymond Dart was a scientist, the first to discover human ancestor fossils in Africa in 1926. The “Taung child” skull he found proved that our hominin ancestors evolved to stand and walk upright long before they developed larger brains. At first Dart’s discovery was overshadowed by “Piltdown Man” discovered in England; it wasn’t until 1953 that the Piltdown skull was exposed as a forgery. In the intervening years, Dart used his knowledge of Alexander Technique and of brain evolution to help his own brain-injured son learn to walk. The movement series Dart developed for his son explores the effects of weight-bearing on the nervous system. This series is now known as the Dart Procedures. Dart passed them on to Alexander Technique teachers Alex and Joan Murray in the 1970s while he taught at the Institutes for Human Potential in Philadelphia. The Murrays have explored, articulated, and taught Dart’s procedures for over four decades since, with stunning improvements in the functioning of their pupils. Erik Bendix has been studying with the Murrays since 1997.
…star performers…, whether jugglers or acrobats, dancers or sportsmen, are merely outstanding examples of the well-balanced but gyratory bodies Nature designed for all mankind; they have bodies which every person should possess or be gradually discovering for himself.
Each of the articles listed below are connected to Erik Bendix, though not all of them were written by him. The introductory talk by Glynn MacDonald to a group of health professionals in Cincinnati in 2001 was organized and introduced by him. The notes on talks given by Walter Carrington were ones he took in London at the Constructive Teaching Centre in 2000. The article on skiing and the Alexander Technique was published in the AmSAT News in the summer of 2006. The article on scoliosis has not been published.