While my workshops each have a theme or focus, I’m always guided by the participants’ questions and needs as they arise in the moment. In every context, however, I try to convey my underlying approach to the Alexander teaching, that of working with a person’s potential rather than focusing on habitual use as a negative obstacle to be overcome.
When I teach, I am interested in working with the person’s potential for becoming other than who they are currently committed to being. For me, this approach is preferable to working with a person’s “habit of use” in the negative sense. In the teaching approach I propose, habit is viewed more as a reference point for inhibition. No matter how committed a person is to her habitual patterns of behavior and identity, she is always greater and deeper than her habits reflect.
My attention and my pupil’s attention to the inhibitive moment involves withholding definition of who we are committed to being. Withholding definition enables us to allow in new information that informs the experience we are having. Rather than always managing our own experience, based on past perceptions, we are able to actually live the experience as it happens.
For me and for other Alexander teachers who have experienced teaching in this way, it is a truly wonderful way to communicating with a student. The moment in which we are helping the student to let go of what was once quite useful, important and perhaps necessary to her as she forged her sense of self calls for compassion on our part as teachers. It also calls for self compassion on the part of the student as he lets go of a part of who he has been in favor of who he might become.