Grounded Presence

Alex Maunder has always been fascinated by the way that the Body/Mind/Emotions work together. As an experienced Alexander Technique Teacher he quickly realised that in many cases there were underlying psychological or stress issues that had to be resolved before the physical symptoms of tension and dis-ease could be effectively cured.

The essence of all growth and change is the ability to view your self from a detatched perspective, and this non-judgmental attitude informs his hands-on-skills as an Alexander Technique Teacher in a uniquely effective way.

F. M. Alexander wrote 4 books where he always stressed the importance of "Let the neck be free" but he never said how to achieve this.....The secret actually lies in proper grounding through the feet, I would call it Grounded Presence. This is a way of Being rather than a goal to be achieved, because it is a letting go of all goals and just being in the moment. Time slows down, you get a new perspective on your problems, solutions present themselves that were always there, but you just had never thought of them.

Let the neck be free....

"I fascilitate energy transformation. I help you to see where your energy flow is blocked through bad posture, self-limiting patterns of thought and behaviour and poor communication skills. When these blockages are removed your energy can be easily directed towards achieving inner peace and harmony or any clearly visualised outer goal".

Alex uses a simple three-step approach to self-transformation which he developed after years of research and practice. This is based on viewing the body as a map of the sub-conscious mind, and using changes in body posture and muscular release as a key to simultaneous shifts on the mental, emotional and spiritual levels. This leads to an experience of profound contentment and peace at a cellular level.

During the course of lessons you will be developing new positive thought patterns, transforming certain limiting, sub-conscious thought patterns and assumptions. This will be linked to physical sensations of release, relaxation and expansion. The third and final step is to go out, confront your fear and create something different in your life.

I often use the term "Grounded Presence" in my work because I believe that when you are properly grounded through the feet and pelvis you reach a detatched perspective on your whole life and gain access to an infinite source of vitality, wisdom, creativity and love within, which can then provide the inner guidance for living a successful, satisfying and balanced life.

Grounded Presence

Helps you gain a new sense of perspective.

The Alexander Technique is a psychophysical one: the teacher helps people to become aware of their habitual thought patterns as they try to change their physical habits. Every thought we have, every word we utter and every emotional tremor that we feel has a physical component. If we can decode that subtle body language (which never lies), we can understand and change our thought patterns, change our character and thus take control of our destiny.

Finding the words that fit is part of this process. These words that are linked to new and positive bodily sensations: when repeated, they will resonate and help to recreate those bodily sensations, and help to bring about a more positive, happier state of being. Then it is possible to confront the fear and change the behaviour. This is why the Alexander Technique is a 'Psycho-physical Therapy'.

Case Study

The client, a young woman, had been alone at her home at night during an attempted burglary. She frightened away the intruder, but afterwards was very traumatised and too frightened to be alone in her home at night. Conventional counselling could not help her, because even talking about the event brought on a panic attack.

The memory of her trauma expressed itself during her panic attacks as shallow, rapid breathing, an inability to think and tight stomach muscles. This in turn would bring on more acute feelings of anxiety and fear, resulting in a downward spiral of negative physical sensations and fearful thoughts.

My task as her Alexander Technique Teacher was to bring her into a calmer psychophysical space using a simple three-step process. Having named the problem, we worked together on grounding through the feet in order to restore a sense of inner support and calmness. First we worked with swaying to activate the feet, then came a calmer breathing pattern, and then we relaxed and realigned her body. Through the giving of directions, her body became still and all the muscles began to relax around the central axis of the spinal column.

She was then able to get a sense of Grounded Presence: From this perspective it felt like everything was perfect again and she felt total balance and harmony on the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual Levels. Her body process had responded with a series of subtle bodily shifts, as a pattern of release began to spread throughout her body, Her back began to lengthen and widen, her neck muscles released and the tension left her stomach muscles.

At this point she could let go of her physical tension patterns completely. Her mind contacted a state of deep inner calmness and creative indifference, detached from negative thoughts and inner conflicts.

I then asked her to pinpoint how she felt different about herself. The words that she spoke fitted her new state. They resonated with her new bodily experience. She could take them away with her as her own positive affirmation, to recite whenever the old fears started to recur. "My head is light My head is bright My stomach is relaxed I am feeling calm and peaceful Whatever happens, I can handle it."

As a result of repeating these words to herself (especially during difficult situations) she was able to recreate the psycho-physical release and get into an upwards spiral of positive physical sensations, thoughts and feelings. This was only the start of a retraining program which involved substituting positive thoughts for negative ones, feelings of physical calm and relaxation rather than panic and constriction and also gradually confronting her fear and reacting differently, eg being alone at home but her mum or boyfriend are out on the street, or just a mobile phone call away. These small graduated steps with the support of the Alexander Technique helped her to confront her fear and completely overcome her panic attacks.

Alex Maunder (BSc, MSTAT) is an author and has lectured at Middlesex University Dance & Drama Department. His book "Let Your Life Flow The Physical, Psychological and Spiritual Benefits of The Alexander Technique"(C W Daniel) was published in June 2002.

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