through the Alexander Technique
As a young person, I felt wrong, in my body, in my thinking, in my feelings. I didn’t know the mind, body and emotions are all one and the same, didn’t know that the depression, the “wrong” that weighed heavily on my shoulders, that pushed me down into a deep slump, was a psychophysical state that the talk therapy I had begun could not entirely remedy. I discovered the Alexander Technique by chance through a friend and a book and then a first lesson. In that first lesson I realized that the interweaving of ME, the self that I was, that pulled down, that felt bad, that thought I was wrong was a self-perpetuating feedback loop and I was in need of a way out. My “wrong” way of being was an all-encompassing manner of responding to literally everything! It was my way of living in the world!
My body was poorly coordinated; I was very tense and contracted. My attitude was negative, my self-esteem very low. I lived in an emotional state of fear and anxiety.
I realized all of this during that first lesson, with the help of the teacher, through the simple activity of walking outdoors on a lovely day. The Alexander Technique teacher used his hands to help me come gently out of my slump, to see out in front of me the beauty of the day, to experience a deeper, freer breath, and to find the lightness and ease of moving about that was suddenly possible but that did not feel like ME, and at the same time felt like the true ME. I was sold right then and there.
I have spent the last 30 years exploring this fascinating subject of the Use of the Self, how we live our lives as a Self, an extraordinary composite of physical, mental, and emotional energy that goes about moving through and responding to our environment.
Largely my work is about helping others become aware of the unconscious physical and mental habits (they truly are entangled into one) that deter them. It is about supporting people as they learn skills of thinking and moving with greater ease, coordination, confidence and trust. This work is really about how to live a quality life to your fullest potential. The quiet and powerful hands-on guidance of an Alexander Technique teacher, along with the practice of the principles of this work, move us toward greater liberation, transformation and healing.
Chris (Christiane) Friedman has been a certified Alexander Technique teacher in Charlottesville, VA since 1990. Chris completed a postgraduate Alexander Technique training in The Art of Breathing with Jessica Wolf in 2010, and is currently completing a postgraduate refresher course with John Nicholls in NYC. She is the director of the Alexander Technique Training Center in Charlottesville and the former director of Studio 206, a Mind/Body Education Center she founded. She has also been a Black Belt Nia Instructor.