John Nicholls: The Breathing Man

"At the beginning of F.M. Alexander’s teaching career in Melbourne and later in Sydney, his advertising leaflets said he was teaching “full chest breathing”. Near the end of his teaching career in the early 1950s in London he is quoted as saying: “When one breathes in the right way, one lengthens the spine and widens and strengthens the back”. So it’s clear breathing remained a preoccupation for him throughout his teaching life.

However, I find often in Alexander teacher training courses students are diverted from gaining the full benefit of observing their own breathing, and later that of their own students, by statements like “we don’t need to pay attention to breathing because breathing takes care of itself if you take care of your use.”

In this video, we discuss why this is an unhelpful position to take and hampers full understanding of use. In the process we will experiment with some practical procedures to help you become more aware of the relationship between patterns of breathing and lengthening and widening. I’ve often said “observation of breathing is the royal road to kinaesthetic refinement “, and it is indeed a wonderful aid to understanding how to work on your use in a more self-reliant way."

Thank you to John Nicholls for his generosity in presenting this online talk for AUSTAT free of charge.