Alexander Technique helps us to become aware of how we respond to stimuli and it shows us how to let go of those responses that don’t serve us. For instance, many people get stuck in the fight-or-flight reflex (head thrust forward, shoulders rising up, neck and torso compressed). While that might benefit us in certain emergencies such as when a fist heads towards our face, it does not help us in 99% of life. Instead, it makes movement, thought and emotion more halting.
Almost all head, neck and back pain comes from needless muscular holding, said JFK’s physician Dr. Janet Travell. With Alexander lessons, we can learn about our habits and drop the ones that hurt us.
A person who moves awkwardly is more likely to think and feel awkwardly and to relate to others awkwardly. By contrast, somebody who’s poised will likely connect with others in a poised way. Just ask yourself — would I rather hang out with people filled with weird tension patterns or with those who are at ease?
I charge $100 per lesson (which usually lasts 45 minutes).
2. My journey
6. TMJ Relief
9. Back pain
11. My sore stomach
17. Physical therapy
Recommended Writings On Alexander Technique:
Here are my interviews with Alexander Technique teachers:
3. Malcolm Balk
6. Paul Cook
10. Bruce Kodish
11. Bill Plake
12. Robert Rickover
14. Larry White
Alexander Technique lessons helped me to:
· Feel energized
· Let go of unnecessary tension, back pain, and tennis elbow
· Overcome Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
· Exercise without injury
Hello, my name is Luke Ford. I studied daily for three years at the Alexander Training Institute of Los Angeles to learn a more elegant way of living. Just as the way you drive your car affects the way it functions, so too the way you drive yourself affects the way you function.
Alexander Technique is a way of noticing how you respond to stimuli and how you can let go of those responses that don’t serve you. For instance, most people respond to stimuli by compression. Whether they are lifting a bowl of soup, talking to the boss, or just getting in and out of a chair, they tend to scrunch up. They feel like if they can just make themselves smaller, other people will hurt them less. But that doesn’t work. We can compress ourselves and other people will simply mirror us. By contrast, when we learn to expand by letting go of our interfering tension patterns, we think and feel more clearly and move more gracefully and our friends are relieved to be around somebody who’s poised.
When most people age, they get caught in a strait-jacket of their own habits until the tasks of daily life like driving, reaching into the refrigerator, or working at a computer, become difficult. This is not necessary but it has become the default trajectory for many Westerners. When I see people click a mouse or lift a beer or try to project their voice, I notice that most of them tighten up to do these simple acts, setting the stage for pain and injury.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Most people can learn the basics of Alexander Technique in a few lessons and begin to let go of destructive habits.
I charge $100 per lesson (which usually lasts about 45 minutes).
Born and raised in Australia, I moved to California in 1977. I graduated from Placer High School in 1984, reported the news at KAHI/KHYL radio for three years, attended Sierra College and UCLA until I was bedridden for much of my 20s by Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
I discovered the Alexander Technique in 2008 and it changed my life. I immediately went on to train to become an Alexander teacher, graduating in December of 2011.
What to expect
If my student is in pain, I’ll typically have him lie down and I’ll use my hands and my questions to help him notice patterns of unnecessary tension and to let them go. From there, we’ll go on to look at how he performs routine tasks of life such as lifting, walking, and sitting to see how he can do these things more elegantly and efficiently. My emphasis is not on getting things done but in noticing how we go about doing things. How do you lift that pen? How do you grip your steering wheel? How do you type? How do you project your voice across a room? How do you lift those barbells?
My work primarily consists of helping the student to become aware of needless compression. Once he realizes how he’s scrunching himself, it is relatively easy to show him how to take up his full space in the world.
Some of my lessons take place in a chair. We’ll learn how the stimuli of folding and unfolding the limbs getting up and down distorts their head-neck-back relationship. Many people hold their breath when they stand up and sit down. Often they go into a modified version of the startle pattern, compressing their necks and tipping their heads back, shortening and tightening their torso during this common activity. Some students bend their knees only when they absolutely have to, preferring to compress themselves and then collapse into the chair. To stand, they often have to rock forward and push themselves up. The older people get, the more these simple tasks become difficult.
Without becoming aware of our patterns of needless tension, most of us become trapped in our habits of compression.
I want my students to notice what they’re doing to themselves and to stop doing the things that are hurting them. For most of us, if we stop injuring ourselves and pulling down, we naturally float up and do the right thing.
Alexander Technique is less about learning new things than about unlearning bad habits.
Most transformational systems build upon your present state. By contrast, Alexander Technique subtracts your harmful habits.
I like to have my students walk and to bring their attention to not just themselves but to everything around them. Many people tip to one side an inch or two. I help them to become aware of their tension patterns and to move more gracefully.
For most people, graceful movement leads to graceful thinking and to graceful feeling and to graceful relationships with themselves and with others. How many people do you know who are contorted in their movements but are still easy to be around?
Most of my students are actors. I like to watch as they do their thing and then I offer suggestions on how they can do their thing more easily. I don’t need to know anything about throwing a javelin or playing an oboe to be able to spot patterns of needless tension and to help a student release them.
I also teach via Skype.
1. How many lessons will I need?
2. Most people can learn the basics of the Technique in about five lessons. Becoming proficient usually takes dozens of lessons. Some people don’t make permanent changes without at least 30 lessons. Learning the Technique is like learning a foreign language. You can master the alphabet and a few phrases in a handful of lessons but fluency takes more study.
3. How much does a lesson cost?
4. I charge $100 for a 45-minute lesson. I have a 24-hour cancellation policy. If I come to you for the lesson, depending on how far you are from Beverly Hills, I charge extra.
5. What should I wear?
6. Doesn’t matter.
7. Where can you take a lesson?
8. I can teach anywhere, including via Skype.
9. Will it hurt?
10. I’ve never heard of anyone getting hurt in an Alexander lesson. Alexander teachers have liability insurance premiums under $200 a year because our work is gentle and safe.
1. “Luke observed my posture closely and gave me three simple exercises that have been absolutely great in easing my lower back pain and expanding my range of motion. Highly recommended.” – Selwyn Gerber, CPA
2. “Luke is awesome. I gained over an inch in height over the course of my first few months with him.” – Joey Kurtzman, Writer
3. “Through Alexander sessions with Luke Ford, I am now bringing conscious awareness to my posture and alignment every day. I could describe all the ways this has positively impacted my life but suffice to say they are many! Highly recommend Luke for all people with a skeleton and muscles.” – Sukh Anand Kaur, Yoga Teacher
4. “Before working with Luke I knew nothing about the Alexander Technique. Luke is not only a skilled practitioner in explaining and demonstrating the processes, but is also a student of the history of how the technique developed. He is engaging and his directions, both verbally and through touch make it easy to implement the teachings. He is patient and good humored throughout. I would highly recommend him to anyone interested in improving their bearing or easing the stresses that build up when standing, walking sitting and lifting.” – (Century City Lawyer)
5. “I recommend a fabulous Alexander Technique teacher, Luke Ford. For those who haven’t done this work… definitely do it!” – Josh Man, Actor
6. “Luke Ford has taught Alexander Technique to me nearly every week for the past few months, and has always treated me during our sessions with the utmost respect, caring, and professionalism — exactly what I would expect from a healthcare professional.
7. “Luke introduced me to Alexander methods to deal with my chronic neck and shoulder injury caused by an auto crash years ago. I had never heard of AT before, but through Luke’s patience in teaching to me every step of the way, and answering all of my many questions, I have learned what the Technique is about and how to apply it to my life.” – (Rabbi Rabbs)
In the News
1. Simple, no-drug way to ease back pain – 6ABC.com
2. Improving Your, Um, You Know, Public Speaking – Wall Street Journal
3. The Alexander Technique: An Alternative Therapy for Chronic Back Pain – Johns Hopkins Health Alert
4. Victoria Beckham fights poor posture with Alexander Technique – Marie Claire
5. A Balm For Back Pain? – N.P.R.
6. A Dramatic Cure for Back Pain – Oprah.com
7. Randomized controlled trial of Alexander technique lessons for back pain – British Medical Journal
Most of my clients are actors and models. They see me to:
1. Let go of interfering tension patterns
2. Become aware of their unconscious habits and reactions
3. Move elegantly
4. Learn to embody different characters
5. Free up their voice
6. Overcome stage fright
7. Push reset on themselves so they can take on a new character