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Alexander Technique The Twelve Fundamentals of Integrated Movement


All aspects of life involve movement. This book offers a broad, new theoretical framework of how integrated movement occurs, with ideas from recent science, and practical explorations. Aimed at teachers and trainees of the Alexander technique, and all movement educators and somatic therapists, it uses accessible language to enable experiential learning. The explorations are simple techniques that build to enable practitioners both to look after themselves in life and practice, and to use with clients to help them understand and integrate what we offer them.



While there are many books on the Alexander technique, I have not found one so focused on going back to the basics of the very beginning of the teachings of Alexander. The author takes Alexander’s understanding of 100 years ago and backs it up with new scientific theory and research. Step by step, the book takes readers from the fundamentals and builds through movement and into the possibilities of unknown integrated movement. This book is easy to read, and the author’s passion and knowledge pull readers in and keep them turning the pages.

This book does an amazing job of covering exactly what the title states: the Alexander technique and the fundamentals of movement that are important for anyone working in an environment that instructs others on muscles and movement, such as physical therapy, rehabilitation, massage, or personal training.

The purpose is to present a complete, in-depth understanding of the teachings and techniques of Alexander. The author has done her research and studied under the people closest to Alexander, making this an amazing, easy-to-read and follow book, not only to study but to explore. This book is long overdue and desperately needed. Modern science is learning more about the mind-body connection, exactly what Alexander addressed 100 years ago with his first teaching. This book not only addresses the ‘what’ and the ‘why’ of his teachings and backs it up with modern scientific findings, it goes on to instruct in the “how” with pictures and video links for students and teachers. It meets its objectives on all levels and goes above and beyond in the wealth of information.

While the author states, ‘this book is offered to the AT profession as a contribution toward filling the gap for trainees and for teachers’, it goes beyond this as a handbook for everyone interested in improving their own movement or the movement of those they work with in any occupation involved with rehabilitation or improving muscular function. The author has spent a lifetime “living” this book. Her passion has led her to study, travel, learn, and then study more until she found the answers to the Alexander technique. She has put all that information and knowledge into an amazing package that everyone can benefit from.

The book lays out a wonderful framework, flowing from fundamentals of movement into how the brain and body are linked, and then how to take all of that and live in balance. The book takes readers step by step through the understanding backed up with new scientific theory into the application, with a natural progression through lessons focused on each different area of the body and then combining all into flowing movements as simple as catching a ball and speaking. Unique features of these lessons are scannable links to videos with the author presenting the movement lessons. The index makes it easy to pinpoint a topic readers may wish to find quickly. The only shortcoming of this book is that readers will not be able to put it down and they will never be able to ‘just move’ again without marvelling at the intricacies of the body, mind, and movement.

My copy of Penelope Easten‘s groundbreaking book arrived a few weeks ago! I am blown away, and will need months to let it all sink in. Wow… If you don’t have it yet, get it! Years of her experience, knowledge and in-depth research on teaching integrated movement is explained comprehensively, yet accessibly, with practical applications, and plenty of wonderful movement explorations. Alexander Technique, movement science, neuroscience, and so much more; importantly, clarifying the so-easily misunderstood areas, such as the ‘psychophysical’ concepts, spatial awareness, ‘inhibition’, bio tensegrity, muscle tone, directions, fascia, proprioception, Body Mapping, interoception, embodied consciousness, etc, all well-referenced. A masterful assimilation and a treasure of missing puzzle pieces, very beautifully presented, and charting exciting collaborative ways forward.

Alexander Technique has come a long way. In her book Penelope charts the journey so well both in her words and her pictures. This book is a wonderful resource for everyone who is interested in their get-up-and-go vitality. Whether dipping in or studying long term, there is something for every ‘body’. For students, teachers, lay people and professionals, yoga and Pilates teachers and all disciplines working with the body. Penelope has brought her years of self-exploration and self-work to it. For newbies and experienced teachers alike, she has covered all aspects to provide a self-study manual with step-by-step, easy to understand exploration. She has presented great illustrations of which most are her own modelling; in short, she is her own words personified in her pictures. Penelope demonstrates her many years of practical application of the technique. She includes easy to understand explanations of modern concepts e.g. fascia, making the complex simple in non-technical language. I give this book and Penelope 20 out of 10 for her tenacity and commitment to writing a book with so much wisdom in it. Well done Penelope.

As an Alexander technique teacher of 38 years, I have often wondered how the public would ever understand this work through print. This book is a welcomed answer. Easten’s writing is delightfully conversational, yet deeply informative. She describes the principles of this embodied philosophy of daily living in accessible and practical ways. As a guide to self-regulation and self-care, the book speaks to the needs of today’s sedentary and aging population. What is this body we live in? How do we tend, appreciate, and enjoy the functional tasks of daily living? Easten’s twelve fundamentals integrate anatomical structure with function – how body and mind work together to change automatic reflex wiring into thoughtful reflection and mindless action into conscious choice. Readers can enjoy basic tips on body awareness and anatomical support for breathing, balance, and poise in everyday actions. Photographs of Easten demonstrating, reveal a seasoned teacher who looks elegant and at ease in everything from fully squatting to wearing stilettoes. Part 2 of the book offers real meat. Here, readers can learn the basics of physical integration by exploring nearly 50 lessons that address alignment, balance, sitting, standing, reaching and more. These explorations are gleaned from Easten’s decades of dedicated learning and practice. Each lesson offers a guided description, photos of Easten in action with lines indicating proper directions – evidence enough that she embodies what she is talking about. Best, though, is access to online video tutorials, truly making the work come alive. In essence, this book is an homage to Easten’s original teacher, Miss Goldie, to the century-old lineage of the Alexander technique, and to a public that she knows is intelligent enough to learn at any age and stage of life. Bravo!


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