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on 22 July 2017
I found it very hard going to read about a technique which is ultimately essentially very simple only got through 10% ot.
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on 8 October 2009
A number of books attempt to describe what the Alexander Technique (AT) is and why and how it works. Because the method is so subtle (and also because our system gives us sensory spacial feedback that we can't always rely upon) authors on the subject invariably stop short of giving any more than the most basic self-help exercises, or techniques, and advise finding an Alexander Teacher. This Author takes a different approach. By using a number of cleverly interwoven cases, explanations of the way the brain and nervous system operates in terms both of human development, and our day-to-day 'use' of our body-mind, Missy Vinyard manages to explain and give deep insights into the reasons we can't readily correct our own misalignments and body 'mis-use'. She also gives a clear and thorough explanation of how the AT works in both theory and practice, with a lot of material for self-exploration. It's evident that the Author has a deep knowledge and understanding of the way we humans develop, learn and 'operate'. As a teacher of Shiatsu and Qigong I found this book exciting and informative and I'd recommend it to anyone considering embarking on, or engaged in, AT lessons. Also to those in other branches of Complementary Medicine interested in some different perspectives & insights into the way human function and mis-function.
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on 25 January 2016
I choose this book over other books on the subject due to the high customer rating.
My preference would be for the book to have lots of photos showing postures of how and how not to do to move, stand, live.
On first glance and without reading it at all yet. I want to give my first impression.

I would say the book is 80/20 words. Pictures in the book are pencil sketches.
The Alexander Technique is a philosophy, so lots of words are needed i can see that.
But equally for people who are quite visual like me, more pictures in the book, 40/100 or 50/100 would balance the book more, and so would benefit all types of learning styles.

I will update the review once i get into the book some more.
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on 27 September 2009
I think this is an excellent book on Alexander Technique. It's very much Missy Vineyard revealing her process as a teacher, relating stories of her personal experiences on the Alexander Road of learning including her students' experiences. It is a look at a voyage of discovery and her conclusions. She has clearly studied recent neuro-science discoveries and used these to explain the principles of Alexander in modern language. It is very thorough and after every chapter some experiments that the reader can start to play with for themselves. I teach Alexander myself and find it useful as a teacher. It is also a good read as an introduction to those wondering whether to embark on this journey. Good for all levels! I don't agree with all her findings or ways (I have some questions on "the positive 'no' ",for example) but enjoy the intelligence behind it and its questing style. I'm not very keen on the drawings, but maybe that's my personal aesthetic.
It's my favourite book at the present time that I recommend to my students. It makes it so clear that Alexander is about thinking and not a body discipline.
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on 31 August 2008
I am training to be a teacher of the Alexander Technique and have a stack of books from introductory guides to the difficult works of Alexander himself.

Everyone would agree that no book should replace having lessons from a teacher - that would be impossible - but if you read one book on the Alexander Technique, make it this one!

Missy Vineyard writes so well, has come up with new insights, it's fresh and inspiring and reaches newcomers and experienced teachers alike. She makes new links, gets the fundamentals right and is a new star in this field.
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on 25 January 2013
To begin a book aiming to attract a new audience to a new product by starting with case histories seems to me inspired thinking. I was hooked into the narrative from page one.

How You Stand, How You Move, How You Live: Learning the Alexander Technique to Explore Your Mind-Body Connection and Achieve Self-Masterythe title) has a lot going for it.

It has first hand case histories - across the board of human interest.

It has drawings that are accurate and sensitive - in good light they are fantastic.

It has a tone of gentle enquiry and a journal like quality from the author so that you feel you are going with her on this voyage of discovery.

It is written recently with accessible language so you feel both involved in the story and invited to accompany the writer in her day to day life.

All the characters she comes across have encountered a physical problem that affects their quality of life. Does that ring any bells with any one?

Missy Vineyard doesn't pretend to know everything immediately or have all the solutions, yet life changing patterns emerge for the various characters who appear in the narrative. In their different ways all the characters immeasurably improve their lives. Just go ask them- as she might say.

I particularly like the retelling of the story of the author's son learning to be better at baseball armed with only the most rudimentary "instruction" from his school coach. How often have you been told - usually by a so called expert - to "Just try harder?" Obviously this can be of no value at all if we are unable to work out what to do to begin with let alone do more of the same....

When the mother -who had never played the game- and was coming at it with a childs' eye - taught the boy to try a different way I was literally on the edge of my seat waiting to find out what would happen next.

And of course he does find a way through, with mum's coaching; and he literally steps up to the plate and ups his game.

So this is a story of a coach learning to be a coach and affecting people's lives for the better armed with her experiences as an Alexander teacher.

And its likely that not many of you know what an Alexander teacher is or why you would want one.

But if you want to find out what happens when a little of the Alexander technique is applied to the day to day world of ordinary people,( who end up doing remarkable things )- then you have to read this book.

And read it in the old fashioned way - as slowly as possible.

Or have it read to you ...by someone who's voice you love.

Then you will gain the maximum benefit from this truly remarkable book.

In my opinion it is in a class of its own as being a companion book for newcomers to the technique as well as being a guide for trainee teachers in the Alexander Technique.
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on 17 May 2011
This is a great book.

Initially the style of drawing lessons from client histories and personal experiences did not grab me. I've read a lot of books in that style which either fall short of delivering on promise, or demand unrealistic dedication from the reader in order to achieve the promised miracle. However this book is much more than an advertisement for The Alexander Technique.

When I really read though MV's unassuming words I was amazed and delighted. She carefully builds up an accurate and easily understandable picture of how the human body works. It effectively explains why we often ache as we get older, and how such pain can be released. This is why I bought the book. A better understanding of my body is already enabling me to resolve some troubling pains in a couple of my joints on my own.

Above and beyond that MV shows by clear example how anyone can improve sports performance, simply by allowing the parts of the brain that deal with motion and co-ordination to do their job, without interference from the rest of the brain.

From my point of view the most brilliant parts of the book are the descriptions of the body's senses and how they work, and the description of the classroom session in which MV explains in detail what happens, and what she does, and what she experiences during an AT session. This section is a must read for anyone who is involved with touch therapies of any kind. It unravels what can appear mystical and turns it into plain common sense.
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on 20 June 2016
I'm quite sure that Missy Vineyard is a brilliant teacher of the Alexander Technique,however in this book I feel she over intellectualises what is in fact something quite simple.I was lucky in that I had lessons,way back in the 1970's from the late Peter Scott,one of Alexanders original pupils.Unfortunately,I had a severe stroke six years ago,which seemed to have turned off the Technique.By chance I started doing Qigong exercises and standing in the Wu Chi position began reactivating the Alexander Technique.Reading this book I found interesting and started me realising that I must begin to make more mental effort in my endevours.When I had the stroke I completely lost my ability to play the classical guitar and lute and I had to start learning to play all over again.Working on the Technique has meant that my playing has made a leap forward!
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on 30 October 2009
I have had some Alexander Technique lessons in the past and at that time I experienced more neck pain than I started with. After reading this book there appears to be a way forward for me to offset my tendency to create tension in my neck when I carried out the Alexander directions "Let the neck be free, so that the head can go forwards and up etc" . Missy Vineyard suggests the introduction of the thought "I want to not tighten my neck" to inhibit that tendency, before going on to give directions "I want to let my head be forward and up". For this reason alone I would have bought the book, as I have experienced less tension in my neck since applying the suggestion.

There are numerous exercises in the book which allow experimentation with all the concepts of the AT along with new ones introduced by Missy, in particular "turning on the Prefrontal Cortex" which activates the part of the brain that does the inhibiting to prevent habitual patterns of tension.

An excellent book and one I will be picking up to read and apply on a regular basis.
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on 2 August 2010
I had been taking weekly Alexander Technique lessons for about 4 months. At first I gained a lot from the lessons but later seemed to reach a block where I was not making any progress - this was to the point where i stopped taking lessons. I then bought about 5 books on the subject including the original text by Alexander himself, 'The Use of the Self'.

Missy's book is by far the best text and it has explained to me why i was had reached a block in my exercising the technique. It is full of practical examples that reasonate with my own AT experiences.

I read another review which said that this is not a self help book. I would say that this is a great self help book only after having had a few lessons but will not be of much use any earlier as one would not understand the concepts Missy is explaining.

I usually read books very quickly but this book took me over a week to read as i was making sure I understood as much of it as possible. Highly recommended.
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