Alexander Technique Centre Ireland Newsletter, April 2013

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Tea time fun at the AT Convention 2013

Welcome to the April 2013 edition of the newsletter. We hope you enjoy it! A special welcome if you are new to the Alexander Technique mailing list. You will be sent an e-newsletter about 3-4 times a year.

Featured in this issue:

We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.  — Einstein

Alexander Technique 5 Day Residential Course next week with Richard Brennan

Richard Brennan, director of Alexander Technique Centre, Galway, Ireland

There are still a few places left at a week-long (Monday - Friday) residential course in a quiet retreat centre near Dublin - a real opportunity to immerse yourself in the Alexander Technique completely for 5 days. The course starts Monday morning and finishes lunchtime on Friday (cost €495) and includes 4 or 5 individual sessions with 3rd year students or teachers. It is suitable for people who know little or nothing about the technique as well as those who have some experience. It is so relaxing and enjoyable that many people return year after year! Highly recommended! - This week can turn your life around for the better!

Course Details

Dates: Monday 15th – Friday 19th April 2013
Times: 10.00 am on Monday to 2.30 pm on Friday
Venue: Emmaus Centre, Swords, Co. Dublin
Cost: €495 for accommodation, meals and tuition. Note: There is also a non-residential rate - please contact Emmaus for details.
To Book: Please contact the Emmaus Centre - telephone 01 870 0050 or email

Two 4 day workshops in May and June with Anne Johnson (USA)

Anne Johnson, Alexander Technique teacher

Week One

Returning Home to our Essential Nature of Being

During Anne's first week, we will be looking at what is essential and natural, as opposed to what is habitual. We will ask the question, 'What is the true essence of being?'

Trusting more, in doing less has become a theme for Anne. Practicing Inhibition continues to feed her relationship with being.

Turning to nature shows us the simplicity of upward and outward direction in the growth patterns of plants and people – as long as there is nourishment of ground (home, support), water (fluidity, grace), and sun (basic sustenance, reminder of direction and connection beyond).

Returning to what is natural, feeds our relationship with the primary control of the essence of being.

Anne's training with Jessica Wolf in Breathing Coordination expanded her awareness into the inner landscape. She freely admits that she had no idea how much she did not understand what 'natural' breathing was. Experiencing how breathing actually works - without interference, allows the natural ebb and flow of inner movement. From this, we can begin to observe and respect the natural cycle and direction of giving the breath without pushing and receiving the inspiration without pulling. Allowing this natural process to take place, deepens our relationship with inhibition.

Anne continues to weave her experience of natural coordinated breathing and the primary control into her teaching. As an artist, her work has also transformed, including more colour and inner presence into the abstract shapes and spaces in her paintings.

Course Details

Dates: Tuesday 28th - Friday 31st May 2013
Times: 10am on Tuesday - 11am on Friday
Venue: The Alexander Training College, Moycullen, Co. Galway
Cost: €195
To Book: Please contact Richard Brennan on 091 555800 or email

Week Two

Presence and the Exploration of Embodied Thoughts of Direction, Spatial Clarity and Connection with the World.

During the second week we will ask, 'What allows for presence'? Can our practice of awareness, inhibition and direction bring about a quality of being and connection where our mind is peaceful?

Anne believes that how we interact with our immediate world is fundamental and would like to explore using Alexander procedures as the basis for making contact with our world, using both our hands and our thoughts.

Anne's interest in seeing and understanding spatial relationships extends from her artwork into her teaching. For 15 years, she worked with architects exploring use and functioning of the body in the workplace, and in turn learned about the use and functioning of buildings in relationship to environment.Anne loves to pose the question, 'Do our repeated thoughts of inhibition and direction add up to a living, three-dimensional building of thought'?

Course Details

Dates: Tuesday 4th - Friday 7th June 2013
Times: 10am on Tuesday - 11am on Friday
Venue: The Alexander Training College, Moycullen, Co. Galway
Cost: €195
To Book:Please contact Richard Brennan on 091 555800 or email

About Anne Johnson

Anne Johnson received her BFA in Painting in 1983 from American University. Nine years later, she began her Alexander Technique Teacher Training with Bruce and Martha Fertman (trained by Marjory Barstow) at The Alexander foundation (TAF) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The course included yearly training with Elisabeth and Lucia Walker, and studies with Frank Ottiwell, Lyn Charlsen, Judy Stern, Barbara Kent, Anne Waxman and Michael Frederick on the Sweetbriar Summer Residential Course. Anne assisted at TAF for 6 years after her certification in 1995.

Anne's Post-Graduate work includes study on Elisabeth Walker's course in 1999, completion of the Carrington Way of Working in 2005 with John Nichols, Post-Graduate study at ATNYC in 2011, certification in The Art of Breathing with Jessica Wolf in 2010 and private lessons with John Nicholls, Caren Bayer and Peter Grunwald in 2012-13.

Anne has enjoyed a lively Alexander practice for 18 years. In addition to a growing private practice, she teaches musicians at the Boyer College of Music at Temple University. She also taught at the architecture firm of Venturi Scott Brown and Associates for 15 years. Each year she works with writers in the Rosemont College masters program, helping them develop their literary characters through a deeper understanding of human movement, coordination and expression. Most recently, Anne is teaching a series of workshops on “Embodied Presence” for Oryoki Zendo in western Pennsylvania. 2013 brings Anne back to Ireland for her second invitation to teach in Galway.

New Book by Richard Brennan

Cover of Back in Balance by Richard Brennan

Back in Balance: Use the Alexander Technique to Combat Neck, Shoulder and Back Pain

According to recent figures, back pain has now reached epidemic proportions with millions of people across the globe experiencing severe muscular pain every year - in fact, over 4 million people now input 'lower back pain' into Google every month. Most are suffering completely unnecessarily, as the root cause of their pain stems primarily from poor postural habits while performing everyday actions. In the last decade alone, the number of people in the UK who have suffered from back pain has risen to nearly 50% of the population. But help is at hand with Back in Balance, an easy-to-understand practical book designed to help readers discover the cause of their own individual back problem and offer them an effective and lasting solution to their suffering. This essential guide draws on many of the principles of the Alexander Technique, a practical way of releasing muscular tension throughout the body. Helping the reader to discover how their posture and movements may be having a detrimental effect on their health, this guide offers new ways of performing daily activities, with the aim of reducing muscular tension and stress on the bones and joints - and making their lives pain free.

Publication date: 1st July 2013. To order a copy now please visit our online bookshop:

Training Course featured in RTÉ's Nationwide

RTÉ Nationwide: Broadcast on 15th March 2013. Presented by Mary Kennedy. Duration 8m:18s.

Alexander Technique Teacher Padraig O Fatharta, and the Alexander Technique Training Centre in Galway, were featured on Nationwide on 15th of March 2013. As well as the Youtube clip shown here, you can view the whole programme on the RTÉ News Player here. The piece about Padraig's CD series, At Home In My Body, begins at 16m:36s.

Training Course News

Informal group at Alexander Technique Training Centre, Galway, Ireland

Ever thought of becoming an Alexander teacher? To find out more about this very rewarding career please go to


There are two places available on the Alexander Technique Training Course, starting in April, and four places in September. You can apply anytime.

Visiting the Training Course

Although primarily the Training Course is for those who wish to train to become Alexander Technique teachers, we do welcome those who wish to visit for a day, a week or even a whole term to improve their own understanding of the Technique. Anyone who is thinking of training to be a teacher is welcome to visit during the Open Week or any other week by arrangement. For further information see or contact the Centre on 091 555800.


Summer term 2013

Start and end of term: Tuesday 9th April – Wednesday 19th June
Mid-term break: 20th – 26th May
Visiting teachers: Anne Johnson (USA), 28th May - 7th June (two weeks)

Autumn term 2013

Start and end of term: Tuesday 17th September – Thursday 5th December
Mid-term break: 28th October - 3rd November
Visiting teachers: Anne Battye (UK), 8th - 11th October and Trish Hemingway (UK), 3rd - 5th December

Course hours: Tues 2.30–6.30pm, Weds 9.30am–4pm, Thurs 9.30am–1.30pm, Fri 9.30–11am
Please note: Visiting teacher weeks hours are 10am – 4pm.

For full details please visit:

Open Week at the Training College in Galway, May 14 - 17 (free)

Informal group at Alexander Technique Training Centre, Galway, Ireland

If you have ever considered doing further training in the Alexander Technique, either for you own personal interest, or with a view to becoming a teacher of the Alexander Technique, then you may be interested in the Open Week at the college. During this week people can come to the college for a day or a week and join in on the sessions.

This week is completely free to those who have never been to the college before, and half price (€95) to those who have visited before.

It is open to all those who have already had some lessons or who have been to an introductory workshop. Please see for more information about the training.

To book a place please call 091 555800 or email

NEW one-year postgraduate diploma course starting September 2013 in Galway

Anyone who has completed a 3 year Alexander Technique teacher training course is welcome to apply. The course will include one hands on lesson each day, working with hands on people who have had little or no experience of the technique, how to start and sustain a successful practice teaching the Alexander Technique, and many other related topics such as neuroscience and how to read MRI reports. Anyone may join for any amount of time, but those who complete the one year course will receive a postgraduate diploma from the Alexander Technique Centre.

Please contact Richard for full details 091 555800 or email

Short Courses with Richard Brennan

Forthcoming Introductory and Intermediate short courses led by Richard Brennan are given below. Please note that you are also welcome to visit the college for intermediate training.

For booking information and further details, please visit our short courses page.

Emmaus Centre, Lissenhall, Swords, Co Dublin
15th - 19th April 2013
Alexander Technique Immersion - Residential Five Day Course

Lavistown House, Centre for Creative Living, Lavistown, Kilkenny
14th September 2013
The Alexander Technique - One Day Introductory Workshop

Emmaus Centre, Lissenhall, Swords, Co Dublin
12th - 13th October 2013
Change Your Posture, Change Your Life - Weekend Workshop

The Alexander Technique Convention, Ireland, 22nd - 29th March 2013

Alexander Technique Convention, Ireland, 2013

Between March 22nd and March 29th 2013, 70 Alexander Technique teachers from all over the world met in the Emmaus Conference just north of Dublin, Ireland. People flew in from Australia, USA, Chile and all over Europe to discuss the future of the Alexander Technique globally. Workshops from Giora Pinkas, Vivien Mackie and Bob Britton ensured that it was lively and full of information; workshops from Glenna Batson, Lyn Charlsen Klein, John Baron, Sue Holladay, Veronica Peck, Lisa First, Penelope Easten and Richard Brennan promised that there would be a workshop to everyone's taste.

Alexander Technique Convention, Ireland, 2013

The titles of the workshops says it all: Lessons from an Elegant Dinosaur, Let's go exploring as Alexander invited us to do, Working with Performers - A Treat and a Challenge, Sit Happens, Round and Round the Möbius Strip: Continuing Conversations between Alexander Technique and Science, 'What's going up and down in a chair got to do with it?' and The Effortless Art of Promoting Yourself and The Alexander Technique were just a few of the many wonderful exploratory themes.

Evening presentations by Niall Kelly, Rachel Zahn, Glenna Batson and Vivien Mackie invited new thinking to all the particpants. In the afternoons people aired their views in a constructive and respectful ways which culminated in action plans for the future.

Alexander Technique Convention, Ireland, 2013

As the week went on the laughter got louder and the music got livelier. The Alexander teachers started to open their hearts and minds and started to share in a way rarely seen before at a gathering of Alexander teachers. Hands on work and ideas were shared by 70 teachers and trainees who got along incredibly well all embracing each other. There was a flow to the week as the exchange room got fuller and fuller. Teachers were exchanging around the clock from 7.30 in the morning to 11pm at night. People were hungry for knowledge, for confidence and most of all to feel that they belonged. By the middle of the week people began to realise that this was the future of the Alexander Technique.. the only future that was possible if the technique is to survive. A future where love and respect takes their rightful place right at the heart of the work.


Perhaps the best way to really describe the week is to hear from the participants:

'The best week of my life'

'This was the most 'user-friendly' Alexander conference I have ever attended. I felt most comfortable with being able to share and be authentic with others.'

'Thank you again for your initiative of the AT convention – for me it was such a moving event, very, very special. Everything had quite a 'non-doing' quality, a balance between structure and flexibility which probably cannot be achieved by doing. Thank you. This was a milestone in my life as an AT-teacher, and I hope there will be other conventions to come..'

'The convention was comfortable, manageable, stimulating and encouraging.'

'A positive experience! I enjoyed the international mix of people of people and the honest and open way the workshop teachers presented themselves.'

'I need to attend more of these to help my self-confidence as a teacher.'

'The conference was perfect for new teachers who are just finding their feet.'

'The atmosphere was great, the music and the possibility to sing was also great.'

'The whole event was deep and supportive.'

'I loved the fact that we were living together as a community of Alexander teachers for a whole week.'

'It was fantastic to have a week that was inspiring as well as lots of fun.'

'I really loved the warmth and support from the group, the sense of community, the willingness to share skills and ideas – this has to be the future of the Alexander Technique if we are to avoid extinction!'

'I really enjoyed the week – even after 7 days I did not want it to end! I felt inspired and much happier in myself and in my ability to teach.'

'It was truly wonderful to take part in an international gathering of devoted Alexander teachers intent on creating a compelling vision of what is possible for our profession. There was an ever-present openness heart connection that created an energised environment for meaningful exchange, personal growth, friendship and fun!'

'A week that I will never forget! Thank you!!!'

'It was great to have exposure to so many creative and experienced teachers all together for such a long amount of time.'

'I really valued the openness of all the participants.'

'My overall experience was one of laughter, learning and great warmth.'

'I found the whole week a light, bubbly and fluid experience which greatly helped the sharing and learning.'

'The exchange room was on fire with sharing ideas!'

'Very lovely people and workshops!'

'The whole week was a deeply emotional experience and my heart and brain are over-flowing with thoughts, ideas and feelings.'


'The best meeting of Alexander Teachers I have experienced in my 37 years as an Alexander Teacher!'

'Just greatly wonderful.'

'Now I am even more passionate about the Alexander Technique.'

'A space was created this week for a real learning experience – full of freedom, goodwill, interest, openness, fun and generosity. I am so grateful that was here and go home with lots of hope for the future of the Alexander Technique.'

'Simply brilliant! Bravo!'

'Very friendly, interesting, rewarding, educational, fun and encouraging.'

'I enjoyed the depth and quality of all the workshops and the caring relationships that were forged here. It was the most respectful experience of exchanging work in my 21 years of being a teacher.'

'Let's do it again soon!'

'Brilliant! It exceeded all my expectations. There was a good balance of the serious and not so serious. Great fun and it fostered a real heart felt connection with other teachers.'


'I really enjoyed the open-mindedness and open-hearted hands-on work!'

'I loved it all. I learned so much. It was super!'

'The most non-doing experience I have had for a long time. The week was the first time I was at ease with myself at an Alexander event! I cannot wait for the next convention!'

'There was a generous sharing of knowledge from everyone. A real positive experience of what is possible in the future.'

'I really appreciated the warm and welcoming, non-competitive atmosphere and the openness of everyone.'

'It re-kindled my love for the Work, which admittedly had got lost while being isolated from other teachers.'

'I learned a great deal of practical information that I can use in my teaching. I have had valuable insights about my own use and overall co-ordination. It was wonderful to meet so many pro-active teachers who are willing to invest their energy in promoting the Work.'

'I had a mind-opening, heart-warming and friend-making week! …it was Brill!'

'I felt wonderfully welcomed and enjoyed it immensely. I really feel I have grown as a person this week.'

'Worth every penny and more!'

'This week was beyond my wildest dreams! It was great to be in a place where everyone was operating at a heart level.'

'The music was great, but the workshops were amazing.'

'Great, great, great!!! Best ever!'

'A wonderful week that awakened my senses and opened my heart!'

'Great Craic! Tiring, energising and educational.'

'Gentle, loving, supportive, generous, confidence building and appreciative.'

Have a great summer!

Richard Brennan

| Tel: + 353 (0)91 555800 | Email:
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