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How You Stand, How You Move, How You Live: Learning the Alexander Technique to Explore Your Mind-Body Connection and Achieve Self-Mastery Paperback


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How You Stand, How You Move, How You Live: Learning the Alexander Technique to Explore Your Mind-Body Connection and Achieve Self-Mastery + The Alexander Technique Workbook: The Complete Guide to Health, Poise and Fitness + How to Learn the Alexander Technique: A Manual for Students/G6517
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press; 1 edition (May 23, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1600940064
  • ISBN-13: 978-1600940064
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 7 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,968 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Vineyard, founder and director of the Alexander Technique School of New England, presents a thorough introduction and guide to the posture and movement method that's been used for more than a century to improve performance, reduce chronic pain and heal injuries. In this volume, "the first authoritative, comprehensive and all-new guide" to the technique in 20 years, Vineyard shows readers how understanding and improving habits of movement like "head-neck coordination" and even sitting "help you achieve self-mastery," here defined as the "self-understanding" and "bodily control" needed to "identify and release our harmful reactions to pain, fear, and anxiety." The upshot: a healthier, more resilient mind and body. Through numerous case studies and a handful of exercises, Vineyard teaches self-awareness and the primary Alexander Technique skills: conscious inhibition-"quieting your inner conversation"-and "directing," a heightened sense of space and the body's place in it. Vineyard details the internal processes which govern movement, and the factors that lead to "maladaptive change in muscle activity"; she also has tips for troubleshooting common problems like pain and weakness. Those already familiar with the Alexander Technique or other mind-body methods will get the most out of this book, though newcomers will find it a sound introduction; unfortunately, all readers will lose patience with Vineyard's case study overkill.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

How You Stand, How You Move, How You Live by Missy Vineyard is an engagingly presented, comprehensive book with usable, practical advice on the complex study of the Alexander Technique. Insightfully, she has emphasized and expanded the important concept of inhibition, an often-overlooked or understated aspect of the Alexander Technique that is the key to change. I applaud her work. -- Evangeline Benedetti, cellist, New York Philharmonic, certified teacher of the Alexander Technique

How You Stand, How You Move, How You Live is at once an intellectual tour de force integrating knowledge from several disciplines and a practical guide to psychosomatic re-education. Theoretically informed yet thoroughly accessible, it makes fascinating reading. Contemporary interest in the representation and uses of the body will make this book very valuable to students of cultural studies as well as teachers and students of Alexander Technique. Missy Vineyard writes eloquently and from a position of mastery of her material. How You Stand, How You Move, How You Live is a pleasure to recommend. -- Murray M. Schwartz, Professor of Literature and Psychoanalysis, Emerson College

A unique book in the Alexander literature, How You Stand, How You Move, How You Live examines in depth the mental processes needed for successful mastery of the Technique. Missy Vineyard's unusual approach to the difficult subject of inhibition will give the reader many new and useful insights that significantly will enhance freedom and coordination. -- Paul Garner, clarinetist, Dallas Symphony Orchestra; music faculty, Southern Paul Garner, clarinetist, Dallas Symphony Orchestra; music faculty, Southern Methodist University

An uncommonly clear introduction to the rationale for the Alexander Technique and the perfect accompaniment to hands-on Alexander lessons ... How You Stand, How You Move, How You Live is an engaging invitation to explore the Alexander Technique as a way to inhabit our bodies more enjoyably over a lifetime. -- Frances V. Moulder, PhD

Missy Vineyard enlightens both the teacher and the student with her original thesis bridging the working principles of the Alexander Technique with current knowledge in areas of neuroscience, human behavior, performance and medical rehabilitation while bringing new meaning to the self-help book ... She reaches beyond the typical Alexander Technique primer to shed light on the subtleties of human behavior with shrewd observation, original thinking, and rare honesty. -- Idelle S. Packer, MS, PT, certified teacher of the Alexander Technique, owner of Body Sense, Inc., an integrative physical therapy practice in Asheville, NC

Missy Vineyard has developed an innovative and creative approach to teaching the basic mind-body skills that are the foundation of the Alexander Technique. She has a rare talent for explaining key ideas in simple, everyday language. Missy tells engaging stories about herself and her students to illustrate her points, then she presents a sequence of `self-exercises' that teach the thinking at the heart of the Alexander Technique. By breaking down the learning process into small steps and avoiding jargon, she makes it easy to understand the interaction between mind and body. I have experimented with these `self-exercises' myself and tried them with my students and they are truly effective teaching tools! -- Phyllis G. Richmond, certified teacher of the Alexander Technique and editor of AmSAT News

Missy Vineyard has distilled 30 years of work with the Alexander Technique into this volume. My own experience of this Technique, which spans the same length of time, has continued to reinforce my estimation of its power. I wish the success of this book to encourage many readers to undertake the quest for this invaluable experience of rediscovery in the wisdom of the human body. -- Chungliang Al Huang, founder/president of Living Tao Foundation; author of Embrace Tiger, Return to Mountain, and Essential Tai Ji; and coauthor of Tao: The Watercourse Way, Thinking Body, and Dancing Mind

Missy Vineyard is an inspired and inspiring teacher, and her book about the Alexander Technique will help many people become aware of their own potential for self mastery. How You Stand, How You Move, How You Live deserves a wide readership. -- Alice Parker, founder of Melodious accord, board member of Chorus America, composer, conductor, and teacher

Thanks for the opportunity to look at this book. I've been an Alexander Technique student on and off for several years. Although this book is readable and interesting, I think it could use an appendix of illustrations of common `exercises'--otherwise, it's extraordinarily text heavy. -- Shantia Anderheggen

Vineyard's book is particularly successful in two ways. Her description of the Alexander Technique is clear, comprehensive, compelling, and pragmatic. She has also made an important contribution to our appreciation of the value of the Alexander Technique through personal stories of challenge and accomplishment. -- David Feldshuh, MD, PhD, professor of theater, Cornell University; artistic director, Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts

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Customer Reviews

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I highly recommend this book to all students and teachers of the Alexander Technique.
Nina B. Lieb
You're feeling what touching the other person makes you feel in yourself." are everywhere in her book.
L. J. H.
Missy Vineyard has written a brilliant book that illuminated the Alexander Technique for me.
Maria

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

84 of 86 people found the following review helpful By Clifford M. Taylor on June 30, 2007
Format: Paperback
As a long term student of the Alexander Technique I have read all of F.M. Alexander's books and innumerable contemporary texts on the subject. This book is a refreshing approach even for the skilled teacher or student. The book is a meaty 322 pages and yet the chapters are short enough to maintain interest and they often segue into the next chapter subject. Although the experiential quality of the Alexander Technique is impossible to adequately define, Missy Vineyard does a superb job describing what it is about and how it works. She does this by imparting her own experience, the latest findings related to neuroscience, and with stories about the challenges and successes of her students. Naturally she elaborates on the principles of inhibition and direction, but she also presents several unique and useful approaches. Missy explains the effectiveness of the prone position and how, unlike semi-supine, it is not weight-bearing on the spine. She describes how we can become trapped in habitual experiences that are injurious and establishes four sensory error categories. She talks about how to avoid triggering the four expressions of fear produced by the amygdala in the brain - attack, withdraw, freeze, and submit. Missy spends considerable effort clarifying the mysterious aspect of the principle of non-doing. She effectively communicates just how to think of not doing something while you are doing it in order to alter the faulty behavioral loop that keeps one tense without knowing it. She elucidates an idea of the "Helper" inside us that can take over after we get out of our own way and quit end-gaining.

Perhaps most innovative of all, Missy shares her concept of how to use the prefrontal cortex, or the "attic" as she calls it.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Nazir Dossani on December 25, 2007
Format: Paperback
I was introduced to the Alexander technique by a friend about 15 years ago following a car injury in which I suffered a herniated disc, severe pain in the arm and significant loss of muscle strength. I contemplated surgery which most of the doctors were recommending but decided to opt for less intrusive approaches including physical therapy and lessons in the Alexander technique.

Over the last 15 years I have had numerous lessons and profited immensely from the wisdom of two highly talented instructors. I have also read about a dozen books. This one is the most practical and clearly written one. The author communicates effectively by using lots of real life examples and suggests exercises which, while time consuming, are extremely useful. Like other teachers she makes it clear that the technique is not a substitute for medical advice. But my own experience suggests that it can complement such advice along with other approaches including meditation, tai chi, yoga and others. In that sense the basic tools--inhibition, direction, lengthening of back and neck--can form the core of a holistic approach that can include many of these other approaches. There is nothing in the technique that conflicts with any of these. Indeed most of the ideas, once explained by a good teacher seem to be just applied common sense. The trick, of course, is in disciplining yourself to practice and training the mind to affect the body before it gets stiff and makes you uncomfortable.

This book is the perfect handbook to help anyone who has some basic knowledge of the Technique become much more effective in using it. Ideally, it should be accompanied by occasional lessons from a skilled instructor
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Heidi Schuller on September 25, 2007
Format: Paperback
As a student of the Alexander technique, I highly recommend this new book on the subject. There are many excellent, detailed illustrations that make this book user friendly and a stand out among books on this topic. Also, there are plenty of self-experiments suggested throughout the book that make it a fine book for beginning students as well as a great review for experienced students.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Clive on June 21, 2007
Format: Paperback
This book came with some very high recommendations so on the one hand I was filled with a certain expectation but on the other I was a little apprehensive as often highly recommended things can end up being very disappointing. However, this book turned out to be even better than I had expected and I am thoroughly enjoying reading it.

It is well thought out and easy to read, with self-observational-experiments that are enlightening and practical. The book is particularly useful for those who are already having Alexander Technique lessons as well as for those who are thinking about starting. There is no better place to start a journey of self-discovery than this book. If you have an interest in the Alexander Technique, then this is the book for you.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Octa G. Narian on June 1, 2007
Format: Paperback
Clear, readable, enjoyable. This is something rare - a textbook that is hard to put down. Full of helpful drawings, personal stories. I liked it.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By matt on July 3, 2007
Format: Paperback
Missy's book is a terrific introduction to the method. While nothing replaces working with a teacher, her book has plenty of insights and exercises that bring the concepts home. As a small example, I tried the baseball exercise with my six year old daughter, with surprising results.

Adopting AT helped me make a significant shift in my thinking about chronic back pain, and as a result make great progress in reducing it. A very, very valuable adjustment in perspective, the mark of something deep.

More at: Reflections on Alexander Technique and personal productivity[..]
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