9 – 5 Magazine

October 1999

What do Kevin Kline, Sting, Paul McCartney, Linford Christie, John Cleese, Paul Newman, Julie Christie, Sinead O'Connor, Ruby Wax, Jamie Lee Curtis, Jennifer Saunders and the Duchess of York have in common? Well, I delved into the little known Alexander Technique to find out what the secret really is and why the stars keep so quiet about it. The Alexander Technique is a practical way of improving the way we use our bodies in everyday situations to reduce stress, tension and improve balance and co-ordination. It helps achieve good posture, breathing, calmness, confidence, height and stature, whilst it relieves backpain, neck ache, breathing difficulties and general stiffness. I spent my Monday morning in a clinic near Harley Street, where Noel Kingsley practices the Alexander Technique. Formerly a marketing man, Noel left the stressful mega bucks lifestyle to retrain and pursue the technique which he first experienced in his late teens - Noel was actually trained by one of Alexander's proteges! The first session is an introduction and as the course progresses you're taught the technique, until eventually you can do it yourself at home or in the office and will only need refresher courses. The session lasted about an hour, during which time I learnt to fully relax my neck and allow my head to balance as opposed to being "held" which strains the neck. Noel stretches out leg and arm muscles and helps the shoulders relax and sit lower, therefore dramatically improving posture. Breathing is a huge part of the Alexander Technique and although we live in a polluted city if you don't get enough oxygen to every cell your skin will start to look grey and pallid. (So for an instant radiant bloom, simply try taking long deep breaths.) After the session I felt very light and wobbly in a relaxed rag-doll kind of way! I was definitely walking taller, I felt composed, elegant and calmer, but with an added energy drive! This is perfect for stressed out execs, actors, singers, old, young... in fact anyone would benefit from it!!