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Quote of the Month: June 2015

by Ellen on June 2nd, 2015

A way that can be walked
is not The Way
A name that can be named
is not The Name

~Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

For June’s quote of the month, I ran across this beauty. It’s the epigraph of my own teacher Alex Murray’s new book about Alexander Technique, which I plan to review at the end of the month on this site. In the preface, Alex credits fellow teacher Patrick Macdonald for quoting this passage often in regards to Alexander’s work. Alex states “…we have Alexander’s own words as signposts on his journey. They are there to point the Way for us, which we are free to find as best we can.”

This quote from Lao Tzu strikes me as a wonderful way of explaining why it is so hard to articulate the Alexander Technique in words. I always say that the hardest question for an Alexander teacher to answer is “What is Alexander Technique?” The reason the answer to that question is so difficult is that the Technique cannot really be expressed in words. That may seem an odd statement coming from a website that is at this very moment jam-packed with words attempting to describe what I do, but at its core, AT is an experience of a new way of moving and using our bodies. That experience can be physical, mental, emotional, even social, or any combination of those, but we don’t really possess the vocabulary to describe the experience itself. The traditional answer to the question, therefore, is “Come in for a lesson and find out for yourself!” But that’s hardly satisfactory for most potential students. Lao Tzu’s quote points out that whatever description of the Technique I come up with, it can’t really communicate the essence of the Technique itself. I can present signposts as Alex describes, I can give context to your journey, but the Way is always going to be the student’s to find.

Forward and Up! is a Pittsburgh-based private practice offering quality instruction in the Alexander Technique in a positive and supportive environment.

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