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Moving better, from head to toes

Alexander technique focuses on eliminating clumsiness

A workshop that starts Thursday aims to help people’s bodies move better – starting with their brains.

The Alexander technique operates on the principle that people develop physical habits that inhibit their movement or coordination or cause pain, said William Conable, of Cheney, who will lead the workshop along with other instructors.

By learning the technique, he said, people can learn how to relieve tension and change the way they move.

“The kind of things that we’re addressing are, first of all, just general clumsiness,” he said. “And then, if people are doing things in a way that is causing pain, changing the way they do them to eliminate the pain.”

The Alexander technique was developed decades ago by an Australian actor who lost his voice whenever he performed, according to He discovered that excess tension in his neck and body were causing his problems, the website says.

The technique is not a medical treatment, Conable said. It’s a way to think about the way you move to feel better.

Conable is a retired cellist who still pitches in in the orchestra pit as big shows arrive in Spokane. Many who use the Alexander technique are musicians, actors or dancers, he said. But it’s helpful for “regular people,” too, he said.

The technique’s proponents say it can help people who want to move more easily and improve their balance and flexibility along with coordination.

“Singers will work on singing. Musicians will work on playing their instruments. Dancers will work on dancing,” Conable said. “Everybody will work on simple movements like walking, running, getting in and out of chairs – ordinary things that people do every day.”

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