Considering with each muscle | Hilary King, MSTAT


The Thinker

I went to Tate Trendy lately, to see ‘The Making of Rodin’ exhibition – the primary time I had been to a Gallery for a while, due to the restrictions of Covid. It was so good to see artwork once more!  The exhibition is filled with Rodin’s plaster fashions for his sculptures and items that  experiment with expressing motion and type.

‘The Thinker’ by Rodin illustrates the idea that our bodies categorical our ideas and emotions, that thoughts and physique work collectively as one unit. This idea underpins F M Alexander’s method that we nonetheless educate in the present day. Many individuals affiliate the Alexander Approach with points similar to lowering again ache, which it has been confirmed to do. However AT work goes far deeper than folks realise. As an illustration, are we conscious when react tensely to tough conditions and feelings, contributing to issues like again ache? In that case, we will learn to keep away from doing that.

Rodin’s ‘The Thinker’ at Tate Trendy 2021

I used to be to see an awesome quote from Rodin on the wall. This reveals how Rodin made the Thinker suppose along with his entire physique:

‘What makes my Thinker suppose is that he thinks not solely along with his mind, along with his knitted forehead, his distended nostrils and compressed lips, however with each muscle of his arms, again and legs, along with his clenched fist, and gripping toes‘.

Alexander would have appreciated this assertion as he believed that we are likely to ‘translate every little thing, whether or not bodily, psychological or religious, into muscular pressure’ (AphorismsNonetheless Alexander realised this tendency could be modified by our aware management. We are able to re-educate ourselves to reply in a different way.

Psychophysical Re-education

Alexander used the time period ‘Psycho-physical‘ to specific this mind-body unity:

The time period is used…. to point the impossibility of separating “bodily” and “psychological” operations in … the working of the human organism’ .  Constructive Acutely aware Management of the Particular person 1923.  

Alexander goes on to say that he was compelled to make use of the phrases ‘psycho’ and ‘bodily’ as a result of there is no such thing as a different phrase that expresses the amalgamation of each ideas.

If Rodin’s Thinker was having Alexander classes  his instructor might discover how a lot ache he experiences in these scrunched up toes, neck, shoulders, wrist and again. How usually does he assume that place? Is it a behavior, or a one-off expression of inside turmoil? Can he re-educate himself, let go of his behavior and be taught to alter the best way he reacts to conditions? In that case, he can learn to proceed his pondering, however with out creating extra ache.


Sadly Alfred Hitchcock’s movie ‘Psycho’ has enormously contributed to ‘psycho’ being related to psychological instability and psychosis. This will create a misunderstanding when AT academics use the phrase psychophysical! However the AT is to not do with psychological sickness.

Alexander described his work in a somewhat heavy-handed Victorian type. Sadly, this additionally contains passages which are thought-about offensive and racist in the present day. So academics are looking for a brand new vocabulary to specific Alexander’s concepts and his books are steadily being edited to make them simpler to learn and extra acceptable for all audiences. The essence of Alexander’s discoveries remains to be worthwhile in the present day, so it’s effectively price studying his books, with an understanding that current day academics don’t maintain his bigoted Victorian views of the world.

All Facets of our Being

An necessary a part of Alexander classes is when pupils start to know this idea of psychophysical unity, of how our minds and our bodies work collectively.  Once we settle for and embrace this reality, adjustments can happen.  This may be very therapeutic.

‘Having somebody remind me how one can join with myself once more and to concentrate on how I take advantage of all elements of my being was precisely what I wanted’