A change of technique

The Alexander method was the answer to one man's job search. By Kim Thomas

In 1983, Julian Fuller was at a crossroads in his life. Two years earlier, he had taken a sabbatical from the printing business he'd successfully built up in Australia, and, while he was away, his business had run into problems. Up to that point, Mr Fuller hadn't had a strong sense of vocation. His first plan, when he left school, was to become a metallurgist, but he soon lost interest. He took on a variety of temporary jobs while spending each summer travelling, and in 1973, his travels took him to Australia, where he decided to stay. In 1977 he started his own printing business on "virtually no capital" and built it up from scratch. Within four years it had an annual turnover of A$450,000.

But after a series of crises, including having to sell what remained of his business, and illness, Mr Fuller started to become interested in the Alexander Technique. He'd heard about it on a radio programme by one of the authorities on the technique, Wilfred Barlow, and it had struck a chord.

Back in Britain, Mr Fuller started taking Alexander classes intensively. It was already having a profound effect on his life. "It was for me the most powerful and obvious way of finding health and well-being. I found myself becoming stronger physically and clearer in my mind." The idea of teaching the technique began to take hold. "Anybody who could have these marvellous effects on me had something that I really wanted to have myself." In 1985 he returned to Australia and enrolled on a training course.

The training was lengthy: 1600 hours over three years. People tend to assume that it's simply a way of improving posture, says Mr Fuller. In fact, it's a way of adjusting the way you use your body in daily life so that you improve your physical and mental well-being. Mr Fuller says it is "a way of learning to go about your daily activities without causing yourself the tensions and stresses that modern life tends to bring about."

Alexander teachers work with students on a one-to-one basis, helping them to get rid of ingrained bad habits, and training them to sit, stand and walk all over again, and it's popular among actors and singers.

Mr Fuller now teaches at London's Bloomsbury Alexander Centre, where he has found an increasing demand for his skills, particularly among stressed office workers. "People feel a lot better in themselves after starting the technique. They feel healthier, stronger, less likely to get tense and irritable."

Mr Fuller has no regrets about his decision, though he warns that "Alexander teachers will only ever make a living." But there are plenty of other rewards. "There are Alexander teachers in their eighties and nineties who have tremendous enthusiasm because they're still discovering new things," he says. "You're talking about the use of yourself - it's not something that you ever want to stop investigating."

If you are interested in learning how to become an Alexander teacher, the Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique will be able to provide you with a list of courses.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Trainee

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Cloud ERP Solution Provide...

Guru Careers: Junior Designer / Design Graduate

£18 - 20k: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Junior Designer / Design Graduate to...

Guru Careers: Graduate Software Developer / Junior Developer

£20 - 28k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Graduate Software Develop...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Trainee Teacher - Maths

£18000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This organization is the larges...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific