Now, let me be very clear. Treeleaf is not supporting this or that, and by all means, everybody here is free to use yoga, Pilates or anything if needed to sit and live better. All I want is to introduce you to what was presented to me by my teacher years ago and made such a radical change in my life.
The fact is that my teacher, Mike Chodo Cross, fell off with Nishijima and pretty much everybody that disagreed with him at some stage. He comes across as a strong and sometimes quite angry person, cursing this and that. The fact is that, apart from this shadow, the guy is an amazing teacher, a great sitter who not only understands Dogen like nobody else, but also can teach you how to free yourself from this compulsion of being right and wake you up. His hands, his guidance, the endless patience he had with me made it possible to sit and live painfree and also to gain a deeper understanding of Dogen's teachings. Hands on. A good Alexander Technique teacher is a rare find, but once you find one, your life might never be the same again. I owe him sooooo much.
To cut a long story short I was cursed with back troubles from a very young age and all through my early years of sitting, I often had to stop any activity and just stay in bed. That bad... I once picked up a translation of Shobogenzo from a chap living in England, on the other side of London, and red that he was a Zen teacher and an Alexander Technique teacher. I was a bit familiar with the tecnique through many musicians I met and who learned to play their instrument without all the misuse that generally ends up with major trauma and injuries. I was really searching for something that could help me. I rang the guy. He invited me to come and the story started...
I often use the Technique and although I never trained I daily follow its principles and directions as much as I can, and fail of course so many times. A few days ago I manage in just a few seconds to stop a huge back ache that was starting to creep and grip my entire torso. Just using direction and inhibition.
So here are two videos of the older student of FM Alexander who used to teach in America, a kind of Joko Beck of the Technique...
You might get an idea of what the Technique involves and what it does. Many priests, in Japan, America and Europe have started to discover the incdrebile benefits of this way of moving and being. Of course, you may sit without any difficulty from the start and Zen doesn't need the Technique. Nevertheless, in my clouded eyes, the understanding and experience of zazen as a fluid, changing and dynamic practice are greatly helped by the Technique.