Mind and Muscle
Direction (A journal on the Alexander Technique)
Langford's book, Mind and Muscle is the very model of astuteness and
bears the formidable imprint of a thirty-plus year career in the Alexander profession.
This is a far cry from the "quickies" that clutter the bookshelves. What we
should be striving for, says Langford, is accuracy, integrity, and professionalism.
STAT News (Journal of the Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique)
This is a substantial book... clear, lively and well expressed... does not settle
lazily for the easy over-simplification... will repay careful reading and re-reading and
enrich your understanding... I recommend it to anyone who wants to understand more about
how the bodymind works and how its functioning can be improved.
Mind and Muscle is a fascinating exploration of the relationship between our thinking and
our bodies. It is evidently the fruit of decades of teaching experience, many years of
thoughtful mulling and careful writing... It's a book I feel I've always needed to read,
but there was nothing like it available...well-structured, accessible and engaging... an
impressive and thoughtful book, achieving a rare combination of scholarship and the warm
wisdom of experience.
VIGoureus (Journal of the Flemish Institute for Health Promotion)
This book is strongly recommended to all those concerned with physical education, and
to anyone who understands that we cannot misuse our bodies with impunity. By helping us to
deal with ourselves in a way that respects the natural functioning of the body, and thus
teaching us how many physical problems can be avoided, this book certainly has a place in
Artsenkrant (Belgian weekly for
... a critical look at a lot of deep-seated ideas
that may not be as scientifically well-founded as is usually supposed... offers the reader
practical help so that he is able to let his whole body function in the optimal way.
ISSTIP Journal (International Society for the Study of Tension in Performance)
... explores the connections between our thinking processes and how our muscles
work in two related ways: the effects of our often mistaken ideas ... on how we
function... and the effects of accurate concepts guiding clear ideas about what we want to
happen and not happen... clearly presented, accompanied by excellent drawings and
interesting photographs... a thoughtful, thorough exploration of the subject...
Piano Journal (Journal of the European Piano Teachers' Association)
... tour de force... the distillation of a lifetime's experience... management of
oneself to achieve optimum performance... style is direct and matter-of-fact, drawing on
physiology and anatomy to dispel myths and misconceptions.
The Bulletin (Brussels newsweekly)
... a technical but readable explanation of how the body functions in movement.
Wooster Sauce (Journal of the PG Wodehouse Society UK)
... this invaluable handbook...
The Gleam (Magazine of Bruton School for Girls)
... how we can use our bodies to complete everyday tasks in a more comfortable and
less damaging way... a very accessible read with numerous diagrams and photographs...
interesting little experiments to carry out on yourself, to see how you use your body,
which can be very revealing... would also prove exceptionally useful to those people who
suffer from back pain - or indeed for those who simply want to prevent such problems in
...detailed, anecdotal, and beautifully illustrated... The book is very rich in
personal experience and conviction.
Mind and Muscle reads as an experienced Alexander teacher's response to a
perceived need for accurate and understandable information about the functioning of the
body. Elizabeth Langford weaves together observations from her many years of teaching with
anatomical information she has researched and brought into plain language. Interspersed
throughout are descriptions of experiments the reader can make to understand practically
what has just been described verbally.
An amazing discovery of ourselves, how we work and some experiments to make with
muscles, bones and mind... Well written... well documented, with many references...
- Essential reading for those who care about themselves.It is almost 30 years since I had my first lesson in the F. M. Alexander Technique. My
teacher was Elizabeth Langford, the author of Mind and Muscle. Reading this book, I am
reminded of her clarity as a teacher, her sense of humour and the inspiration she gave me
to become an Alexander teacher myself. Few will have the good fortune to pass through such
expert hands. Nevertheless, in the absence of an Alexander teacher, careful study of Mind
and Muscle could take the reader a long way towards a better "use of the self".
Anyone not wanting to allow their body to fall into disrepair should buy this book
- I thought I knew where my hip-joint was until reading this! A concise, well structured,
immensely readable book, well illustrated. The author knows her subject, how to write
about it, and yet remains incredibly human at the same time. A practical book and
excellent read - particularly for back pain sufferers, buy it and read it!
At last dancers have an additional tool to increase
their awareness of movement! The connection between the body and mind is explored in Mind
and Muscle by Elizabeth Langford, a wonderful book that is the missing link in Alexander
A must for all back pain sufferers
As a chronic back pain sufferer, I am always on the
look out for books to help relieve my condition. Mind and Muscle seeks too unlearn the bad
habits of a lifetime through a series of experiments. Her well researched book is rich
with illustrations and common sense approaches to daily living. Elizabeth writes in an
easy style and I have no hesitation in recommending this book as a must for the family
Brian Wilson, Honorary Regional Director BackCare - the National Organisation for
Mind and Muscle is a wonderful book that fills an enormous hole in the Alexander
Technique literature. Mind and Muscle takes the reader through a fascination exploration
of the way our bodies work, gives us a firmer grasp on the physiological basis for
movement, and challenges our preconceptions about our bodies as we move through
space...She has successfully created a book that is both an introduction to the Alexander
Technique and a book of value to teachers with decades of experience.
Through reading and working with this book, I came in contact with all the aspects of
movement that once had raised questions for me. In plain language a lot of
misunderstandings are uprooted by clear explanation and clarifying 'experiments'. For
example, where is your hip-joint? For everybody who wants to know more about his body!
firstname.lastname@example.org, Wilrijk, Belgium
The author of Mind and Muscle has also received many personal letters, for
from medical experts :
"...an original approach, which I am keen to see better known in medical
circles. I am of the opinion that such convergence of experience can be developed with
considerable benefit to patients."
"Marvellous and beautifully produced book - hugely enjoyed it. I would love to be
able to take slides of some of the drawings..."
"It should be on every GP's bookshelf."
"I suppose it will stay in print and become a classic."
"Convinced though I am of the value of the Alexander Technique, it has often been
difficult for me to discuss it with my medical colleagues. At last, a really precise book
to show them what I am talking about."
A physiotherapist writes: "I admire the patience with which things have been
unravelled so as to present simply that which seems complicated when one learns it
A letter from the British Performing Arts Medicine Trust says "...delighted that
the research and all the hard work has come to such a magnificent and useful conclusion.
The book will be of enormous use to us here at BPAMT."
From Alexander teachers in many countries:
"What an incredible amount of research and hard work! ... It is required
"A refreshing look at the subject... I did enjoy the startle-derived photos, which
are quite instructive! I also love those beautiful anatomical illustrations."
"It is such a pleasure to read a book on Alexander's work that actually conveys
"...really does fill a need for teachers and students... beautifully designed and
illustrated, and your writing is clear, intelligent and engaging. What a pleasure! Thanks
for taking the trouble to provide this resource for us all!"
"...beautifully written, admirably clear and simple, well-thought-out, and
interesting. It cuts away a lot of the encrusted mystery ... I'm telling all my colleagues
about it and will recommend it as a supplementary text for my classes at the
STAT's Professional Development co-ordinator writes "...wonderful book. I will, of
course, be recommending it."
And a very senior teacher, with a world-wide reputation, says "I leave it where
everyone can see it. I tell everybody they must read it."
And from people in many other walks of life, those for whom Mind and Muscle
was chiefly written:
"I find your book a prodigious achievement in knowledge and clarity. It is a
big help for me continually to be able to refresh my thinking about things."
"I am someone who has never in his life had a biology lesson, let alone any
tuition about what fits into which, and why...it is a fascinating book and I will complete
"This is a monumental achievement of lucidity and practical wisdom. The chapter on
'muscles and fear' is a wonderful, cogent, and moving piece of writing."
"I discovered your book only by accident. It will be valuable to so many people.
You must make sure it gets proper publicity."
"I thought I understood this sort of thing, despite 'having a problem' with one
knee for many years. Reading your chapter on legs and how they work seems to have done the
trick! Your book deserves to be a great success. It could become a cult book if it gets
the publicity it merits."
"...it looks splendid and reads in a very chatty way."
"It will be a best-seller...We all say 'This is the book we need!' "
"Somehow it makes me think of P.G. Wodehouse - there is a flow to it that draws
"...gratitude and admiration for such an extraordinarily human and helpful book.
You understand people's difficulties so well, you describe them in a way we would be
incapable of doing ourselves and you throw such a clear light on them. Your book really
comes as the missing link between 'learning' ... and everyday 'living' - which is so
difficult to do alone."
That final quote was the real reward for many years of hard work. It describes exactly
the effect the author hopes to have on all her readers.
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