What Malcolm’s pupils say

Recovering from injury (and preventing further injury)

I went to Malcolm Balk to learn to walk properly again after a couple of severe injuries to my right hip and my pelvis, the result of treating yoga as an extreme sport. Despite two years of rehab with a physiotherapist, an athletic therapist, two chiropractors, and an acupuncturist, who between them managed to rid me of most of my pain, I was still walking like a drunken camel. With Malcolm, I got much more than I expected. Not only does he have me walking smoothly and effectively, but he has also improved my posture, taught me to stand up and sit down efficiently, and deepened my forward bends (an unforeseen bonus). Because of Malcolm, I am a lot less likely to repeat the same mistakes and reinjure myself. The Alexander Technique is an excellent method that teaches one to move with much more awareness and much less effort,  and Malcolm Balk is a very experienced, very capable teacher of it. Whatever your problem is, he can help.

Stewart Cooke, June 2012

Malcolm’s approach

Malcolm Balk’s approach can perhaps be described as minimalist, but the expression «less is more» does it more justice. Briefly, Malcolm will help you get in tune with your body and rediscover the instinctive movement you had as a child.”

Yves, June 2012

Alexander Technique and musical performance

Malcolm Balk’s lessons in Alexander Technique with have re-connected me with aspects of my playing that I had lost touch with over the years, and helped me to discover new avenues towards musical expression. Overall, they have served at jump-starting my enthusiasm about playing the saxophone. For younger players, the awareness gained of the use of our arms, legs, back, neck and head, especially in relation to how they move, can be invaluable in avoiding some of the pitfalls encountered over the course of a performing career. Really great for breathing, support, articulations and rhythm, with an approach that is different and refreshing.

Janis, June 2012

Finding a better way to use the body

AT, for me, is instruction, guidance and inspiration to find and keep better use of our body in a world that does not support nor value this. The benefits I have noticed are increased energy, relaxation and attention. I have also found increased performance and enjoyment of running and golf.

Matt, June 2012

Help with migraines

A few years ago, I was at a crossroads. I knew I needed help dealing with the debilitating weekly migraines I was suffering from.

Being a flutist, I had read about the Alexander Technique, and how it improves body use. A book on the subject was helpful, but I wasn’t getting very far with it. I found Malcolm Balk’s name on the internet, and immediately contacted him. I’m glad I did.

I was holding a lot of tension in my body, particularly in my neck and shoulders and had reached point at which my poor posture and body use became a part of me. By following Malcolm’s direction, I became aware of the circumstances that would trigger my reaction to tense up. With his ongoing guidance, Malcolm helps me realize when my body is not aligned and provides me with tools to help with awareness. There have been many Aha! moments both in my lessons and in everyday life.

Malcolm has proven to be the catalyst that allows me to actively pursue the self-awareness necessary for me to care of myself. In the process, he has become a friend who I look forward to seeing, knowing that our lesson will bring me closer to correct body use.

The migraines? Although not completely cured, they have certainly decreased in frequency and intensity. In fact, I can’t imagine how I was able to function before meeting Malcolm.

Louise Fabris, June 2012

Parkinson’s and the Alexander Technique: my observations

Six months of regular sessions with Malcolm Balk allowed me to develop a certain control over Parkinson’s symptoms:

  • Rigidity in neck and shoulders: I was made aware of my ability to relax my shoulders and back. Until then I had allowed Parkinson’s to control those muscles and to keep them tense and uncomfortable. Now my brain is able send the message NOT to tense up.
  • Posture: I was taught about the importance of the position of the head. Allowing my head to hang forward pulls my neck and shoulders forward and the result would be the classic Parkinson stoop. Now I know how important the position of the head is and try to send the right brain message to maintain the right balance.
  • Gait: As my medication wears off, my gait starts to veer towards the Parkinson’s shuffle. I have learned that tightening the muscles in the abdomen and “bum” have allowed me to postpone foot dragging and to maintain a lively gait.

A good massage lasts three hours. An Alexander Technique session lasts for weeks.

Sarah Humphrey, December 2011