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The Art of Walking

Author: Marguerite Osler
ISBN: 9708620411288
Original Region: Australia
Original Language: English
Publication Date: 2011
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The Art of Walking

In her book ‘The Art of Walking’, Marguerite Osler sets out to encourage us to reclaim our walking heritage. Osler is an Alexander teacher living in South Africa and the book is structured as a manual for the walking user. The practical core of the book is a series of walks or ‘steps on the journey’, each designed to lead the walker through a graduated course of ever more sophisticated walking experiences. There are  over fifty  ‘steps’ in all, gathered into 9 sections each devoted to a socio-cultural-spiritual aspect of the walking activity.

In her recommendation to observe ‘lightness’ and ‘heaviness’, Osler is encouraging the habit of observation of the self which is the ground of the Alexander Technique.  Her central thematic direction becomes to walk ‘Tall Free ‘n Easy’. There is information on the ‘impeccable design of the body’ and how it functions best. The walker is told that ‘thinking is our most powerful agent now. Thought always precedes action’. There are quite lengthy AT ‘talk-throughs’ to inform the thinking walker:

In the final part of the book we are exhorted to move beyond the self, or perhaps to ‘use the self’ and our walking for a greater purpose. We are encouraged ‘walk for the world’ – to use our walking as a contribution to peace.

Osler’s program is intricate and finely structured. The AT material from Part 4 echoes and re-echoes throughout the book. The central tenets of the program are: awareness, attention, intention, openness, effortlessness and freedom. Osler calls these the ‘Keys to the Kingdom of Walking’. The book is full of inspirational quotes from past and present to support the main line of activity. Osler is on a serious mission and the work as a whole asks for a long-term and serious commitment from its user. It is a finely produced publication, almost an ‘art’ book. The layout is carefully conceived, the illustrations of high quality. The book is designed as much as a ‘coffee table’ book as practical manual.

Paul Hampton: Editor Australian  FM Alexander Technique Society.

Paperback: 306 pages

Keywords: Relieve Stress, Stress Techniques, Stress Tips, Symptoms, Walking for Health, Benefits of Walking, Buy Book, Read Books, English Books

Excerpt from the origin:

The Art of Walking

Review extract…

…When I was a young man I discovered I had a problem walking. A year out from secondary school and in the first year of a tertiary drama course one of my teachers, who had lately been to London and taken a couple of Alexander lessons, stopped our rehearsal and looked up at me from the floor of the theatre: ‘Paul, do you know how you walk?’ I’m sure I stared blankly at her because she then stepped out across the space looking like an apparition from the outback: feet and legs shooting out in front of her as if she were trying to cover the continent in one stride, head and upper body fighting to keep up. I’m sure that it was an aesthetic judgment on her part rather than some concern for my long term use and I took the criticism on board without knowing how to address it. I remember that above all I felt hurt and insulted. For many years it coloured my perception of the Alexander Technique.

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