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CONTEMPORARY

ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE

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A Practical Hands-On Study

Alexander Technique helps people move through the world with more ease and less pain and struggle. Lyra uses touch, words, and direction to deepen awareness of existing patterns and suggest new possibilities of movement. 

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Unwind Your Unhelpful Patterns

We all have patterns around how we use our bodies, patterns we were taught or gleaned from the world around us. Sometimes these patterns aren't serving us anymore and are getting in our way. Lyra uses a deep understanding of body mechanics and her hands to give you the chance to make a different decision. By developing an awareness of the way you sit, stand, and move, you can identify and address the tension and unhelpful habits that are affecting your day-to-day experience.

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Empower Yourself Though Education

Where massage can help ease symptoms, Alexander addresses the structural roots of the problems and empowers the student to relieve their own pain and tension, and rediscover ease, strength, flexibility, and joy in every activity of life.

 
 

Who am I?

I teach private Alexander Technique lessons in Portland, Oregon. I am a certified Alexander Technique Teacher and a faculty member at The Contemporary Alexander School and Alexander Alliance International. I’ve been studying Alexander work for over a decade, first as a young dancer finding efficiency, strength, and presence, and later after a spine injury that me severely incapacitated. Alexander Technique not only restored my health, function, and dance career after the injury, but also allowed me to awaken to a stronger, smarter body and a deeper understanding of myself. I work with the way our bodies wear our personal histories, past injuries, culture, social “norms”, and belief systems. I am interested in the decolonization of our bodies. I enjoy working with a diverse clientele in terms of identity, lived experience, activities, and areas of interest. I studied at, and am certified by, the Alexander Alliance US (Alexander Alliance International, Contemporary Alexander School). I am a heterosexual, white-identified, cis-gendered woman and use the pronouns she/her/hers.

–Lyra Butler-Denman

who are you?

You are curious and committed to living fully. You may want less of something (chronic pain, trauma) or more of something (professional skill, presence, artistry). More than fixing things, you want to learn tools to create change and choice in the quality of your life. You are interested in…

  • Taking an active role in creating the experience of your life

  • Living life with less pain and more freedom

  • Deepening your art or craft as a musician, dancer, athlete, chef, or craftsperson

  • Developing a deeper relationship with yourself and a dynamic experience of living in your body

 
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Students Speak

How do you describe Alexander to a friend?

“A process for me--tackling pain or physical challenge--of learning, growing and discovering my innate ease and strength through understanding, literally how we are put together--bones, soft tissues, nerves, etc.--and how much agency I have in healing myself when guided by a skilled teacher. The images and prompts Lyra employs are useful and compelling, giving me the ability to recreate the wonderful ease and comfort experienced during and immediately after a lesson, on my own.” –Katherine Deumling

What is Lyra’s teaching style?

“Her style is comfortable - she’s serious without being serious.  She respects the work by showing up on time and focusing on the work.  Finally, and perhaps most important, she is patient without judgement. She works from where I am, not where I “ought” to be." –Michale Matze

“She always finds creative ways to allow me to experience a new way of wearing my body, a new way of relating to a belief system, a new way of engaging in activity.” –Jennifer Lovejoy

What is a pattern you have worked on with Lyra?

“Lyra worked with me on my lower back pain by showing me how my back muscles connect with the rest of my body and helping think about how my feet, hips, spine, and head align. We talked about the way I carry myself and why—both in logistical and psychological aspects. Not only do I feel better, but I also have a better understanding of why I felt the discomfort and how to address the issue if it crops up again.” –Will Fain

What is Lyra’s approach to addressing chronic pain?

“It’s clear that Lyra has herself been injured, and that this work and the way she teaches is informed by that truth. She really seems to fundamentally understand both the way bodies work in how they can get out of whack. She holds space both for care-taking and honesty about how we all can get in our own way.” –Andy Pfandler

To what other modalities would you compare Alexander Technique?

“Like physical therapy, it’s hands-on and based on a deep understanding of anatomy. Like therapy & counseling, it inspires me to remove my own limiting beliefs and change old habits. Like massage or acupuncture, I leave feeling centered and recharged. Like a music lesson, I have practical take-home strategies for improvement.” –Malachi Graham

What changes have you noticed since starting this work?

“My blood pressure is down, my overall health is up; my mood is up; and I live more attuned to the unique experience of living in my body.  Over the last six months, the focus of the work has been getting ready for a 600 mile Camino walk across southern France, leaving in two weeks.  I am almost 73 years old.” –Michale Matze


Lyra offers private lessons in Portland, OR at reFORM Pilates and Movement.

 
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“Teaching is actively creating a container where learning can happen.”

-parker palmer

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Frequently asked questions

+ What should I expect from a session?

Lyra offers private lessons in Portland, OR at reFORM Pilates and Movement. A Contemporary Alexander lesson is taught sitting or standing, with the instructor using gentle movements of their hands to suggest new ways of moving, resting, and breathing. It may remind you of a physical therapy session or a bodywork session. No special clothing is required. A session might involve walking around the studio, laying on a massage table, or demonstrating an activity from your daily life (playing an instrument, dancing, sitting at a desk, riding a bike, etc.) Lyra communicates in approachable language, using metaphors and analogies that allow you to visualize and internalize the subtle movement patterns that we are seeking to address. She will also use teaching aids like anatomical pictures and skeletons to help demonstrate the body mechanics at play in our movement patterns. The goal of a session is for a student to leave with practical, actionable awareness to help them move through the world with more ease, opening up new possibilities of action and motion.

+ Contemporary vs. Classical AT

Sometimes we ...

+ Alexander Technique and Pain

+ Alexander Technique and Trauma

+ Alexander Technique and Performance Art

+ Alexander Technique and Mental Health

+ Alexander Technique and Equity

Lyra believes that just as ease, wholeness, and balance are inherent to the human body, so equity, justice, and liberation are inherent to the social body. Her work on the individual scale is devoted to bring awareness and choice to the habitual ways in which we interrupt the innate qualities of our bodies, therefore decolonizing the beliefs and structures that interrupt our innate equity and liberation is critical to Lyra’s work.