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When I lived in different countries working as an anthropologist, I noticed something in the rural areas that I had a hard time articulating let alone understanding. There was a grace and sense of balance in some individuals. I was intrigued and wanted to understand what I was seeing. Was this an inner quality, or was it a physical skill cultivated by working in nature, I wondered? Sometimes I noticed the feet, in the way they met the ground. Sometimes it was an absence of tension: relaxed rather than lifted shoulders, a free rib cage and belly, an ease breathing or soft eyes in a face in repose. But always I saw this grace in poised heads and spines, which rather than being weighed down by gravity, gamely met it with buoyancy.


It was later that I came to understand what I saw when I studied the Alexander technique and discovered a new sense of ease and a different experience of my back. My first exposure was in the 1980s in Israel where I was doing a masters’ project in Dance. Out of curiosity, I went for a lesson with Dalia Altmann. I left the lesson very moved by how differently I felt. I wrote a simple note in my journal at the time: “I found what I was looking for.” Almost two years of lessons followed and I was deeply changed by the process.


I completed a PhD in anthropology at UCLA, then moved on to a Fullbright scholarship in Ethiopia, and a postdoc at Harvard. In 1997, I moved to London and started teaching anthropology, primarily at the School of Oriental and African Studies as well as Lawrence University London. However, twenty years on from my initial lessons in Israel , I gradually began noticing that the career demands of academia, involving sitting, reading and writing for hours, were causing me physical discomfort and a tendency towards injury when I was active. This realization coupled with a desire to shift from lecturing to working more closely with students and then the life changing event of my beloved father’s stroke served as the catalyst. It came to me that I wanted to pick up the thread of the Alexander technique. I immersed myself once again, enrolling in the three year, 1600 hours of training to be an Alexander technique teacher at the London Centre for Alexander Technique and Training (LCATT).  My health problems slipped away, I had the tools to continue my academic teaching without discomfort, and I found myself happy and thoroughly engaged in the work.


I’ve trained and worked with people involved in many different areas of work. I spent a year at the Royal College of Music in London, assisting Peter Buckoke with musicians. I learned a great deal in post-graduate training for two years with the insightful AT teacher Ted McNamara who has worked with  many professional dancers. Having been a college athlete, I enjoy helping young athletes avoid stressing their bodies with asymmetrical use or excess tension, escaping injury and improving  performance. My dance background enables me to help dancers who are prone to injury and any type of artist who has to cope with the anxieties of performance. Having done more than 20 years of taichi practice, I’m particularly attuned to movement. I’ve had my share of injuries, overcoming back pain, a broken heel, shoulder and  jaw problems and can help others cope with TMD. Everyone can benefit from this work, whether stressed at work, taking care of a loved one, coping with an ageing body, seeking to improve one's performance, hoping for a joyful delivery, recovering from injury or simply wanting to enhance their experience of being alive.


I feel fortunate to work as a teacher of the Alexander technique. Touch is one of the lesser explored senses in Western culture, and most people are unfamiliar with and moved by this type of gentle and neutral yet connected touch. It is gratifying to help people experience and access mental and physical ease on their own and deepen their awareness of themselves and their surroundings. There’s something unique about an Alexander lesson – it evokes an old fashioned teacher-apprentice relationship. A teacher takes a student under her guidance, working one on one and nurturing the student’s well being and potential. And then, one day, the student is able to continue on his or her own way, now practiced and engaged in the art of balance. 

deena newman
  • BA, UC Berkeley     

  • MA, PhD UCLA       

  • Postdoctoral studies, Harvard University

  • STAT certification in the Alexander Technique, UK

  • Certification at AmSAT


"I found Deena soon after arriving from the UK and was delighted to discover that she was connected to my British teacher. After twenty years working as a radio DJ, I came to the Alexander Technique to work on countering the bad habits of poor studio posture. The intense back pain and migraines that I used to suffer constantly are now a thing of the distant past and I am more in tune with myself than ever.

Deena's lessons are an oasis of calming, grounding inquisition and discovery. As a more recent pupil to the technique I sometimes find the very traditional styles of teaching a little stifling. Plus, I am not an actor or musician or performer so I do not fit into those more traditional pupil roles.

Deena has a broader perspective than other teachers I have met and her anthropological expertise brings another dimension to our learning together which I thoroughly enjoy. She is open to discussion and ideas and we enjoy vibrant exchange on the technique then and now. She also has totally fabulous hands and I always leave my lesson revived, relieved and a little smarter.

Having attended an AT training school in London, I had had the privilege of receiving hands-on work from a good number of teachers. For me, Deena is right up there with the best of them."

DJ, age 38


"The Alexander Technique allowed me to regain my physical, mental and spiritual innate agility. I am very grateful to Deena for having helped me to do so, by being sensitively perceptive of my personality."

Artist, age 70

"I first met Deena during my time studying at the Royal College of Music in London, and later when she was in the final stages of her Alexander teacher training. I benefitted so much from these initial sessions that I decided to have regular private lessons with her. Deena possesses what I think are the most important qualities in a teacher - a combination of being demanding yet understanding, being caring as well as professional, and having the desire to constantly research more ideas and refine her own technique as well as passing on her knowledge. When I went for lessons, she always had a clear theme and had thought of the best ways to help me improve in areas I particularly needed help with. I felt that the lessons were a progression during which I was constantly building on previous knowledge, rather than just repeating the same structures/procedures each week. My outlook was transformed by the end of each 1 hour lesson. As a musician, I have found that the help Deena gave me has profoundly affected the way I practice and prepare for performances. And in other areas of life I regularly bring to mind the wisdom she has to offer."

Musician, age 26 


"When I first went to an Alexander Technique session with Deena, I had problems with lower back pain and very poor posture. As a writer, I spend a lot of time at the computer. I also noticed that for some time at readings my voice would soon become hoarse. During my sessions with Deena I found that I was able to utterly relax. Rather than straining to ‘correct’ my posture (the ‘Stand up straight!’ mode, which can be painful if you have a bad back) with Deena I learned to ‘think’ my way to a more balanced, free, and pain-free posture. Just by thinking about the space around my body and above my head, or thinking about my shoulders broadening or my height increasing, my body would magically become better aligned with absolutely no effort on my part. Also very helpful was the thought of ‘freeing the neck’. My hoarseness at readings is now gone. Whenever I am walking somewhere, I try to think my way to a better posture, to be more aware of my environment and the space around me. It’s important to keep working on this, as my tendency is to relapse into the poor posture I’ve had all my life! Deena’s sensitive, gentle and wise guidance has been invaluable."

 Poet, age 72

"My sessions with Deena really helped me to become more aware of my posture and the way I move. She brought these aspects to my attention in a very gentle, thoughtful way. She gave great personalised attention and advice. I use the exercises and positions she taught me every day, and find them beneficial both in terms of correcting posture and for becoming more self-aware generally."

Primary school teacher, age 34

"I am a spiritual practitioner. I did not start Alexander Technique lessons because of physical complaints, injuries, aches, or pains. I came to explore how the AT might assist my practice. I found it readily.

Deena's insights, gentle instruction and tender hands-on manipulation taught me to be mindful of my body. Embodying the energy of spiritual practice into ordinary life presents a huge challenge for every practitioner. The Alexander Technique has given me a way to do just that. Periodically throughout the day I stop just for a moment and ask myself some questions: Is my body "softened?" Is my body giving hospitality to spirit? Suddenly, my perspective changes with my posture. It's amazing. Try it.

But that's not all! My metabolism has changed. Of all the "body" things I've ever tried (including yoga, tai chi, pilates, and others), this subtle work - think up, soften, find your back - is the most amazing and helpful. My metabolism has changed dramatically. I feel healthier. My body shape and weight have changed for the better in just a few weeks. Thank you Deena!"

Spiritual Practioner, age 68.

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