we tune it to a subtle calibration, drawing on the infinite knowledge of the subconscious.
Caren Bayer is the director of Manhattan Center for the Alexander Technique in New York City, where she has maintained a private practice since 1984.
She received her certification in London from Patrick MacDonald, a student of F.M. Alexander, and her post-graduate certification from Rivka Cohen, who has taught and certified teachers worldwide. Caren was a faculty member at the Rivka Cohen School for the Alexander Technique and the Institute for the Alexander Technique under Thomas Lemens, both certified teacher-training programs in New York City.
Caren has also been on the faculty of Pacific College of Oriental Medicine and currently has a teaching affiliation with The New School for Social Research. In addition, she is a guest teacher for teacher-training programs internationally, most recently in Buenos Aires, Ottawa, Toronto, San Francisco, London and Paris.
A former dancer, and longtime student of the martial arts, yoga and meditation, Caren brings 30 years of movement research and awareness to her teaching.
She is grateful to her teacher, Master Cheng Hsiang Yu for the knowledge he imparted through t'ai chi, shaolin, and sword.
The Alexander Technique is recognized as one of the most effective ways of changing habitual patterns of movement, posture and function. In the early lessons students become aware of their unconscious habits. Once these habits are identified, they can begin to create new ways to use their bodies with freedom and ease. Most importantly, students of the technique learn a unique process of self-care through which they can simply and effectively modify their muscular responses. The result is greater mobility, comfort and confidence in movement as well as increased core strength and the capacity for changing behavior at will. This system of self-observation brings them to an essential understanding of their physical, mental, emotional and energetic selves, and their fundamental connection. As students become more and more conscious, pathways throughout the body open, and their vital life force flows freely. Our vision as Alexander teachers is that of an artist: the body is our instrument, and we tune it to a subtle calibration, drawing on the infinite knowledge of the subconscious. This unique education invites self-discovery and leads the way to a well-balanced life.
Born in Australia, F.M. Alexander (1869-1955) worked as an actor in England when he developed a chronic case of hoarseness and laryngitis for which doctors were unable to find a physiological cause. After many years of meticulous self-observation and experimentation, Alexander not only restored his voice, but also evolved a method that profoundly changed peoples' lives and is now taught throughout the world.
For the three decades Caren has been teaching the Alexander Technique, Tai chi has been an integral part of her personal practice. These two systems, modern and ancient, support and compliment each other. Tai chi weaves together health and spirituality through moving meditation to recalibrate the body’s subtle internal energy, offering Caren a broader perspective for ongoing research and creativity in her teaching.
"When a student comes to me, I take a history, assess their strengths, weaknesses, and find out what they’re busy with throughout their day. I ask about their physical and spiritual practices and observe how they move.Next I introduce them to a system of self-observation, so they can make better choices in their daily movements. I give light hands-on guidance, as well as verbal instructions to help students gain proficiency in basic movements such as walking, sitting, bending, squatting, reaching and carrying. The lesson concludes with table-work, as I lead them with gentle touch to help integrate the lessons. Lessons are thirty to sixty minutes in length, and students typically take one to two lessons per week, over a six to twelve month period. The willingness of students to actively participate determines how quickly they improve."
There is medical evidence that the Alexander Technique is an effective natural solution for the management of chronic pain. It is also a tool for understanding movement that can deepen the practice for athletes, dancers and actors, as well as a method for improving the daily habits of people who must use their bodies in a skilled way, such as musicians, surgeons, dentists, and hairdressers, to perform with more efficiency and ease—or all of us who sit at computers and hold cell phones. The Alexander Technique is most effective for:
Manhattan Center for the Alexander Technique is dedicated to training teachers to approach the greatest knowledge in themselves, by way of commitment, endurance, self-discovery, and mastery of F.M. Alexander's principles.
Manhattan Center for the Alexander Technique (MCAT) is an accredited Teacher's Certification Program recognized and approved by the American Society for the Alexander Technique (AMSAT). MCAT offers a supportive and creative environment headed by Caren Bayer, its founder and director. The training program is modeled after that of her late teacher Patrick MacDonald, a Master Teacher and an original student of F.M. Alexander, who has deeply influenced Caren's work.
The curriculum prepares students for AMSAT certification, focusing on primary control, direction, inhibition, faulty sensory awareness, non-doing, and end gaining and how to apply these principles to hands-on work. There is an emphasis on deepening skills of observation and the capacity to recognize and implement a more efficient use of the self in one's life and while working on others. Included in the curriculum are fundamental teaching practices such as chair, walking, monkey, lunge and the whispered 'ah', and how to relate these practices to daily life.
As part of the curriculum, a thorough knowledge of F. M. Alexander's writings, his life, the history of the technique, and a familiarity with other literature pertaining to the technique is included as well as a basic knowledge of anatomy and physiology as it applies to the principles of the technique. With a student/teacher ratio of 5 to 1, MCAT provides its select group of students with a high level of personal attention. MCAT's dynamic and interactive classes offer students the opportunity to become skilled teachers, continuing the education that F.M. Alexander has passed on to the world.
A student is required to have received a minimum of 20 lessons from a certified teacher along with a recommendation before enrolling in the Teacher Certification Program. 2 lessons from the director or assistant director will take place prior to acceptance. Observing a three hour class once or twice is recommended.
The training course meets over a three-year period with a two-month summer recess. A minimum of 1600 hours of class time must be completed for a student to become a Certified Teacher.
Classes meet three hours per day, 15 hours per week: Monday through Friday 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. (subject to change)
Each year includes 35 weeks of class time divided into three terms. Students receive a 50-minute lesson each term with a faculty member each term.
In the final year, students are required to work with 5 to 7 volunteers during classroom time, under supervision of Caren Bayer, Hope Gillerman, or Nancy Wechter in order to complete the curriculum.
Senior teacher of the Alexander Technique
Our assistant director has been actively giving lessons in the technique for the past 27 years. A longtime member of the American Society for the Alexander Technique (AmSAT), she was first certified at The American Center for the Alexander Technique (ACAT) under Judith Liebowitz in 1979 and received a second certification from The Society for the Alexander Technique (STAT) in London after studying intensively with Patrick MacDonald, Thomas Lemens and Rivka Cohen (with whom she continues to study).
Alexander Technique teacher and healer
Kim received her training in New York City from Caren Bayer (Manhattan Center for the Alexander Technique, MCAT) and Rivka Cohen. Bayer and Cohen both trained in London under Patrick MacDonald, a student of F.M. Alexander.
In addition to Kim's private practice in New York City, Kim has completed her certification from the Barbara Brennan School of Healng. Kim is also a working actress and holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Acting from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Movement Educator and Therapist
Sensei Michelle, Society for the Martial Arts, Executive Director, is a martial artist, Laban Certified Movement Analyst, Registered Somatic Movement Educator and Therapist and has a background in professional dance and theatre.
Along with her regular SFMAI schedule of classes and special workshops, she teaches Anatomy and Kinesiology at the Manhattan Center for Alexander Technique, is on the guest faculty for the Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies, Dalton High School, and Broadway Dance Center. Her first book Brain Breaks For The Classroom published by Scholastic, is due for release this fall.
Jennifer is a licensed massage therapist certified in 1995 from the Swedish Institute. She has studied Kinesis Myofascial Integration with Tom Myers and integrates CranioSacral Therapy into her practice in New York City. She has been on the faculty at MCAT teaching anatomy and physiology since it opened in 2001.