The Work of John Appleton

John Appleton is an Alexander Technique teacher and the developer of Posture Release Imagery. He puts forward some fascinating new self-help ideas based on imagery, which is sometimes a taboo subject in the Alexander Technique teaching world. They require some patience to understand at first, but many have found his ideas to be very helpful.

He has written, to date, eleven articles, most of which bear a relationship to the Alexander Technique. His first paper, “Use and the Use of Imagery,” appeared in the American Society for the Alexander Technique’s AmSAT News (summer, 2004). Since then, he has had one editorially-reviewed and two peer-reviewed articles published (in Medical Hypotheses, the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, and Body, Movement and Dance in Psychotherapy). Most of the remaining articles, which are more recent, are available below for downloading.

Click here to listen to John's podcasts about Posture Release Imagery

Where is the Alexander Technique's 'right brain'? or Use and the Use of Imagery (2007) proposes that mental imagery can be used as a powerful way of improving use and functioning. The article includes practical exercises to illustrate this, primarily involving awareness of - and directed attention to - the dorsal and ventral surfaces of our body. It may require some patience- and possibly some exposure to the concepts of the Alexander Technique - to reap the benefits of his concepts and exercises. Click here to read the personal account of a student who was greatly helped by this article. Click here to read or download this article - Click here to read the personal account of a student who was greatly helped by this article.

Using imagery and illustration, Proposing a "Secondary" Control - exhibit a - Bipedal Dinosaurs (2008), is a short paper that argues that the "tail" area of the spine and body has considerable control over our use. Though the tail is non-apparent in humans and the coccyx is generally fused, John argues that it is still neurologically and muscularly significant and reveals a valuable evolutionary aspect of our bipedalism. Click here to read or download this article

Eyes are the Window to the… Head/Neck/Back Relationship (2008), discusses the hidden control that eyes have over posture and use. Imagery exercises are provided to demonstrate that the musculature and tension around the eyes have considerable influence over the head, neck, and back relationship, or Primary Control. John suggests the exercises, in turn, free up tension patterns not only in our eyes but also and especially within our head, neck, and back.. Click here to read or download this article

Imagery and "Neck Free, Head Forward... (2008), proposes that the very basic primary control maxim to "let the neck be free to allow the head to go forward and up..." (and other similar forms) can be increased in scope and clarity with visual illustration and visual and kinesthetic imagery. This paper provides new ways to think about primary control as well as to release debilitating tensions that interfere with it. Click here to read or download this article

LIFE ON THE EDGE - of the dorsal/ventral seam (2009) is a paper that explores what John considers a very important part of the body, the border zone between the dorsal and ventral surfaces of the body. This zone, he states, is arguably the location of our major sensors as well as where our movement is generated from. Illustrations of several different animals are used to help explain the nature and importance of the dorsal/ventral seam… and, as always, imagery exercises are included to help experience the healthy change that can emanate from that area. Click here to read or download this article

Self, Other, Earth, & Cosmos – and the Dorsal/Ventral Relationship (2010) is John’s latest and expanded thinking: that the relationship between the dorsal and ventral surfaces is of dominant importance in all aspects of life. As a result, it contains both imagery for changing postural habits but also philosophical and spiritual thought relating to it.. Click here to read or download this article



John Appleton has been a carpenter for years and a teacher of the Alexander Technique in Springfield, Missouri since 1986, developing the theories and imagery in Posture Release Imagery since 1993. He grew up in the American West with an interest in animal life and inventing and building things. Later a sense of insecurity in his body sent him to NYC, Reichian therapy, and participating and leading encounter groups in the late "60's and early '70's. After undertaking Rolfing and studying a bit of Tai Chi, he discovered the Alexander Technique in the early 80's. You can contact him through his Website.

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