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What Students Say about Alexander Technique

Heather Gillette
Pottersville, NJ

Heather Gillette

Holly Sweeney-Hillman and her use of the Alexander Technique have enriched my life and work on several levels. I went to see Holly on the recommendation of a student of mine.

In my line of work, developing and competing international caliber event horses, my body takes a beating. I jokingly compare a cross-country ride on these animals to a long, drawn out car wreck. My body gets rocked and rolled and jolted all over the place. (Fortunately, it is also the greatest fun I know how to have!) I have tried many things to keep my body going: chiropractic, acupuncture, sports massage … but my muscles and soft tissues were constantly complaining.

Holly worked patiently with all my aches and pains and I am very happy to say I have experienced a lot of improvement. My balance and posture are better and I have been able to move away from extreme chronic pains. I don’t feel like an 80-year-old woman anymore! Beyond these benefits, I now have a much greater understanding of how my body works. This has helped my riding immensely. I do not tire as easily and do a lot less wear and tear to myself in my everyday work with the horses.

Another wonderful aspect of the work I have done with Holly is that I can relate what I have learned with her to my students in order to help them improve their riding. I know their bodies will respond to certain movements that will help them change their balance and posture in the saddle. So, on every level of my life and work, Holly has been a wonderful and most appreciated, not to mention necessary, part of my health and success. I have recommenced her countless times to my clients and friends, all of whom she has helped greatly.

Bert Pepper
Sleepy Hollow, NY

Bert Pepper

I am now seventy-five years old, and back to playing the violin again after a forty-three year hiatus. I played the instrument without a hint of back pain until thirty-five. Then my life changed, and it was parked the closet until my life changed again, and I was ready to get back to Bach. By then I was seventy-three. That was two years ago.

Lessons with a wonderful violin teacher began, but they were interrupted within a few months by Oh! My aching back! Since I found the playing fun, and not nearly as difficult as anticipated, my frustration at having to stop playing because of pain was painful!

A musician friend referred me to Holly. She explained that my body had changed in the intervening thirty-eight years, and I needed to adapt the use of myself. In a few months, by using what she taught me, I started playing again, with less and less discomfort.

I see Holly for periodic tune-ups, but now I have my own string quartet, and frequently play sonatas with pianist friends. Without the help of Holly and the Alexander technique I doubt that I’d be playing at all now. I would have given up making the music I love, while feeling sorry for myself for being too old to play.

Arlene Gimovsky
Watchung, NJ

Arlene Gimovsky

A friend of mine raved for years about her Tai Chi instructor and the extensive benefits she derived from her classes (with Holly Sweeney, of course). I had always preferred more traditional exercise techniques and stayed with my treadmill/weights regimen. However, my health changed and I hesitantly asked my friend for additional information about Holly and her methodologies. I had just completed chemotherapy and radiation treatment for colorectal cancer that left me physically incapable of performing my usual workout routine (not to mention listless, lethargic and depressed). My friend connected me with Holly and I have never made a better decision.

I work with Holly once a week using the Alexander technique to manipulate my core structure and improve my strength. Immediately following my one hour session with Holly, I go horseback riding to reinforce my conditioning. I have never felt stronger or as well balanced.

Holly is just like the techniques that she practices- peaceful, quiet, gentle- with an inner strength that is surprising in its tenacity and in its ability to alter years of destructive behaviors. Holly’s presence in my life has not just improved me physically (as dramatic as that is) but I feel honored to have her emotional guidance as well.

what people say

Contact Holly Sweeney-Hillman at (973) 650-4839 or email hollysweeneyhillman@gmail.com