Coming together again
Roxani Eleni Garefalaki performing on stilts in the City of lost fairytales .jpg

As a child I had always been active, moving freely most of my time, enjoying dancing, climbing, swimming etc. Since my early school years and through my ballet, gymnastics classes it was obvious that my body was genuinely flexible in a way that allowed me to perform contortion tricks others would hard work to achieve. I used this feature as a talent throughout my youth but it was not until a lot later when I found out I have what is called Hypermobility Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome.I started performing at school and became a professional performer at age 17 in singing, acting, aerial acrobatics and stilts.  From age 15 I started experiencing problems with my body that doctors did not know how to treat e.g. achilles tendonitis, therefore I was looking for a way to exercise that would not make me feel tired or stressed and to help me find my natural strength and find peace within myself.  In the search for this, I found Tai Chi and Qi Gong, and through the regular practice of these I managed to find a way of healing my tendonitis and alleviating stress. At the age of 29 I became a qualified instructor and started teaching.

Being influenced by this holistic mind/body approach to movement and being a performer myself, I was drawn by Butoh's unique coaching for performers, which keep the dialog with my inner self while performing for an audience, how to explore different experience of performing time and qualities and how to condense the energy, keeping the balance between giving outwards and connecting inwards

However, my professional career later required me to partake in much more demanding types of performance and in a stressful way, (during for example the days of the 2004 Olympic games in Athens, where I was performing theatre on stilts for 8 hours for 15 days) which caused injuries such as broken ribs, bunions etc.  Not wanting to take the time to heal and guided by doctors, I instead took anti inflammatory medication which in addition to stress factors, caused the development of lupus SLE (an autoimmune disease).

The doctors were unable to help me, but I did find some relief (although not a cure) through Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).  However, to be able to put up with my performing demands, I had to visit regularly chiropractors, osteopaths and physiotherapists in order to get physically in balance again.   

 Believing that one should not need a constant external aid to maintain the optimum physical and mental health, I was thrilled when starting Alexander Technique lessons showed me a way to live without this constant readjustment.  The effects of the continuous practice technique on my life inspired me to train as a teacher.  During my training, my lupus symptoms disappeared, to the doctor's surprise, but I believe this was a direct consequence of the practice of the technique.

It is my firm belief that stress (in all levels), which is not kept in safe distance, can cause disharmony in all levels. I owe the Alexander Technique the skill I learned that enables me to observe the way stress is triggered in my system and allows me to consciously process it without losing my integrity. I look forward to sharing this life transformative process with all who can understand it's value.