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Teaching Alexander Technique to People Living With Parkinson's: Teacher Training Workshop with Candace Cox

  • DoubleTree by Hilton 1000 Northeast Multnomah Street Portland, OR, 97232 United States (map)

This workshop is designed for Alexander technique teachers and trainees

As part of our initiative at the World Parkinson Congress - THE POISE PROJECT: Alexander Technique for Parkinson's - our team member CANDACE COX will lead a training workshop in best practices for specialized skills to adapt Alexander to the needs of People Living with Parkinson's:

"Fighting the Dragon - Parkinson's disease and Alexander technique instruction"

Candace will focus primarily on one-to-one teaching and will introduce concepts she has identified as foundational to working with PLWP based on her teaching experiences in Edmonton Alberta. This will be an active workshop, combining discussion, demonstration, and hands-on activities. 


In this workshop Candace will offer support to the Alexander technique (AT) teacher or trainee interested in working with this population. Knowing where to start, or even simply coming into direct contact with Parkinson's disease (PD), especially with a student who is "off" -- that is, when their medication is not in their system -- can be intimidating for any teacher, no matter how skillful or experienced. Candace will share tips and advice on how to bring AT work to bear on symptoms of PD based on her own trial and error during hundreds of private and group lessons with People Living With Parkinson's (PLWP), their partners, and families.

Many of the symptoms of PD, like those of other chronic illnesses affecting movement, from Scleroderma to Multiple Sclerosis, follow patterns that as AT teachers we see in our ‘everyday’ clients. What PD seems to do is hit fast-forward on ‘normal’ habits of imbalance and excess tension. This is, oddly, good news for PLWP as many of the symptoms they are seeking to manage can be related to their years of poor use prior to diagnosis, right up to the present moment – and we know that poor use can change.

Candace believes that adaptive AT-based work for PLWP can impact the progression of the disease. We may not be able to slay the dragon, but we can help hold it back. Tackling any illness is daunting for any student, however learning skills to manage their own ‘stuff’ becomes empowering. The same can be said of teaching students who are afflicted with this terrible illness: it is both daunting, and exhilarating.

Parkinson’s disease makes us ‘small’. From handwriting to speech to gait to personal confidence, a Person Living With Parkinson's is constantly being diminished, and is therefore continually urged by loved ones and caregivers to be ‘bigger’. The same advice may be given to AT teachers working with PLWP. 



Candace Cox Teacher Training Workshop


828-254-3102 or

PLEASE NOTE: Teachers and trainees who complete this workshop and/or Bill Connington's teacher training workshop on Thursday, September 22 will be invited to attend without cost our public workshop on Saturday, September 24, from 1pm-4:45-pm (directly following Candace's workshop): "Activity-Based Learning: skills to help manage symptoms of Parkinson's disease using Alexander technique - an interactive afternoon for health professionals, People Living with Parkinson's and their partners"



CANDACE COX completed training as an Alexander teacher with David Gorman in 1997, and has worked full-time as a teacher since then, first in England, then across Canada. She has taught and learned from people in all walks of life, particularly those in chronic pain. Candace has been working intensively with People Living with Parkinson's for the past three years and is a strong advocate for AT as a way of managing symptoms of Parkinson's. She is interested in research projects to test whether AT-based programs can help delay progress of the disease, and she presented a case study abstract/poster session on the Long-Term Impact of AT on PD at the 2013 3rd World Parkinson Congress in Montreal.  Candace is currently working with Parkinson Alberta to develop a regular program for PD patients at their Edmonton Buchanan Centre.

Candace originally trained and worked as an actor and continues to have a passion for the performing arts.  She has been on the Faculty of Opera Nuova for sixteen years, worked on the BFA Conservatory Acting program at the University of Alberta for a decade, and taught post-grad Movement for Opera at the University of Toronto from 2011-2015. Other institutions she has spent time with include: Queen’s University, the University of Saskatchewan, the University of Regina, the Regina Globe Theatre, and the Stratford Festival of Canada.

In 2011, Candace and her family changed home base from Edmonton, Alberta to an historic grist mill property in Castleton, Ontario, east of Toronto. They are developing an intimate performance space and studio setting where performers can collaborate, develop, and experiment in a supportive atmosphere and pastoral setting. Candace takes regular teaching trips back to the West and is currently working on a novel about an AT teacher working with People Living with Parkinson's.




THE POISE PROJECT is an independent nonprofit organization with the mission of maintaining natural poise throughout all stages and challenges of life through the principles of Alexander technique (AT). We have brought a team to Portland for the 4th World Parkinson's Congress to advocate for Alexander technique for managing symptoms of Parkinson's disease. We are hosting an exhibit booth, answering questions, offering interactive demonstrations, presenting highlights from ongoing research ranging from reduction of motor symptoms to improvements in sleep, mood and quality of life, and offering public workshops.

Learn more about our "AT for Parkinson's" initiative:

Please support us with your donation! You are making it possible for Alexander-based skills to become a daily resource of support for the Parkinson's community.