Alexander Technique is the thinking person’s answer to improvement in functioning, including pain relief, well-being, and optimal performance.
We were made to move! The healthy working of our brains and all our systems depends on movement. How we think about our movement (often called “mindfulness”) makes a huge difference in whether we feel good in our own skin or not.
MOVE BETTER – BREATHE BETTER – FEEL BETTER
Well-coordinated, efficient movement makes everything work better. As our movement coordinates, our breath frees and our senses enliven. All of these things contribute to our overall sense of well-being and happiness.
I love teaching. I live for that “A-Ha” moment when understanding shows up on a student’s face and they can take it out into the world to improve their lives. Let me design a workshop for you today, or you can join a group class, or call for a private lesson.
What is the Alexander Technique?
The Alexander Technique is a set of principles you can apply to whatever you do, so that you can do it better. The principles of AT give you tools to become conscious of habitual pressure and tension that get in the way of your optimal functioning. Through gentle movement guided by your teacher you become aware of these habits enough to gain conscious control over them.
DO LESS – ACHIEVE MORE
F.M. Alexander used to say, “When you stop doing the wrong thing, the right thing does itself.” More and more I understand what that means. We live in a “doing” culture. Everything we learn is a list of things to do and do more of. What if you could do less?
With Alexander Technique, you begin to release unnecessary effort. You shed the desire to control every detail. You learn to make choices during your day that uncover your internal wisdom so you can sit and move more easily, breathe more freely, and feel less anxious and stressed. As you gain mastery over your habits in class you can begin to apply appropriate effort everything you do.
Crossover topics include: mindfulness practices, developmental movement, functional anatomy, posture, and ergonomics.
DO WHAT YOU DO – BETTER
Are you a musician? Find new ease and musicality. Are you a golfer? Gain new sensitivity to detail in your swing. Are you a dedicated yogi? Take your practice to a deeper level. Do you meditate? Improve the ease in your sitting. Do you work with your voice, either singing or public speaking? Increase your authenticity and resonance. Do you experience performance anxiety? Calm your nerves to release your passion! Wish you looked better in that new dress or pair of pants? You will when you’re standing taller and moving more freely!
REDUCE PAIN – PREVENT INJURY – AGE GRACEFULLY
Many people use the Alexander Technique to reduce pain caused by neck and back tension, over-use injuries, sciatica and scoliosis, or simply sitting at their computers for too many hours in a day. Also, people who practice AT find that it is a preventative that helps us avoid injury and maintain movement and balance as we age.
Many people remark on how much taller and lighter they feel when they finish an Alexander Technique lesson. In the beginning it sometimes feels magical, but it is actually quite practical. The awareness and choice we are learning are skills that we can put into practice every day. As we work on ourselves, what feels like change in posture and muscular pressure is also change in neuro-muscular pathways and brain chemistry. The brain re-organizes itself. Our primary reflexes are reinforced and developmental gaps are bridged. With practice, your new habits take the place of the old ones and you’ll enjoy longer and longer periods of time when you feel at ease and in touch with your own intuitive abilities.
F.M. Alexander (1869-1955) was an Australian actor who began to experience chronic problems with his voice. When doctors told him there was nothing physically wrong with him, he decided that he must be causing the problem by the way he was speaking. Through weeks and months of observation and experimentation (described in his book The Use of the Self) he not only solved his voice problems, but he also discovered universal truths about the ways we use ourselves in all activity.
Alexander discovered that optimal human movement occurs when there is a healthy relationship between the head, neck and back, and that this relationship guides our potential for upright balance and poise. He saw that this poise was something that normal children possess in their early years, but then it is compromised or lost due to the pressures of life and misuse of themselves. Through a long observation of human function, he established a set of principles identifying how our poise operates within us, and how it can be restored. Alexander’s insights were years ahead of scientific understanding of his time, and are finally beginning to be supported by the scientific research of today.
His transformation was so dramatic that doctors he initially consulted began to send their patients to him for a variety of ills including voice problems, breathing difficulties and pain problems they didn’t know how to solve. Finally, some of these doctors convinced him that he should move to London to spread his work. In London, and later in New York, his students included: George Bernard Shaw, playwright , Aldus Huxley, author, Sir Charles Sherrington, Nobel Prize winner in medicine , Sir George Trevelyan, the “grandfather” of the movement for spiritual regeneration in Britain, and Professor John Dewey, American educational philosopher. He wrote many articles and books, and after teaching for over 35 years, he began to train teachers in his methods. Today there are thousands of teachers around the world.
AmSat is the American Society for the Alexander Technique. Check out the FAQ page for lots of helpful information and to find teachers all across the country.
Beret Arcaya is a teacher in New York City. Her description of Alexander and his work is quite helpful, and for more reading, check out her blog.
The Complete Guide to the Alexander Technique, operated by Robert Rickover.
Neurodynamics with Dr. Ted Dimon.
Teacher Training in Chicago with Daria Okugawa.
Personal Anti-Racist and DEI Statement
I will strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being in my teaching and in my personal life. I take on the work of educating myself about inequity in the world and committing to do anti-racist work. I am currently part of the leadership team bringing DEI education and initiatives to the American Society of the Alexander Technique, where I serve as Membership Chair. I reject the racism, sexism, and patriarchy found in books about the Alexander Technique, including those written by F.M. Alexander.
Amanda Blair MacDonald (she/her)
Anti-Racist Statement from the American Society for the Alexander Technique
On behalf of the community of Alexander Technique teachers and teacher trainees, The AmSAT Board wishes to express our deep sadness and distress in the wake of the senseless death of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and countless other black people in the US and around the globe. AmSAT believes that Black Lives Matter. We condemn anti-black violence and stand in solidarity with those protesting racism. A more comprehensive statement written in conjunction with AmSAT’s Diversity Committee is in progress. In addition, AmSAT will begin to develop clear opportunities and resources for our members to learn and engage with anti-racism work and will share these initiatives as they are developed. AmSAT strives to be inclusive, listen, and advocate for accessibility and racial equity within our organization, and will continue to do so.
– AmSAT’s Board of Directors.”
Anti-Racist Statement from the Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique in England (The original Alexander professional organization)
I deplore racism and all expressions thereof, in any form, contemporary or historical. In particular, I wish to place on record my fundamental disagreement with offensive and discriminatory passages which appear in the first American edition and in other subsequent editions of Man’s Supreme Inheritance by F M Alexander (New York: E P Dutton & Co 1918). I accept that such passages and references to “savages” and “primitive peoples”, while reflecting views that were commonly held at the time, are overtly racist and offensive to the modern reader. These views neither expound nor define the body of practice and theory that has come to be known as the Alexander Technique; they play no part in the manner in which I teacher or practice the Technique. The core of F M Alexander’s evolutionary theory is human “transcendence to consciousness” and this continues to be central in the practice of the Technique. Needless to say, the principles of equality and freedom from discrimination are fundamental to my advancement of the Technique.