The Alexander Technique is a set a principles you can apply to whatever you do, so that you can do it better.
We were made to move! The healthy working of our brains and all our systems depends on movement. How we move and how we think about our movement (often called “mindfulness”) makes a huge difference in whether we feel good in our own skin or not. Well-coordinated, efficient movement makes everything work better.
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 call for a private lesson.
What is the Alexander Technique?
The Alexander Technique is an educational awareness technique that helps you 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. You learn to make choices during your day that help you sit and move more easily, breathe more freely, and feel less anxious and stressed. As you gain mastery over your habits you can apply the technique to everything you do.
Crossover topics include: mindfulness practices, developmental movement, functional anatomy, and ergonomics.
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? Decrease performance anxiety and increase ease and resonance. Wish you looked better in that new dress or pair of pants? You will when you’re standing taller and moving more freely!
Many people also 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.
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 any 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.
Who was Alexander?
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 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.
Alexander Technique Center Urbana, run by Joan and Alex Murray.
Alexander Technique Training in Chicago with Daria Okugawa.