What is the Alexander Technique?
Here are a few variations on how to describe it, in the hope of giving you a fuller flavour of whats on offer.
- It’s learning to unlearn or undo physical habit patterns that interfere with our natural balance, poise, body alignment and ease of movement. Chris Raff
- The title of Alexander’s second book ‘Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual’. F M Alexander
- The Alexander Technique is a skill for self-development teaching you to change long-standing habits that cause unnecessary tension in everything you do. STAT website
- Whatever your age or ability, the Technique can help boost your performance in any activity and relieve the pain and stress caused by postural habits, like slouching or rounded shoulders. STAT website
- The Alexander Technique is an intelligent way to solve body problems. Many people are mystified by their own back pain, excess tension or lack of coordination. They often see problems in their joints or muscles as structural, unchangeable. As an Alexander teacher, I hear clients say things like, “I’ve always walked like a duck,” or “My posture is just like my father’s.” But, as they learn the Technique, they are surprised that they really can make lasting changes in the way they walk, their degree of muscular tension or the shape of their posture. They learn how dynamic and changeable the body really is. They find that, by learning the Technique, they can improve their overall movement and achieve optimal health for both body and mind. Joan Arnold
- The Alexander Technique re-organizes patterns of chronic tension that have unconsciously become a fixed part of how we move, breathe, and act in the world. Rather than attempting to directly relax all tensions in the body, or trying to disperse the tensions by vigorous exercise, Alexander recognized that by consciously addressing the primary coordination of postural support, movement and breathing, tension could be transformed into available, coherent energy. John Nichol
- Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space lies our freedom and power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and happiness. Viktor Frankl
- The Alexander Technique is a method of personal education which involves self awareness and releasing muscular tension. Richard Brennan
- Since its beginnings in Australia in the 1890s, the Alexander Technique has become renowned as a powerful and effective antidote to the stresses and strains that modern life places upon our bodies. Jeremy Chance
- A tool for transforming harmful tension and painful posture, into freedom and poise one thought at a time. Lucy Ascham
Its a way of helping you move more fluidly in everyday movements. Here is a video of me (less than one minute), moving in and out of semi-supine or constructive rest, the position of maximum rest for your spine. (You’ll hear Miriam asking “Should it be red?” at the beginning.) I’m humming to demonstrate that my breathing continues to flow whilst I move. Try it!
What the Alexander Technique is not.
A specific form of exercise.
A movement routine.
A meditation practice.
Physio, yoga, pilates, massage, a treatment.
What are the benefits?
These can be many and varied, depending on how you are out of balance or mis-using yourself. Many people have found benefit from stress using this Technique. Your thoughts affect your movement, and emotions.
See the STAT Society’s list of benefits for your health and well-being and improvement in your chosen activity.
Medical research papers and trials about the Alexander Technique. A variety of papers have been published, randomised control trials and a growing raft of evidence in support of this work.