What are the 5 steps to learning the Alexander Technique?

Harmonizing Mind and Body: Embracing the 5 Foundation Steps of the Alexander Technique

In the field of self-discovery and mindful movement, the Alexander Technique stands as a beacon of truth and transformation. Central to this technique are its five foundational principles and simple steps: Observe, Stop, Think, Choose, and Move. Together, these steps form the ground work guiding us towards optimal posture, efficient movement, and a profound connection between mind and body. In this blog post, we will explore each principle, unveiling its significance and the transformative potential it holds in our lives.

1. Observe: Nurturing Mindful Presence

The first step is to Observe, serves as the gateway to the Alexander Technique’s journey of self-discovery. It invites us to cultivate mindful presence, cultivating awareness, directing our attention to what is already here and now – the ground of our reality – our thoughts, contact with the floor and furniture.

Through practicing awareness, we learn to observe our habitual patterns of posture and movement. This keen observation enables us to recognize areas of tension and misalignment, laying the foundation for conscious change and transformation.

2. Stop: The Art of Pausing and Letting Go

Choosing to Stop, inhibition, the second step, is a profound art of pausing before reacting. This is not Inhibition according to Freud, but that natural Pause which stops us repeating old unconscious and outdated habits. The ability to Stop helps change our brain patterns, to stop us being a slave to our habits. It involves the conscious choice to get off the hamster wheel, stop and not carry out the habits of a lifetime. By inhibiting our automatic reactions, we create space for new possibilities and choices.

Inhibition allows us to unlearn harmful habits that contribute to pain and discomfort. As we let go of these patterns, we free ourselves from unnecessary muscular and mental tension, opening the door to graceful and efficient movement.

3. Think: Direction Our Intentions

Direction, the third step, empowers us to choose our thoughts and direct our energy. It involves setting clear intentions for our coordination and precise movements, aligning our body and mind towards a desired and unified outcome. Ask a qualified and experienced teacher to show you how.

By directing our thoughts with clarity and purpose, we enhance the coordination and efficiency of our actions. This step taps into the mind-body connection, demonstrating how our thoughts influence our physical responses. Over time you can learn subtle and delicate thoughts to extend your energy and put your attention where you want it to be, and keep it there.

It’s not about learning to do ‘right’ or ‘correct’ movements, but how to keep your mind on your general coordination, head/neck/spine relationship and delicately steer precise movements too. Like an orchestral conductor staying on the podium, guiding the whole orchestra and leading them towards a certain vision. Rather than getting off the podium to micro-manage anything for individual musicians. Our mind stays in our brain, to guide and lead, rather than ‘do’ the movements with tension or habit.

4. Choose: Embracing Personal Agency

The fourth step, Freedom to Choose, emphasises our capacity to make conscious choices in each moment. It reminds us that we have the freedom to choose how we respond to stimuli and navigate our daily activities.

Through the Alexander Technique, we cultivate a heightened sense of personal agency which is empowering. This freedom liberates us from being governed solely by past habits and allows us to engage with life in a more intentional and mindful manner.

5. Move: Moving with Grace and Ease

The fifth step, Action, is the culmination of the preceding principles, bringing them into seamless integration. It involves embodying the transformed state of being, moving with grace, ease, and alignment.

With the foundations to Observe, Inhibition, Direction, and Freedom to Choose, we engage in Action with a newfound sense of unity between mind and body. Our movements become more balanced, efficient, and infused with a profound sense of presence.

Embracing the Symphony of Principles: A Skillful Dance

The five foundational steps of the Alexander Technique intertwine in a skillful song, much like a musician playing a chord in one hand and a scale in the other. While initially, it may seem challenging to incorporate all these principles simultaneously, with time and practice, they harmonize effortlessly.

Like a seasoned musician playing an intricate composition, we embody the essence of the Alexander Technique, aligning our thoughts, movements, and intentions with grace and fluidity.

The Teacher-Student Relationship: A Guiding Melody

In the Alexander Technique, the teacher-student relationship serves as the guiding melody that nurtures growth and understanding. A skilled Alexander Technique teacher provides gentle guidance and hands-on instruction, facilitating the integration of these principles and steps.

Through the teacher’s expertise and compassionate support, students embark on a transformative journey of self-awareness and mindful movement. The teacher-student relationship cultivates trust and openness, fostering an environment for growth and exploration.

The Gift of Time and Patience

The journey of embracing these five foundation steps requires time, patience, and dedication. Just as a musician refines their craft through continuous practice, we too cultivate our mastery of the Alexander Technique through small changes and consistent practice.

With each mindful step, we inch closer to the unison of mind and body. As we embrace the principles, we develop a profound sense of self-awareness, creating space for balance, freedom, strength and resilience in our lives.

Conclusion: The Melody of Transformation

In conclusion, the five foundational steps of the Alexander Technique form a beautiful symphony of self-discovery and mindful movement. Through Awareness/Observation, Stop/Inhibition, Direction, Freedom to Choose, and Action, we embark on a journey that harmonises mind and body.

The Alexander Technique offers us the gift of transformation, empowering us to release tension, embrace freedom of choice, and move with grace and ease. As we embody the essence of these principles, we nurture a lifelong practice of self-awareness and mindful living.

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” Viktor E Frankl

So, let us embrace this exquisite melody, dancing to the rhythm of the Alexander Technique’s principles, and embark on a journey of profound self-discovery and transformation. With each step, we harmonize our mind and body, creating a symphony of well-being that resonates through every facet of our lives.

Lucy Ascham has been guiding people and coaching them on these 5 foundational steps since 2003 and loves to show people the hidden tensions they are carrying along with the skills for self-care and empowerment. She works online and in person teaching the Alexander Technique in Sheffield.

Written by Lucy Ascham, Body & Soul Energy Expert

Book your free 15-minute consultation today

What My Clients Say

“No pain in the night, no pain when I got up, no pain when I went for a run and no pain now! It’s much more than I expected, thank you! "


"It is as though I have been gifted an entirely new lens through which to view human behaviour, and it is a lens of compassion and empathy like no other. Due to this, I have been able to come to terms with the way my family operates, which has proven to be a great relief. I would definitely recommend working with Lucy. She held such a safe space for me and my vulnerability with great compassion and authenticity."


"Using these techniques has helped me reduce the day-to-day tension I’ve developed over a lifetime of anxious habits and hypersensitivity. It’s been amazing to re-learn how my body works, and how to swap out the survival mechanisms that got me so far, for habits more in keeping with how my body is happier to work."

Alex Booer

“I’ve been doing the Alexander Technique with Lucy over the past few months and my posture has improved enormously. I have a greater awareness of how my body functions and can recognise the signs of when I’m falling into bad habits."

Paul Tolton, Actor

"I feel present. Nice to feel here, not racing ahead. I have a more measured, calm approach. I’m less reactive and am learning to look after myself and choose my responses.”


"I had a traumatic accident a few years ago. After you ‘wriggled’ my head it felt weird – and really good. I could walk evenly for the first time in years!! I’m making friends with my body.”

Zoe, Singer

"I have been happily surprised and have learned a lot about how my muscles and spine behave when I let them. I rapidly realised that AT is not in the least pseudoscience, rather it teaches one to be aware of how the body is holding itself."

Julian Davis, Retired Professor of Medicine & Pianist

"I've just had two enjoyable and useful sessions with Lucy on Zoom. I had been doubtful about how it would work but I was pleased with how it went. Of course, nothing is as good as face-to-face but we are where we are and this was great and has helped me to progress as I had hoped. Thank you. Looking forward to the next ones!"


"Lucy's sessions are amazing. Her unique blend of skills helped me have good posture without effort. Before this, I had seen many physiotherapists and osteopaths, but the pain kept coming back within a few weeks. Even after my first session with Lucy, the difference was so clear that my friends commented on it. After several months, the effects are being maintained with her support."




Click below to start a WhatsApp chat with Lucy.

× How can I help you?